Budgiekeet - Budgies and Parakeets

 

Taming your Budgie

Taming your parakeet can be easy when you follow these simple guidelines and add lots and lots of patience!

The first thing to remember is that birds are skittish by nature for a good reason. The slightest movement will have them flying away in the wild which is imperative for their survival. So essentially, they have a built-in distrust of anything new and unusual. When you first bring home your new parakeet, he/she will be frightened. Everything will be new and scary. Even hand fed budgies may be nervous and afraid. Fortunately, with time your new bird will begin to develop trust!

1. Build Trust
Each morning when you feed and change your parakeet's food and water, gently approach the cage and talk in soothing tones. Move slowly as your hand enters the cage. Even if your bird flies frantically around the cage, don't be discouraged. If your bird is from a pet store, he probably associates hands with grabbing and chasing. This is a bird's worst fear so reassure him with soft spoken words and gentle movements.

Parakeets love attention, so speak to your bird often throughout the day so that they become comfortable with your voice. Soon they will look forward to your attention. Then each morning, do exactly the same routine of slowly putting your hand into the cage to change their food and water while talking in a soothing voice. Soon they will begin to trust that you aren't going to do anything unexpected or frightening.

Every parakeet is different. Like humans, they have different personalities so some will learn to trust more quickly than others. It helps to remember that you are dealing with a strong natural survival instinct to be cautious. Consistency and lots and lots of patience are the keys to helping your budgie learn that he can trust you.

2. Interacting
Once your budgie becomes comfortable with your hand in the cage while you change the food and water, you can begin the next step. Parakeets love millet sprays. If you haven't introduced them yet to a millet spray treat, do so now by carefully hanging one in their cage near a perch. Leave it in the cage until they are brave enough to eat it. Once they do, remove it the next morning when you change their food and water.

Each time you change their food and water, take the millet spray and bring it into the cage slowly. Hold it in a non-threatening way. They will probably be scared at first. Keep a comfortable distance. Speak in soft, soothing tones. It's unlikely that they will begin eating it the first few times. Do this everyday, patiently holding the millet spray for a while inside the cage. Eventually your bird will become comfortable and you can begin to slowly bring it closer for them to eat. If necessary, leave it inside of the cage for a day so they can remember how good it tastes!

Once your bird begins to eat the millet, they will look forward each day to their treat. Slowly bring your hand closer each time you feed them but be aware of their fear and stop if they start to be frightened. Make it a gentle, gradual process. Again, it simply requires lots of patience but will be worth it in the end. You don't want to do anything to violate the trust you've developed so far.

3. Introducing your Finger as a perch
Now that your parakeet will eat a millet spray from your hand, it's time to start introducing your finger as a perch. Some people begin by holding a small perch and gradually include a finger on top as a stepping stone. Either way, start holding your hand closer with your index finger (or perch) out underneath the millet spray. Each day gradually move your hand closer, stopping if they become uncomfortable. Your parakeet will begin to get comfortable with your hand close by as it eats the millet.

Now you can encourage your budgie to step up onto your finger. To do this, gently lift up on their lower chest near their feet. By reflex, they will step up onto your finger. Say "Up" or some other word that you will use whenever you want them to get onto your finger. Don't be discouraged if they immediately jump or fly off. Let your bird know how proud you are that they were so brave. Repeat again each day until they are comfortable resting on your finger to eat their treat.

Once your budgie is tame, you can replace the millet spray with fresh vegetables or fruit (see Parakeet Food for safe choices). Millet sprays are high in fat and should only be offered occasionally as a treat.

4. Use your intuition
These general guidelines can be helpful, but because you and your bird have unique personalities, you may find other ways to tame and build trust that work for you. Follow your intuition. With patience and soothing encouragement, your budgie will eventually consider you part of their flock and he/she will be part of your family. Good luck!

Additional Resources

Hand Training a Parakeet - How To Tame a Budgie
An excellent step by step guide to hand training your budgie, both inside and outside the cage.

 

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