Seeking out advice for rescue bird, we are both frustrated!!
A little backstory:
I rescue reptiles and have for several years. My friends call me the bearded dragon lady I've had over 20 at one time, currently have 8. Still a house full.
Almost a year ago exactly, a lady came to me desperate to get all of her birds out of her home. Her mom had suddenly become ill and was going to have to move in, and she was unfortunately allergic to birds. So I agreed to take the conure, 4 cockatiels, and 3 parakeets. I have gotten them all rehomed other than one green parakeet.
I think we are both on the verge of pulling our hair out (or in his case, his feathers)
I am still trying to rehome him, however I am very picky who my rescues go to and quite frankly, no one wants parakeets in my area as the online ads are full of people trying to rehome them as is. Its really pretty sad.
So for the moment we are somewhat stuck with each other. I have been a shadow on this forum a while, trying to learn the art of bird care.
I have several problems, but here is my biggest problem. He has started to rummage thru the dragons salad bowls and trying to stand on them. Standing on them doesn't work with the young agile ones, however I have one old dragon who moves slow and really is a sitting duck to be stood on. This is not ok, because the bird is really scaring this guy, as well as pooping on him and hurting him. For this reason I clipped the parakeet..... oh boy was he upset with me... but I thought it would stop this bad habit. It didn't. Now every time I catch him harassing the old dragon, I scold him and scoot him all the way back to his area. So far it hasn't seemed to work. Just today I added a time out in his cage to the "scold and scoot". He sulks in there.
I am trying to do the best I can for this bird. I really don't know if he likes me or not, I think he just tolerates me because he has to. I don't dislike him, I've tried hard to be friends, and include him in activites, give him attention every day, interact, variety of food and toys.... but I do get very frustrated with him and I'm sure he can sense that.
I have several conversations with him a day. I try to keep him from being lonely. I have taken him into the bathroom with me while I shower. I show him the "strange bird" in the mirror. I play peek-a-boo and sing to him. I imitate songs and the radio for him and just make goofy sounds sometimes. I sometimes put different types of music on the Ipad for him to listen to. Michael Jackson, piano, just a broad range of sounds.
I have made many toys and bought a few, and I switch them regularly. He has a special occasion mirror that he gets as a special treat toy. I have tried several ways to incorporate food and toys so he will learn to forage and have stimulus.
I try to promote hygiene and he doesn't care about that either. I've misted him which he hates. I've put a bowl in his cage, which he ignores. I've set him in the sink with warm water trickling and that makes him mad.
FOOD. This is the other problem, which I admit I may have caused. When I first got him it was kind of a surprise, so I rushed to the store for food and I got a seed/pellet mix. I fed him mostly that with an occasional treat for several months. Noticed he never ate the pellets, and when I looked online I was a bit shocked to see that the seeds are supposed to be rationed. So I started only giving him a teaspoon of seeds per day but he has refused to eat anything else. I've given him dried fruit, coconut flakes, different kinds of cereal, saltine crackers, cooked chicken, red pepper, asparagus, lettuce, carrots, turnip greens, collard, mustard greens, wheat bran, and bunches more. The only things he will nibble on if he is hungry enough are kale, oatmeal, and as of today mealworms. I feel really bad because he gets very noisy for breakfast but when I give him a salad and dried fruit he picks it all out and then sits there looking depressed. If I'm persistent and refill his bowl with salad and refuse to give seeds until he has at least tasted something, he will scratch around on the bottom of his cage sifting thru empty shells and poop. I clean it out daily but still it is upsetting.
I am so sorry this is so long, but I just don't know what to do. He seems unhappy, only tolerating me for food. He doesn't seem to have any interest in my attempts at interacting unless it has to do with seeds. I found a hollow, clear plastic ball that once a day I put his tsp of seeds in and set it on the ground and sit with him while he yanks on the handle to open it and pig out.
If anyone has any feedback or advice, I'm willing to listen and try. He isn't a bad bird, but I think neither of us know what to do with each other.
It's great that you have dedicated so much time to rescuing lizards and the birds as well.
I can't work out how this set up is that your bird has access to your lizards and is able to eat their food, sit on the lizards. This seems like it could be potentially harmful to your bird and if it's scaring your lizards, it's clearly not good for him either.
Is there no way the bird can be in a different area?
Can the bird not come out when the lizards aren't out?
Your budgie that is left probably misses the company of other birds as he was with the others for so long.
You don't need to trick your bird into bathing or misting him. He can keep himself clean by preening.
I'm sure there are other things that people will offer you advice on.
Also, where about in the world are you? perhaps there's someone near-ish you who might be willing to take a new bird in.
Bless you for not only taking the birds in, but sticking with, caring for, and attempting to make this little guy's life as good as you can, despite not really being a bird person . That's great, all that you've been doing to try to enrich his life! Hm, sounds like maybe you are a bird person after all??
I can't visualize the way you have your lizard set up, but is there a way they can be covered with a screen top or something when the bird is out? Is there another area of the house the bird can be in away from the dragons? Does this little guy play with the toys you've given him? If so, that's at least good that he can be entertained until you can rehome him.
I know that budgies are overflowing from the rescues everywhere, but if you keep consistently at it, you'll find the perfect home for him. Good on you that despite it all, you are still particular about the home he may go to. Have you only tried the rescues? Have you tried listing on the various pet finding websites? Good luck with this, keep us posted!
Ok, so before anything else, please, please don't let your bird interact with your reptiles. I am pretty sure the reptiles can carry some harmful stuff that is not healthy for your bird. Also, you need to check the list of safe fruits and vegetables for budgies. Asparagus is not a safe vegetable to feed to your bird.
Now, your budgie needs to have access to the seed that he will eat. You cannot force veggies on him, or he can starve himself to death (which I know you're not doing, but just to let you know, birds can be funny that way).
I think you are doing a lot of good things for your budgie, and I am sorry you are not getting the results you would like. "Punishing" your bird with time outs and such will result in nothing as birds have no clue about those kinds of things. So, I would just let him be a bird.
I commend your efforts to rescue and rehome reptiles and it was very kind of you to take in the 8 birds as fosters until you found safe and loving homes for them. There is definitely a special place in heaven for people like you.
If you are willing to share the area where you are located (e.g. the state if in the US) with the forum members, there may be someone that would be interested in adopting the one remaining little budgie.
I'm confused as to how the budgie has access to the lizards though?
Do you have a different area where you can give the budgie supervised out of cage time?
Your budgie needs a good quality seed mix and should be receiving 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons per day. Helping a budge learn to eat different foods takes a great deal of time and patience.
When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day. This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well. This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source.
Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized Zupreem fruity pellets. Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them. Once they've become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.
Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together. My birds have three separate dishes each with a different brand/flavor of pellets available to them 24/7. Their seed is rationed to approximately 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day. I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean newspapers on the bottom grate of the cages. I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds. I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled newspaper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.
All of my birds have the option to eat the available pellets whenever they like throughout the day and they all enjoy them!
Zupreen Fruity Pellets (most budgies seem to accept these quickly)
Use the smallest size - the ones labeled "canary".
Zupreem Avian Entrees Harvest Blend
Good seed brands are:
It can take several weeks for budgies to decide to try a new food.
Fruit is high in sugar content so vegetables are actually healthier for your budgies with fruits given only occasionally.
The first vegetable my guys tried (and loved) was sweet corn kernels sprinkled with a teeny bit of garlic powder (NOT salt).
Budgies seem to love "spicy" tastes.
My guys adore fresh basil, cilantro and chickweed.
They also like zucchini and red pepper.
Hey, thanks for all the responses so far. I live in western South Dakota, in the Black Hills area. Kind of out in the boonies. I have tried the online petrescue site, but online is tough because with my location, most good homes would require a lengthy road trip or shipping, which I am not comfortable with. But I would be willing to drive up to 100 miles to meet someone if that would help.
First off, for clarity, I DO NOT allow interaction between bird and lizard, I am trying to avoid that. But my house was set up for reptiles long before it was set up for birds, so Mr. Parakeet is at a disadvantage.
I've also, til this point, always let him have his cage open at all times.
All the reptiles are set up in tanks except for the old guy. The toads, salamanders, turtles, etc stay in the tanks obviously, but the bearded dragons need to be let out and interacted with. I try and give each of them a bit of time out every day by giving a soak in the tub, or letting them roam the house for a bit. This 'free roam' time is when the bird started to interact with them by following them and standing on them. When I noticed this is when I clipped his wings. I also started being more careful when I let them out. But I still noticed the bird trying to do it, even though most of the dragons were quick enough to keep him away. So now I am keeping the bird locked in the cage at night and at times throughout the day.
Now we come to the old dragon. He is the only one who does not have a tank. He was left outside on a cold night, and when he was found the person thought he was dead and threw him in a garbage can. Another lady found him and brought him inside and contacted me. His tail had to be removed, so his balance and coordination are affected. Also the extreme cold just made him very stiff and slow. Even having him in the biggest tank I had, he would try to climb the glass and end up on his back, or he would get himself tangled up in a corner, fall off his basking spot, etc. So what I did was make his basically a lamp, and he has a small area on the living room floor where he resides. He sleeps under the coffee table, and then he comes out to sit under his lamp most of the day. The odd thing is, I have had this guy since about 2 months after getting the birds, and it has only become a problem in the last month.
The conure I rehomed within a week, the cockatiels took maybe 2 months. The sibling parakeets I rehomed over the summer, so this guy has been with us alone for 6 months or so. I just don't really understand why this is only now becoming an issue. I almost feel like he is irritated at me and being naughty for it.
I will start providing pellets all the time, and try the different brands of food. I have gone over the no no veggie list, but I apparently missed asparagus. I'll give him more seeds per day though. But he is starting to try different things. I don't think he is fat but I think he is definitely on the chubby side, my fault though.
How sweet for the old guy that you allow him to have a spot to bask in the warmth of the lamp.
I do think the budgie may be jealous of the attention the other animals are getting. After all, his same species friends have all left and other than the reptiles, you are his only flock-mate now. It sounds as if he wants your attention all to himself and knows if he does something "naughty" you will have to pay attention to him. They are like 2 year old toddlers and often think any attention is better than no attention.
Thanks for sharing your pics! Your beardies are so beautiful, and it's obvious they're very well taken care of.
Is that green pastel budgie the one you're talking about? *gasp!* I want him!! Such a gorgeous color mutation of mint green pastels. But I'm all the way in CA and can't have any more animals at this time anyway .
Sometimes birds just start a new behavior out of the blue. As if they just figure it out one day and try it! It got mom's attention... hey, let's keep doing it lol.