I was hoping maybe somebody might be able to help me out.
I have one budgie that was by himself and got all the attention from us for the first 9 months of his life. He is very spoiled.
4 months ago we got him a friend. I feel 100 percent certain that it was the right thing to do. They seem to really like each other and will call for each other when one is out of sight.
The budgie that was by himself for so long has boundary issues. His name is Spirit and the new budgie is Jax. Spirit drives Jax insane following him around and talking to him incessantly. Their cage is huge and Jax can get away from Spirit. He has tons of places to perch. He has a coconut hut and this swing cabana thing. (funny story - In order to get to Jax, Spirit chewed a 'window' into the roof of the cabana so he could pop his head inside and talk to Jax!!! He's a LUNITIC! but I love him too much...)
Well, now Mr. Jax is finally starting to take a stand! And I fully support him lunging at Spirit when he needs some peace. Jax is very gentle with his beak and doesn't bite hard at all. It's like he can't or something. (He can manage to eat very well and he's been like that since I got him. So whatever it is might be genetic or something.) Anyway he's very soft with his beak and he's not attacking Spirit. He's just telling him to back off. He's even decided that if he's on a perch and wants some alone time (not all the time, just sometimes) he's allowed to have a WHOLE perch to himself! He shoos Spirit away from it and Spirit squawks at him. Then tries again and squawks some more. Really I think he just wants an excuse to be mad. It's one of the things I love about him. He feels anger and it's not fear based. It's righteous anger. Ya know, the kind people ENJOY feeling. He ENJOYS it and provokes situations in order to feel it. I know I'm nuts. I swear to god this bird will be bad on purpose. Just to provoke me and get attention. I yell at him (which would be AWFUL if it scared him) and he yells back at me very loudly and then mimics laughter.
So cutting to the point here, Jax is starting to seek attention from us. When we give him attention Spirit will pull his tail feathers. I think it's when he's feeling ignored, because if Jax won't let him on a perch and Spirit can get to his tail, he will pull it. He also will pull on Jax's tail if Jax is playing with a toy he wants.
Please please, Any advice? I think Jax is fine. I don't think having a 'fine' life is good enough. I don't think it's aggression and I don't think a real fight will happen. If I did, even a little bit, I would separate them. Spirit is just being a brat. Like a little boy pulling pig tails. And I don't know how help him correct his behavior. There has to be some way.
Ho do you guys correct bad behavior? I'm a dog trainer and I know that if somebody's dog is being bad 99.99999 percent of the time it's because their owners aren't doing the right things. What can I do better?
As a dog trainer, you already know that it is important to use positive reinforcement for training purposes rather than negative.
My guess is that you giving Spirit attention when he pulls Jax's tail is giving him what he wants and is actually encouraging that behavior.
I would say that when Spirit pulls Jax's tail, you should ignore Spirit.
I'd also recommend you consider doing clicker training with the budgies.
You can also work with each of them individually so they both have their one-on-one time for attention from you.
Oh my goodness, you sound like you have the most cutest budgies!!!! Its crazy that one mimics laughter. . It's adorable and hilarious. You sound like a great budgie owner and have your hands full I know that my bird Ollie once in a while pulls on Daisy's tail feather if she's in his way... nothing aggressive just being bratty. She holds her own though. Good luck, I'm interested in starting clicker training too, maybe if you do we can keep eachother updated!
Fly high my sweet boy Budd 11/9/13-19/4/16
Thank you FaeryBee, you are always such a help to everyone here.
I took in your advice and waited for clarity. I have this profound love for training animals. Not because it gives me control over them, but because it opens this doorway to communication. My plan was to show them that the way to get what they wanted was to have patience. It worked better than I ever thought it would. Why I keep underestimating these amazing creatures I don't know. I thought I'd share my plan in hopes of helping anyone going through a similar issue.
The rewards I used in this process were "sweet talking" and millet. "Sweet Talking" is when I say personalized phrases to each bird in a soothing and sweet way. They adore it and consider it a valuable treat. The millet is more valuable to the birds and induces excitement in them. When they get too excitable it is hard to train them because they lose focus. Typically in training (with any animal) I use a lower grade reward until they catch on. Once they get the gist of what I'm asking I bring in the big guns. In this case that was the millet.
I started off with cage passes. If I walked past the cage and noticed they were on separate perches I took advantage of them 'being in position' and would start sweet talking Bird # 1. As I did that Bird # 2 would decide to come over so he could get some attention. I would have him step up and move him back to his perch. Over and over until he settled down. Every time I put him back on his perch I would resume talking to Bird # 1. Once I had a few seconds of Bird # 2 staying put I would stop talking to Bird # 1 and begin to talk to Bird # 2 as a reward for staying put. Of course then the process would begin all over again with Bird # 1 vying for attention. I repeated the process with him. Over the course of a few weeks I did this, again and again. Each time asking them to wait a little longer.
Then one day I stopped by to start sweet talking Spirit. I talked to him for minutes before it hit me. Jax was on a separate perch watching us, his face all fluffy and sweet. Just waiting for his turn - all warmed up for it. Gone was the anxious ball of feathers dying for his reward. In his place was a relaxed and happy budgie who knew he was next.
Now it was time for the big guns!
My cage passes now included millet. Asking them to sit still and wait their turn for millet was not a fast process. At one point I had my head in the cage giving Spirit a millet treat. Jax was near the top of the cage on the back wall. I was blocking his path to fly to a closer perch so he tried to land on my face. He slid off my face and squawked at me for the longest time. He went on and on! Like it was my fault! But eventually they got it.
An amazing side effect of this training is that they share so much better inside their cage. They don't try to take toys or perches from one another. They wait their turn and I think that's just so cool.
I know this is kind of long but I really do hope it helps somebody. These bird are so trainable it amazes me. And if you treat them right they pay you back with so much trust and love.