I got a bird name Pidge about 1 year old from a friend because he didn't want it anymore. He was kept in the large living room with a lot of action because they had a small yapping dog. But he was never played with, and wasn't let outside of the cage and he never got any attention. So I took him and I have had him for almost a month now and he wants nothing to do with me. I have tried to progressively take him out of the cage or get him up on my finger but hes really scared. I think this might be because he was antisocial and was never talked to or play with, and I would like some tips for Pidge.
I forgot to mention that I have had him for about a month now, and his cage is currently in my bedroom on the dresser.
Well, a month isn't very long to have had Pidge
Birds aren't dogs, they aren't bred to love humans automatically. Taming and bonding with a bird takes a long time and lots of patience. I would take a step back with Pidge and treat him as though he was a budgie you had just brought home from the store.
You can bond with Pidge by reading to him every day for 2 weeks, without trying to touch him. Don't put your hands into the cage except to change his food and water. After 2 weeks, you can start putting your hand on the outside of the cage while talking to him. Once Pidge is comfortable with this, you can introduce your hand inside of the cage. Once he's comfortable with that, you can slowly move your hand towards Pidge and offer him treats from your hand. After that you can begin trying to get him to step up onto your finger.
You can make Pidge more comfortable in general by playing music or some sort of background noise- to budgies, silence means danger!
Pidge is now in a whole new environment which has been scary and different for him.
Hunterkat is correct, playing music for him when you aren't around will be as budgies perceive no noise as meaning there may be danger.
Taming and Bonding is all about helping your budgie learn to trust you and it takes a great deal of time and patience on your part.
You should never grab your budgie or force him to be touched.
Remember that Pidge was never handled, played with or allowed outside his cage. All of these things are very frightening to him.
To bond with your budgie, you need to build his trust in you. You are going to need to go extremely slowly with him if you want to gain his trust.
He will have to learn over time that you will not hurt him, grab him and try to force him to allow you to hold him.
To build your budgie’s trust, sit by his cage and read, talk or sing quietly to him for a period of at least 10-15 minutes, 3 or 4 times day. After the 2nd or 3rd day, rest your hand on the outside of the cage when you talk to him so he'll learn that your hand is safe and will not hurt him .
After a week, rest your hand inside the cage when you talk.
Don’t make sudden moves, don’t try to touch him .
Let him get used to the idea that the hand is now in his safe place and not harming him .
After 2 weeks, begin moving your hand slowly toward your budgie. If he becomes agitated, stop moving your hand and just hold very still until he calms down. When he's comfortable with your hand near him , you can offer him a bit of millet or a few seeds. In a few more days, you can begin your taming and bonding sessions.
Always work at your budgie's pace.
Move slowly and talk reassuringly and calmly whenever you interact with him .
Most budgies once they pass the "baby" stage, do not like to be petted or touched.
If your budgie does like to be petted, you should only ever pet his head, neck or chest area.
Stroking a budgie's back and/or tail stimulates its breeding instinct. Bonding means allowing them to choose to be with you.
Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.
It's really understandable that the little guy is still scared. He had a terrible time in his previous home so it's going to take him awhile to warm up to the idea that you're not going to hurt him and that he's able to truly come out of his shell in his new environment. Following the steps laid out above by FaeryBee is the best way to help him do so. Be sure to always work at his pace and proceed to the next step only when he seems completely confident with the previous one.
Also, be sure to read through the links provided above as they are filled with the very best practices for caring for budgies. If you have any questions after reading through the forums' many articles and stickies, be sure to ask!
We look forward to seeing more of your budgies soon!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
You have been given excellent advice! Best of luck with your little bird. I would love to hear how your bonding goes. People here love to celebrate the little successes, and we understand that it all takes lots of time and patience. Please to let us know your progress.
I'm far from an expert but as a fellow newbie with a rescue bird who probably wasn't lovingly brought up before (and then was terrifyingly grabbed and put in a bucket during the rescue!) - it's helped to try to learn what Robirda looks like when he's scared? He ducks his head down and hunches his shoulders up, and even if he doesn't try to bite he kind of darts his head forward like he's trying to TELL me he's going to bite.
I actually completely stopped doing step-up training for now - I realized that even if he would DO it for the treats, he was visibly still very scared of my finger and just trying to get over it so that he could get the millet. So I was dealing with a hunched, frightened, VERY BITEY bird who wasn't enjoying our interaction at all - even though when my hands weren't in the cage he's very sweet and social and spends a lot of time trying to get me to come hang out by the cage.
It helped when someone told me that for parrots/parakeets in general, sound is as comforting as touch is to mammals. I don't know if it's true but it helped me change my thinking and realize that when I sit on the floor next to the cage and read/talk to him, he actually is experiencing me being sweet and comforting in the way that another bird would be. And he definitely does know when I'm talking to him versus talking to someone else/myself/my phone. Also, sitting so that my head is lower than him always, always helps. There are many things (getting near my hand, letting me change things in his cage) that he'll tolerate without flinching or making bite gestures so long as he's above me.
Last question: how big is your cage? I might have missed that piece of information. I dragged my heels on getting a bigger cage because mine was long though it wasn't wide enough, and then it made a huge difference immediately - I hadn't realized that my budgie was constantly in threat mode because he couldn't get far enough away when I interacted with his cage - he was always backed into corners that he couldn't fly his way out of.
Again, I am NOT an expert, I'm just in the same boat! Rescuing a shy budgie is a super rewarding thing to do. Robirda started off really anxious and silent and upset, and though he's not handtame he's really good company, sings back and forth with me when I'm talking to him around the house, clambers down the cage to see what I'm doing when I work near him, etc. etc.