Budgie Happy, then skittish
I'm new to the Budgie world.
Bit of back story in case it helps.
I adopted a budgie about 3 weeks ago named Valentine. The rescue I got Valentine from said he was given to them at about 5 weeks of age, and he was there for 3 weeks, so based on that and how long I have had him, I'm guessing he's around 3 months old currently. He was in a cage by himself, although there were 5 other budgies there, 3 in one cage, 2 in another. It made me sad he was alone so I wanted to give him a home.
I talk with him everyday. I work 2 jobs so I go home between jobs to talk with him and change out his food, water, bedding, the same time everyday.
That being said:
Valentine's mood has seemed to wax and wane. Someday's, he will be very excited to see me, chirp away when I sing to him, and eat from my hand. Then the next day, he'll be climbing to the top of the cage towards the back like he's trying to get away from me and won't chirp at all. He still eats and poops at a normal rate, but looks at me almost like he doesn't remember me from the day before.
I was doing research as I wasn't sure if one of the following could be what's happening. I just wanted some insight on if one of these sounds like what may be happening or if there are other ideas out there I should consider:
1. He's still new and adjusting. Just give it time and he will adjust and warm up.
2. I believe based on his round about age, he may be going through his molting, which I read online can affect their demeanor. His feathers seem to be getting disheveled a little bit and he's been grooming more often. Could the molting just be making him nervous?
3. He's Lonely and I should consider getting him a friend.
I am looking to hand train Valentine so that he can get out of the cage when I am home, and I did read that it's harder to hand train when you have 2, so if this is the case, would it help to get a second budgie that is hand trained so that Valentine can see I'm just trying to help and not hurt him?
4. Anything I could not be thinking of.
Any opinions are welcome! Just looking to get people's thoughts as I want Valentine and me to be best friends and don't want to be doing something wrong.
P.S. I apologize for calling Valentine a "he" even though I know 3 months is still too young to tell the gender.
It isn't too soon to be able to tell the gender of a budgie at 8 weeks old. :)
You need a full frontal close-up picture of the cere (area right above the beak where the nares (nostrils) are) - taken in natural light, no direct sunlight and no flash. From the second picture you posted in your introductory thread, I do believe Valentine is a male but another picture as indicated above would be helpful for making an accurate determination.
8 weeks old the optimum time for a budgie to be released to a new owner. It takes time for a budgie to acclimate to his new environment and given that he was only about 5 weeks when you got him it isn't surprising that he hasn't quite settled in yet.
Taming and Bonding takes a good deal of time and patience. It's great that you are establishing a regular and consistent routine wherein you are spending time with Valentine.
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.
To bond with your budgie, you need to build his trust in you.
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 budgieís 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.
Donít make sudden moves, donít 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.
Valentine may be starting his baby molt. You can learn more about molting in this link:
I would not consider getting him a friend at this point in time. I would wait a minimum of 6 months before deciding whether or not to bring another budgie into the "flock". You haven't had valentine long enough yet to really know his personality.
There are many things to take into consideration before getting another bird.
Do you really want another pet?
1. If you decide to get another budgie in the future, please be sure to observe quarantine for the new budgie.
Quarantine means housing the new bird in a different cage in a different room than the current bird (as far away from the room the current bird is in as possible) for a period of 35-45 days.
Budgies mask symptoms when they are ill. Symptoms may not show up for over two weeks.
Often you will not even realize your bird is not well. Many budgie illnesses are airborne which is why you need to quarantine your new bird in a completely different room.
It is also a good idea to always take a new budgie in to see an Avian Vet for a "well-birdie" check-up. This allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet and the vet can establish a baseline for your bird in case of any future illnesses or injuries.
Distinction between an Avian Vet and a Vet that "Will See Birds"
2. Introducing the new bird to the current bird
Introducing two birds
3. Flock Dynamics
Your Harmonious Flock
4. Where do you plan to get the new bird?
Why buy from an reputable breeder rather than a big box pet store
5. Vet Expense and Housing
Do you have the time, finances, etc to devote to another bird?
Are you ready, willing and able to house the new budgie separately on a permanent basis if it does not get along with your current bird after quarantine?
Be Prepared for Veterinary Care Expense
You've been given great advice by FaeryBee and I completely agree :yes:
He is an adorable little boy!
Best of luck with him, please keep us posted on how he's doing soon!
To add on to FaeryBee's point about adding another budgie-
My budgie, Niko, was a solo budgie for the first year of his life. He was happy even though he never truly bonded with me. However, when someone found my second budgie wandering around outside, I couldn't say no to taking her in and eventually keeping her as an owner was never found. Fortunately, they get along okay and don't need to be housed separately, but they are definitely not best friends. You always have to be prepared for the possibility that they won't get along and will need to be housed separately.
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