A few months ago I rescued two adult budgies (and made a post about it here
). The little birds hadn't been handled much, and both had terrible fears of different things, making it hard to know how to proceed with training. There were a few times I thought they'd die of fright. Charlie, the yellow bird, would pant at the sight of my hands. Wallace seemed to have been taught to step up, but was just terrified of me and would cower in the cage. Looking back at that older post reminds me just how scared they were. Those memories fade faster than you might think.
I've been busy with school, work, and birds, but I thought I'd give an update on how they're doing. In short: they're great!
They come out of their cage more often.
It wasn't long before they started responding to my voice and even chirping along with me.
Wallace started to get very excited when I tell him he's a pretty bird.
But not too excited, because he already knows he's pretty.
We're working on feeling comfortable outside of the cage now.
Their tail feathers were all worn and broken when I got them.
The cage they were in was so tiny that they were constantly rubbing against the bars.
After one molt, their beautiful budgie tails grew in. That felt like a huge victory in itself!
They've been moved to a big new cage, and they love all the new perches. Especially the ladders!
They were settling in for a nap here, all sleepy-puffy.
Every time I see this photo I like to joke about how "well-rounded" they are.
They started eating vegetables with a veggie mash. It includes sweet potato, quinoa, carrots, broccoli, and kale, plus I added millet and flax seeds to encourage them to try it. My latest batch also has Harrison's bird mash.
I've rolled it into little balls that I can freeze. The birdies love it! They get half of one every day, and they eat every bit of it.
It took time for them to start playing with their toys, but now they love to play.
Wallace also discovered he can camouflage himself against my ridiculous curtains.
Charlie's first bath! The birdie bathtub was also scary. Now they love it.
At first Charlie was taking so many baths I thought something was wrong with him.
It turns out he was just really
excited about baths.
This is Wallace in November and a couple weeks ago.
The first photo was from when he had just started eating veggies, so they're all over his face.
This was when I could really see how much they've improved. I was shocked at the difference a few months has made.
The biggest surprise: Charlie steps up now!
At first he would step up and then bite my thumb and finger. Thankfully that has stopped!
Now he's slowly getting better at being handled. We have a long way to go, but this is a huge step.
I'm just amazed at how resilient and sweet he is.
Just in the last couple days he's stopped fixating on my fingers and relaxes a lot more.
All in all, they've made huge improvements in a few months. It's hard to think back to no only how terrified they were, but how scared I
was! They needed time and love to improve at their own pace.
They're off the cheap pet store seed. They're not 100% switched to pellets, but they get a combination of bird bread (made with Harrison's pellets), Lafeber's nutriberries, and fresh vegetables, and it has definitely made a big difference. Their feathers look better and they've gained a bit of weight. They can both fly now, and neither could when I got them. Wallace is a bit wobbly in the air still, but Charlie loves zooming around.
I'm admittedly still very paranoid about their health. I want to know they're not carrying anything, and that a few noises they make that I can't recognize are not problematic (I don't even know how to describe these little noises so I haven't found anything about them...). They're still jittery enough about being handled that I think the vet would be too stressful, but they're happy, active, singing little birds! Getting them to the point where they can handle a vet exam is the next goal. Well, that and playing with them more. Today Charlie ran over to me for the first time so we could play, and my heart just melted.
I'm so glad I found these little birds. I'm definitely going to be rescuing from now on! This has been more rewarding than I ever expected.
Everyone here has been very helpful with advice and support. I owe you a big thank you! Even though I don't comment very often, this forum has been an amazing source of information and kind people with good advice.