Thanks to everyone who responded to my previous post about Jester's fear of trying new foods. The egg food and protein mash went over well. She still won't eat pellets but she isn't afraid of them.
I still wasn't having any luck at all with the fresh foods. Jester would watch me eat them. She would ignore them in her space until she touched them and then went into full panic mode. It didn't seem to matter what it was or how it was prepared. She did not have this reaction with new toys including shredding toys.
One of the things I do is work with children who are gifted and talented. Many of them are also on the autism spectrum. I do not know if this is coloring my view of what I discovered about Jester but her reaction seems based on temperature.
If provided with wet food of any kind that is room temperature or lower I still get the total panic flight response as soon as she bites into it. If I use warm water to slightly heat it to just above room temperature she is content with it and will snack although she still doesn't get excited about the new options. If provided the exact same item without the added heating she still responds fearfully.
Aside from the food spoiling more quickly and being very careful about the temperature is there any risk to using this method to convince her to eat a better diet?
Is this common in parakeets?
The only reason I wouldn't go this route is because you will be creating one spoiled budgie! There's a possibility that she will ONLY eat food that's been warmed up. There's also a possibility that warming up the food will give her incentive to start trying new things and she'll get a taste for new yummy foods. I'd say go for it! See what happens. I would just monitor the situation and if it seems like she's becoming obsessed with warm food then I'd stop. My little brat gets obsessed with specific foods and I just have to stop feeding them for a while. I can't eat bananas around him anymore. He's obsessed to the point he gorges himself if I don't intervene.
As for being common- I don't think that most people (not talking about the people here) take such an interest in their budgie to the point of noticing what temperature of food their budgie prefers. I think it's so sweet that you noticed this about your bird and I think she's so lucky to have you. Personally I can say that my budgie could not care less about the temperature of the food he's eating. I know this because I was pulling some frozen raspberries out of the freezer for him to thaw and I had to shoo him away from them. On the other hand I know his beak seems very sensitive to touch. Cold can be painful to very sensitive people. (Like people with autism) and it makes sense that your bird could be interpreting this unexpected new feeling in her beak as pain. Do you ever give her beak rubs? Mine seems to like that and it could help with desensitizing her beak a little. I am sure that as observant as you are with your bird that you'd notice a crack in her beak. But just in case I thought I give that a mention. I have read that a cracked beak is VERY painful to birds.
I think it's common for budgies to take a while to start eating human food. My budgie didn't have much interest in it until about 6 months into the bonding process. I think once he was bonded and trusted us he really started to want to eat what we had.
I have read the suggestion before to warm up foods for budgies, probably here on talkbudgies. I certainly warm up anything that has been in the refrigerator. I'm sure it has returned to room temperature before they have finished it, so they aren't only willing to eat it warm.