I brought my first budgie, Crusoe, home about 2 months ago. He has settled in and is a happy, healthy little budgie. He eats, sleeps, and exercises well (Flight wings are coming back in). But the training process is showing little to no improvement. From day one he didn't mind my hand in the cage, it's when I touched his belly he would move away or simply stand still while he just sorta looked around. As I look through hundreds of training articles I always come across the rare "holding" method. In which you gently grab you budgie and hold him in your hand until he calms down, of course being gentle on his chest so he can breath. Is this a valid training method? or a recipe for disaster?
Please, Please ,Please, do not do this ever to your budgie.
Budgies are not a bird that likes to be held at all, in fact it can and will cause a lot of stress and if not help properly can be severely hurt.
Budgies will step up and perch on your finger, shoulder or hand but do not cover or enclose them in your hand. He will become very distrustful and not want to be near your hand at all.
Simply hold some millet and let him become used to being able to eat out of your hand , let him see he can trust and have a nice experience when your hand is there.
I had exactly one budgie that enjoyed being held and would actually slip into your hands if you formed a "cave" with them and cuddle, but that was long after he was super hand-tame already.
Holding a non-tame bird is just going to cause fear and stress, and may break whatever progress you have already made.
Most of the time, the way to a budgie's heart is through his stomach, as said above, millet usually works great. Have patience with the bird, don't give up, but please remember that some budgies just don't get as tame as others. They're tiny little birdies, but they do have minds - and temperaments - of their own, and with some you just at some point need to accept that they'll let themselves be handled in an emergency but otherwise prefer to keep a bit of a distance.
I agree. My two parent raised Budgies will step up and will happily sit on my shoulder. I can even kiss them when it's time for night night. But petting or holding, no way. They won't bute, but they clearly don't like it. So I don't do it. And now, they will preen me sometimes when sitting on my shoulder. It took months for me to be able to softly kiss Russell. If you just let your little Budgie sit on your shoulder and get to know you, while you're reading, on the computer, or otherwise still, that might be something to try. That's what I did with Russell because he was terribly timid for a long time. Now sometimes he will climb onto me to hang out just because he wants to. Good luck! Patience, slow and deliberate movements and calm energy will help. Your question is great. You obviously care for your friend a lot, and he can feel that. Lucky bird!
Last edited by RusselltheGrey; 03-25-2015 at 12:43 PM.
I've heard that kind of taming referred to as "flooding" which might give you more search results if you want to google it. As a way of taming parrots, it's controversial at best.
Flooding is still used in human psychology. We don't even know for sure how to motivate our own species, so there will always be some argument about what works in another species.
Personally, I think flooding for budgies makes them give up and accept things, rather than learn to enjoy things. Those two roads mean different relationships between owner and bird. That's assuming you can hold a budgie without hurting it long enough for it to understand the thing it fears is not so bad. I've seen a lot a budgies who don't mind being held, and I tend to think this is the disposition of that particular budgie... but people who have those budgies don't often share how the birds became like that.
My bird Harry does not like to be held. Sometimes I worry 'what about if he has to go to the vet?' because he won't end up in the carrier without me holding him, and he will definitely be held by the vet. I've wondered whether there is some way to acclimatize him to it first without stressing him out... and I just don't know.
When you take a budgie to the vet that is a an entirely different matter, often the bird could be listless and allow you to pick it up, or it needs to be examined .
I have had to pick my budgies ,as we will all most probably have to at some time in their life.
To administer medications, examine him, move him from a dangerous situation.
This is acceptable, as long as they are held correctly. To try and hold a budgie as in a friendly or loving way is not something that is natural to them it is against their instinct of flight or fight.
Flooding is the way many old-school trainers work - you will not get away with it on any species that remembers and holds grudges. That's why it's always considered a bad idea on large birds that can do a lot of damage. I know some people who think it's acceptable for budgies, as they are small and generally forgiving.. But I would never do it.
If you focus on positive reinforcement methods - be it clicker training or food luring - done at the right time of the day you can work miracles.
Lots of great responses here and good advice! Thank you to everyone for posting! I just wanted to add that most budgies do not like to have their bellies touched. Some like a head or cheek scratch, but that's about it. I feel close to my budgie by letting him perch on my shoulder and preen me as well as touching my nose to his beak and making a kiss sound. It's a fun game!
Bethany and Jorge
Mini schnauzer, Watson (July 18, 2009)
Budgie, Sammy (April 13, 2014)
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