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Old 04-03-2015, 07:08 AM
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Default Questions before getting a budgie

Hi all,

I've been thinking about getting a budgie for a while now, but need to ask a few questions before making my final decision.

A bit of background - I've never had a budgie (or any type of bird) before, but have had various hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, and fish. My two guinea pigs passed away recently, leaving me with a VERY quiet house. I am used to having some sort of chattering in the background as guinea pigs go about their business!

So why a budgie? I live alone and was looking for a companion which would enjoy spending time relaxing with me, or sitting on my shoulder as I do the housework. I would have the budgie out of the cage any time I am at home. My house has a living room/kitchen in one room (it's a BIG room) and this is where I spend most of my time. The bird would obviously be caged while I am cooking (and I know to avoid using non-stick pots etc). I also have a severe form of asthma which means I cannot use any form of chemical cleaners.

Now for my questions:

1. The living room/kitchen has a high ceiling with exposed beams - I am worried that the budgie will fly up there, sit on the beam and refuse to come back?

2. About three times a year, I travel 350 miles to my visit family/friends for a couple of weeks - I have read that budgies will travel ok in the car - is this true?

3. While I am staying with family, there is a dog in the house. He is a bichon frise (small dog) and although I expect he will be excited at the new addition, he will probably calm down after the novelty wears off. I took my guinea pigs there with me many times and, after he realised that it was just the guinea pigs back again, he pretty much ignored them. Does anyone have problems with dogs and birds together?

I have located a couple of breeders in my area and would consider purchasing a bird from one of them, rather than getting from a pet shop. The two breeders are displaying "hand-tame" birds, which I think would be better/easier for a first-timer like me!

Thanks for any advice!!!

Su

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Old 04-03-2015, 08:08 AM
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Hi and to Talk Budgies!

I'm glad you are carefully weighing out the pros and cons before bringing a budgie into your home and heart.

Let me see if I can address your questions.

Budgies are fun and social little creatures.
Some budgies enjoy sitting on their human's shoulder but each has his/her own unique personality and preferences.

Buying from a reputable breeder is always your best option so I'm glad you have some nearby from whom you can choose. Getting a young 8-12 week old hand-tamed budgie and bonding with it from such a young age will give you a much better chance of having the type of interactions you desire with your bird long-term.

If you are willing to maintain a "safety-clip" of the budgie's wings, s/he will still be able to fly but won't get the lift needed to fly up to the exposed beams on the ceiling. If you choose to allow the budge free-flight, s/he will probably enjoy perching on the ceiling beams as budgies frequently choose the highest place to perch as it makes them feel safe. The budgie may or may not be willing to come down on command depending on how successful you are with training it but will definitely come down when hungry and/or thirsty.

I have three budgies that spent 7 hours in the car when picked up from the breeder and brought to my home. All of them did just fine. If you are going to travel with your budgie frequently, taking him/her on short trips early on will help accustom the bird to the car and it will probably enjoy the trips to visit your friends/family.

With regard to the Bischon, if your budgie is having out-of-cage time, please be sure the dog can be safely secured in another part of the house during those times. It only takes one quick unexpected snap and a budgie can be injured or killed by even the friendliest of dogs. I know you won't want to risk that happening.

To familiarize yourself with the forums, please take the time to read through all of the How To Guides, the FAQs and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
You'll find most of your basic questions are answered after you've read through all of them.

I'm looking forward to hearing all about your budgie when you get one and have it all settled in and we LOVE pictures!

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Old 04-03-2015, 08:26 AM
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I had some of the same considerations when I got my first budgie; it's good to think things through first. I've no doubts you'll enjoy the budgie's company if you decide to get one.

With regards to flying up where you can't reach him/her, I used a stick to reach out and let mine step up on in the beginning. It's not a problem anymore - her playground is where I can reach and that's where she spends most of her time when out of the cage. But don't worry, the bird will come down when hungry!

I bring my budgie in the car quite a lot when we visit friends. We did that with our budgie when I was a kid too. He'd actually go on holidays with us for a weeks at a time and loved it. Just make sure you have a secure way to keep the cage from sliding or falling, and remove toys that might otherwise move and bang into your budgie.

I considered getting my budgie from a breeder but opted for the pet shop in the end. I didn't like the idea of someone else having had the fun of taming my bird, so I got a 3 month-old budgie from a normal pet shop and found it very easy to tame her. My previous budgie was 5-6 months when I got her. That was a challenge. He was from a pet shop as well. If you have plenty of time, it can be so rewarding to take care of the taming yourself
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:03 AM
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Thanks for all the advice! I feel much happier with being able to take my budgie on holiday with me. These trips are an important part of my life at the moment, and I am glad that a little birdy would enjoy it too!

When I do go away, I could put the cage in my bedroom (where the dog has no access) and just make sure I leave the TV on, and spend time with the budgie out of the cage for a couple of hours each day.

In terms of the ceiling beams, this still worries me. I don't really want to clip the wings (seems a little mean - budgies should be able to fly like they would naturally) and I'm afraid that the budgie would just prefer to be up there rather than spending time with me. The beam is far out of my reach (about 9 feet high) and although I don't mind it sitting up there and enjoying the view, I would like it to enjoy spending time lower down rather than just coming down when it needs to eat/drink...
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chukkin View Post
In terms of the ceiling beams, this still worries me. I don't really want to clip the wings (seems a little mean - budgies should be able to fly like they would naturally) and I'm afraid that the budgie would just prefer to be up there rather than spending time with me. The beam is far out of my reach (about 9 feet high) and although I don't mind it sitting up there and enjoying the view, I would like it to enjoy spending time lower down rather than just coming down when it needs to eat/drink...
I'm sure that if you spend lots of time with your little budgie when he's young he's going to want to spend time with you interacting and playing rather than just sitting up on the ceiling beam watching you. You will be his "flockmate"!
All my birds are fully flighted. Two of my budgies love playing on top of my head.
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:42 AM
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Welcome! I agree with Faerybee- I think unless your bird is startled/scared or something, it would be unlikely to just fly up to the beams and stay up there. Watching budgies you will generally notice that while they do spend some time sitting while they preen and stretch or rest, they are active little boogers who seem to think that sitting still is boring. I don't have exposed beams, but I do have very high ceilings with some high-up perching spots, and in the 9 months I've had my budgie, she has flown up and perched a couple times but never for more than a couple minutes before she comes back down to play and explore and see what I'm up to. I really don't think it's something you need to spend a lot of time worrying about.

I frequently travel with my budgie- my parents live about an hour's drive away and I take Raz to visit with me. She is not a fan of the car trip; I don't believe she finds it frightening, I think she simply doesn't like the way she's jolted around (even though I secure her cage). She tends to scold me a lot during the drive! But she loves visiting because she gets to see different places and people, and has fun exploring my parents' house.

FairyBee is right about the best course with the dog being to either put the dog in another (secured) part of the house when the bird is out, or putting the bird in another secured part of the house. Some also advise to keep the animals entirely apart, even when the bird is caged (ie not letting the dog near the cage) because animals are inherently unpredictable. I think this depends on the temperament of the dog. If he has a high prey drive and gets excited by the bird flapping around the cage, he may try to get at the bird, perhaps knocking over the cage or something. But if he reacts the same way to the bird as to your guinea pigs, by ignoring them, he's probably safe around the cage.

As for where to get your bird- I'm certainly not looking down on or judging anyone who gets a bird from a pet store, but personal I prefer a breeder if one's available. You're lucky to find two to choose from, I myself could only find one person in my state who breeds budgies! (I think probably they are only bred by people who really love the birds, because breeding these tiny, low-priced birds is not exactly a money-maker, it seems to me.) I think it's nice to have a hand-raised budgie that you may not have to work as hard to tame, and I like that I was able to visit the breeder and see what kind of operation she was running (unfortunately a lot of pet store birds come from bird mills). Most people agree that a young budgie from a pet shop is not difficult to tame, so there may not be as much of a difference in temperament between shop and hand-raised budgies as there would be with different species. But for the reasons I mentioned, I prefer a breeder.

Good luck! If you do get a budgie, I'd love to see pictures!
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:06 AM
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You might put several balloons that move around in air currents. This should encourage them to roost lower. Use a painters pole that extends to reach.
If you keep the bird moving it will become tired and land in a roosting spot you have prepared with food, water treats and favorite toys. You can teach your budgie to come back to you. Check with Wiki/ AnneMarie for some training tips.

We have book cases and heavy furniture for a budgie to get lost behind. If you are patient and there is a big enough space put a light to show the way out on the floor. The panic can be reduced with training. Train Your budgie to come to a stick or come to. Also get a butterfly net with a long pole attached so you can net the bird in an emergency. This does not harm small birds like budgies Larger birds can get into trouble with big heavy nets. Several of our budgies bounce in and come up on the rim when we bring them down. Be careful with electric cords. After they have stretched the wings the will be content to spend time on their play gym or other play station. They feel safe to be able to return to home cage or play station.

You may want to let them fly in a smaller contained area and then move to the the larger space with beams. When they are ready to rest at one of your lower stations. I find ours will stay on the safe play areas. We also use hanging curtain screens, especially as in extra safe barrier in front of exterior doors. We have 3 walk in flights and occasionally a bird will fly out, but we just tell them to go back home and they turn around and fly back in the flight. Work on trusting your self and your birds.

Once the novelty is gone , they will want to stay near you and the home cage and will migrate home as it approaches bed time.They respond well to a daily schedule. by having roosting sites you can easily clean, food, feathers and droppings. An air cleaner will reduce feather dust, especially in bedroom. Best wishes as you plan for your new Budgie home, Jo Ann
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:07 AM
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As others have said too, don't worry too much about the beams up high. Your budgie might opt to visit them, but with no food and no toys, it'll get boring. I found with my current budgie that I had to move her playground down on something lower after a few weeks because she wanted to be where she could keep an eye on me
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:14 AM
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I am glad that I decided to post to this forum - everyone is brilliant at managing to reduce my worries! I just want to be able to give a budgie a good home and have a fun and loving companion in return.

Like I mentioned previously, apart from when I am out, or cooking, the budgie will have free reign of the room to play/explore/relax in and I really look forward to being able to have a little buddy to interact with.

Having lost my two guinea pigs not long ago, I miss having a little friend to talk to, and the house is very quiet!

Thanks everybody!
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:51 AM
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Your asthma...when your budgie molts, you will have lots of down feathers and "dust" from the keratin sheaths on the new feathers. There's also sweeping daily around your bird's cage for miscellaneous seed hulls and whatnot. Mine love the soft wood toys and shredding paper toys, so that's a little messy too. I have a mesh "seed catcher" that goes around the bottom of the cage. Once a week, I take the whole thing outside and remove the seed catcher, clean the slide out cage, etc. I have a severe allergy to dust. I'm allergic to many things, but dust is the big one. I have three budgies and it's not irritating my allergies. I get those free newspapers and change out the paper every two days. Hey, when it is outdated, they'd just recycle it anyway. It's just something to think about with your severe asthma.

Russell traveled with me on road trips and was fine. Just secure the cage so that if you have to brake, the cage is secure. Nice music, a cloth to provide shade if it is hot outside, a nice toy...he will be fine. It's good socialization for your budgie too.

I have a zero prey drive Labrador and a zero prey drive Poodle. At first they were very curious. I would say "Leave it" and when they walked away, they got a cookie. They don't care about small critters anyway, but it was important for them to hear straightaway that the birds were always "Leave it!". Having said that, do I leave them alone outside the cage together? No. I know my dogs. they wouldn't hurt the birds. But birds are very delicate and better safe than sorry.

Budgies are awesome. An already hand tame baby will be great for you. Best of luck to you!
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