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Old 07-19-2015, 06:23 PM
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Hi everyone, I have a green English Budgie male named Freddie, who I have posted about a couple of times before on here. I think he's probably about 7 months old now and I have had him for about 3 and a half months, and I just have a few questions regarding behaviour etc which I'm hoping you can help me with

- Freddie has let me give him a head scratch three times over the past week or so. When he lets me, he really goes for it and enjoys it. The only thing is, I have no idea how to initiate it properly, most of the time if my finger goes anywhere above his head he just moves away. It's only by accident when he doesn't see my finger coming that he lets me do it. Will he become more used to this and start to "ask" for head scratches?

- For a few weeks now Freddie has been giving me kisses. He even got to the point of reaching out to my mouth for a kiss without me doing anything. However, the last few nights he's reached out and really bitten my lip, and it really hurts! Is this just a case of testing me to see what my boundaries are? When I first started taming him I remember him nibbling my fingers a lot which turned into playful (but painful) biting and I'm just wondering whether he's seeing how far he can go. When he bites my lip I jump back from the pain which scares him off and he'll fly back to the cage, but he still comes straight back to me afterwards.

- Next month I have to go to my Mum's for 10 days to look after her pets. I can't take Freddie with me (Mum has a cat) so he is going to my Nans. I've never moved him before and I am worried the 10 days in a different house will scare him. I have been moving him to different places in the house recently to let him know there is a different world outside the living room he knows. For example, I have taken his cage into the kitchen when I've been doing the washing up. While he is away I will be calling in once a day to check on him so I won't be totally away. Although I'm worried he might lose his bond with me and not recognise the house when he comes home?

- Talking! Freddie is not talking yet, perhaps he never will. Talking was never the selling point for me getting a budgie but it would be a great bonus. Every day, several times I repeat "you alright, Freddie boy?" over and over again to him. Sometimes it sounds like he mimmicks me in bird noises but he's never actually repeated anything back to me despite my efforts. Is it likely now that he will never talk?

- Second budgie! Of course, because I have one budgie it's always on my mind that I should maybe consider a second. If I did get another I would like another male. Me any my partner both work five days a week but we have different days off, meaning four days of the week one of us is home with him all day and the other three days he is entertained by the radio (until we get home and spoil him rotten with attention). The only worry I have about getting a second is that it will be harder to transport them with a larger cage if I go away (I am planning a few days away for Christmas). My house has electric heaters which can't be put on a timer, you basically have to switch them on if it's cold and off when you're finished. Is an English winter too cold for the budgies to survive without any heating? Obviously I will have somebody coming in to change food and water etc.

Any feedback is much appreciated. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more pictures of him on here for you all very soon. Thanks.

Another thing I forgot to add: when he first came home I had a plastic bird in his cage which he loves. Sadly he broke the part that attaches to his perch so he can no longer have it in his cage. However, every time I let him out I hold it for him and he still loves playing with it whilst on my hand. The thing that's concerning me is, does he love it too much? He gets so excited when he sees it and even tries to feed it? Has he grown a bond with a plastic bird?

Last edited by Pretty boy; 07-20-2015 at 10:37 PM. Reason: Merged Posts.
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Old 07-20-2015, 06:46 PM
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Hi vancey

Glad to hear Freddie is doing well.

So about the head scratches: I wouldn't worry to much how to initiate it. I would wait for him to show you that he wants one, by rubbing against your finger or something like that. To get him more used to your fingers, I would look for moments when he's otherwise involved, like eating millet out of your hand, and maybe move your finger close to his head so you can give him a scratch if he wants it. I think it's very possible he'll get more used to your fingers

I think that kind of biting is like we'd consider roughousing. Mostly it's unintentional, unless he's mad at you for whatever reason in which case it probably isn't Either way, as he approaches his "teen years", he'll start to get a little more bitey, but most budgies grow out of it. The way I dealt with my hen's nippiness during her first few months was wait until she bit me, and then put her back in the cage after saying "No, Mallorn." Then I walk away. After a few minutes, you can come back and act like nothing happened, as parrots understand easily the implications and soon won't behave in a way to make you leave the room and stop playing.

A new environment is always a difficult time, but it's a necessary time. Is it possible to get your Nan over to your house before you leave and introduce them in a familiar environment? If you do this, he'll be less apprehensive of spending ten days with them. Mallorn met her caretakers before I dropped her off for the same amount of time and she did really well. Reassure him you love him and you'll be back, and I'm sure when you return he'll be very happy to see you Birds have a good memory so it's very unlikely that when you come back, he won't recognize things. It may take him a few days to settle in but he'll be back to normal after then

Assuming you got him as a baby, three months is not very long at all. And apart from that, it is possible to teach an old budgie new tricks Many budgies surprise their owners with a random word far after their owners attempted to teach them to talk. If he's mimicking and interacting with you actively when you talk to him, he may be working on a word already! Use similar words and phrases (Hi Freddie! Pretty bird!) when you talk to him and he may pick one up.

Regarding a second budgie, if you and your husband work a lot, a second budgie boy may be a good idea. However, it's not entirely necessary if he seems active, playful and bonded to you both. Regardless, going on holiday without them while they are in a cold house is not very recommended, as budgies are sensitive to changes in temperature. You could buy a smaller cage (still big enough, but not as big as their home one) to keep them at the home of whoever takes care of them to limit the inconvenience of having to tow around a huge flight cage.

How cute that he loves his toy! It's normal for budgies to become obsessed with a toy. I think that if it's not to serious an issue, you can play with him and his toy during out of cage time. However, if it seems he's really bonded to it and becomes sad when you put it away, I would remove it. To distract him, you can get him new toys and keep him entertained.

I hope this answers all your questions! Keep us updated and I can't wait to see some new pictures of him

and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
Old 07-23-2015, 03:17 PM
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Thank you so much for the reply!
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