I Feel Like A Horrible Person Who Shouldn't Own A Budgie!
Earlier this morning, I removed the bottom of my budgie's cage to change the liner. Since he still sits frozen when I approach his cage I didn't think anything of walking away with the bottom to clean it out thoroughly since it had poop stuck to the sides.
When my back was turned he slipped out of the open bottom (the opening is 1.5 inches wide) and then flew around my room in a panic. He was bumping into walls with an audible thud and crashing into stuff like his cage and my tv, etc.. At first i stood still and decided to see if he would calm down on his own but everytime he stopped somewhere, something would freak him out and make him bounce around the walls again.
I tried to catch him with a light fitted bed sheet whenever he went to the only window with the blinds open. It took me a solid, heart pounding hour to catch him.
After that, fearing for his safety, I came the the heart breaking decision to clip his wings. I called one of my coworkers to come over, she has owned a macaw for 5+ years now and he absolutely loves her and she clips his wings herself so I thought she would know the proper way to do it.
To my horror she clipped ALL his flight feathers. Every single one, he can't get any lift and most likely probably can't glide to slow a fall.
Now he's sitting in the upper corner of his cage, frozen stiff and traumatized like Day 1 all over again. I re-arranged the toys in his cage so he can climb up all sides but I know it'll be a long time before he trusts me enough explore his cage.
Being a long-time dog owner, and once a dog groomer and rescue volunteer, seeing all the horrors inexperienced owners can wreak on poor dogs, the thought I may have abused my budgie beyond recovery horrifies me. I seriously considered putting an ad up on a place like here or Craigslist to see if an experienced budgie owner wants to rescue him from the nightmare of me.
Hopefully your friend left the secondary flight feathers. If you ever
clip again just the primary, 4-8 can be clipped. They still look normal but can't get any lift and little control. Feathers will grow
back and if this was a young bird under four months, they'll come in with the first moult. He will adapt but things will go slow for a time, training wise. Don't beat yourself up over this.
Last edited by philw; 10-03-2015 at 05:27 PM.
First of all... Your not a terrible person. And the fact that you cared enough to try to do all you can to help keep him safe after his escape means a lot, even if you're still rattled from the experience as I am sure you know he is.
Second of all... if you did find some other person to take him there is no sure way to know that it will be of any benefit to him. He would have to be moved, travel and settle in to a whole new environment, which can be even more stressful to him. While you may think that someone else will be a better care taker that you, you are doing just fine, despite the setbacks. It's highly likely, in my opinion, that you are doing the right thing by coming here and seeking advice.
It's never to late to start over. Rescue birds have been through unknown devastating trauma and have shown that they can overcome a lot if given time.
You're not bad. Take a deep breath and remember that it's a learning experience for both of you. So now you have learned that he can get out of the tiny space and know now to avoid that. Take tiny baby steps (slower that you think you should) and don't expect too much right away.
You can do this, and so can he. We are here to support you and help you along the way.
It was a poor error of judgement leaving the cage open but mistakes can happen to anyone so don't be hard on yourself. This is the normal reaction of a new budgie escapee and there's no need to give him away if u know this won't happen again. Budgie are different to dogs but as a rescuer u can understand how a severely nervous dog that's had a bad life feels and the effort u put it in help it to build trust again.
Remember to give your budgie space and allow it to adjust. Keep quiet and don't startle it. Talk to it gently so it's used to ur voice. Introduce him to ur hand slowly by placing it on the cage from time to time.
From the sound of ur concern I'm sure u will be a good caring owner if ur patient. Like I said mistakes happen so don't think bad of yourself and good luck
You have a great supportive group of people here on Talk Budgies that want to ensure you are successful in giving your little budgie the best possible care.
You've made a couple of mistakes and you've learned from them.
You won't make either of those mistakes again.
Now it is very important that you forgive yourself and move on.
If someone else on the forum wrote the post that you did, how would you respond to them? I'm sure you would be caring, supportive and encouraging in your response. Give yourself the same as you would give another.
Budgies pick up on your emotions so try to be calm and relaxed when you are with Georgie. Although you will need to start over from the beginning and help Georgie re-gain his trust in you, it can be done with time and patience.
Simply sit by Georgie's cage and talk, sing and read to him for a few days. Don't make any move to try to touch him. Let him get used to your presence again so he can learn not to be afraid. If you can do this for 10-15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day that will be very beneficial in helping Georgie regain his trust.
When you need to change Georgie's food and water and/or clean his cage, talk to him calmly and reassuringly as you do so.
After about a week, start resting your hand on the outside of Georgie's cage when you sit with him.
Then, after another few days, you can begin resting your hand inside the cage when you spend time with him.
Don't move your hand toward him or try to touch him.
Just hold your hand still and let him experience it in his space and allow him to see it is not a "threat".
After a few days of this, you can try offering Georgie a bit of seed or millet.
Work at his pace and stop if he becomes agitated.
It's better to try again later than to rush him.
Take your time and be kind to yourself.
You are human, you meant well and you obviously love animals or this wouldn't be bothering you so much.
Enjoy the journey of discovery with Georgie -- it will be well worth it!
When I got my first budgie this year, he darted from under the bottom of the cage when I had cleaned it out, so although your budgie got out the way he did, he could just have easily made a break for it when you were attending to his cage in a different way. If a bird decides to try and get out and make a break for it- they go for it.
Don't feel bad about that.
As others have said, hopefully his feathers shall grow back with no harm done.
I see you are really new to the forum. This place is pretty busy and don't be afraid to come here and ask questions and seek advice if you are unsure. Everyone here is great and although what you did hasn't turned out how you wished it too, you did it with the safety of your budgie in mind.
I would suggest that if you decide to let your budgie out again, budgie proof a room first. Cover mirrors and windows (if there's no net up) and make sure there's some places your budgie can land safely. Perhaps even put a perch on the outside of the cage to help them return to it. The first time is always going to be hardest. They are flying around an unfamiliar room and don't know where to go.
My budgies fly round my room now like experts. Jimmy knows just how close he can go to the edges of the room for a good fly and occasionally I get a very low fly past.
The reason the first time was stressful for you and your budgie was obviously it was unprepared and as he was bumping into things, you were clearly concerned.
As for giving him up, there's no saying he would go to an amazing home. Just give him some time to get over this set back and start over.
You took a big step back, but that does not mean you are horrible or should not own a bird.
I am guessing that the elevated energy level during his escape was rather mutual. It happens.
Now you can rearrange his cage for starters, as you have done, and secondary your room. I think in the DIY section are a ton of ideas for ways to entertain birds in the room with ladders, ropes and nets, etc, so he can have some fun time outside the cage even without being able to fly.
I think you need to give yourself permission to start breathing again!
It was a close call, but you and him are fine!
Your not a terrible person, the fact that you care enough to ask your friend and get into a a forum shows you care very much about you budgie, maybe was for the best that you clipped his wings, time will tell, talk to her and just leave you hand inside his cage, that will help the bond, also buy some millet all budgies do love it and put it in your hand until he is brave and tries it, wish you the best of luck.
Hello, please see the positives from this experience. You have now realized you can not assume your budgie will do what you expect. He will take time to adjust provide him with ladders and climbing aids till his feathers re grow. In the mean time start from the beginning and move forward.
Don't beat yourself up . Others have given great advice. You wouldn't expect him to have escaped out the bottom. My Twigs has easily gone in and out of a 1 inch space before which surprised me at the time. They'd go in and out of one of my parrot cages with the door closed!
As others have said, birds are resilient. He will overcome this... it sounds like he was pretty wild to begin with, so it would have taken time anyway. You'll get there.