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  #1  
Old 05-10-2016, 10:59 PM
POApeter (Peter)
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Default A budgie flew into my school & I rescued it!

Greetings everyone!

I am new here. I came across the forums as I have researched as much as I can to care for my new pet budgie. How I came to be its caretaker is a funny story....

I am an American biology teacher who teaches at an international school in southern Brazil. I see monk parakeets daily on my walk to work; they're super common in my city. Parrots (not sure what species) fly over every few days. We have a subtropical climate here in Porto Alegre. Anyway, my school has numerous open air, green spaces, with large open doorways leading into hallways. One warm fall day in March, I was walking into school from one of those open patios after classes ended on my way to a faculty meeting, and I paused to see a small bananaquit hopping about on a small tree. Just then, a small green rocket sped over my head and into the school! I ran after it, only to find a small green budgie sitting on the floor of the school. Most of the kids had gone home, but there were a few here and there. After a few unsuccessful tries, I got it cornered in a classroom and caught her with my hands. I immediately knew she was an escaped pet parakeet, but I didn't know much else. (I have cared for birds before during the 7 years I worked as an assistant vet tech in high school, plus I have had lots of reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals as pets since I was a child - perks of being the son of a biologist / herpetologist).

Fast forward a month and a half, and I have learned A LOT about caring properly for my small ward. My students have enjoyed studying parakeet biology and especially genetics. We aren't 100% sure of its sex - at first we were leaning male, but now I think it is a female. The thing is, she is quite young. I knew she was pretty small when she flew into our school, and a coworker who had had parakeets before told me that the younger a bird is, the more stripes they will have on their foreheads. By my estimation, she is wild-type (green/yellow/black) and less than 6 months old. She has a lot of stripes, dark eyes (no white or lighter color around her pupils/irises), and neither bright blue or pink/brown cere. The cere is more purplish, with white rings around her nostrils. From my research, it seems likely she is a juvenile female.

So I got her a much bigger cage (at first a parent donated a cage I knew was much too small and vertical for her), good seeds, and (thanks to a visiting friend) a bunch of great pet-safe toys, perches, millet spray, and more care items. She definitely enjoyed the bigger cage, and some treats, toys and perches she enjoys more than other. She likes foraging on broccoli and strawberries more than other fruits and veggies. Recently, she has gone nuts for millet spray, which has lead us to start real training. Since we started last week, she has grown to trust me enough to (inside her cage) eat from my hand, walk on my hand and arm in the cage to get to the millet, and hop from a perch down onto my hand. I worry that she spends too much time in the same couple places in her cage during the day - perched on a rope toy (designed to hang down with beads and mineral blocks, but I hung like a perch) or on a woven grass mat that was supposed to hang vertically but I laid flat to make a different perch. There was a section of the cage with some wires already laid flat to put a breeding box in, so I clipped the mat to that. Luckily a really nice pet store is opening in a nearby mall this month (similar to Petsmart) so I will have better access to different enrichment and foraging items/toys. I will go back to the US for about 2 weeks in July and bring back more millet spray and other good items. My boyfriend will take care of the bird while I am gone; he loves his "little buddy" already, too (he thinks it may still be a male).

Her cage sits on one of the lab counters in my classroom, near a window, with a view of the kids working. She definitely perks up with attention and seems to enjoy it the most when there are classes there, talking, moving, and that kind of thing. During my "prep periods," I try to play different YouTube videos (music, waterfalls, and budgie sounds). I play water sounds, because when I first got her, she would always chirp and "talk" at my apartment when I was in the shower, washing dishes, or doing laundry. Sure enough, she still likes it when the kids and I are washing up after labs.

Anyway, I tried to put various perches and interesting things around the cage, but she doesn't seem interested. Also, I worry about her not having another bird to interact with. She seems healthy, and I would never want to get a bird from a pet store (the vast majority here are very sub-par even by American "big box" pet store standards) that could get her sick even with a quarantine.

I welcome any input, questions, advice, etc. from more experienced budgie owners! Thanks for already providing so much helpful info!

A Google folder of a few photo is linked here. Click to see photos of Gaia! Yes, we finally just decided on a name last Friday.

Oh - and I created a Pinterest board of parakeet care resources for me and my students to reference (click here).

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  #2  
Old 05-10-2016, 11:37 PM
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Hi Peter and to the forums!

You've definitely come to the right place to further your budgie knowledge

Gaia is beautiful! Yes, she is a stunning little girl, and is definitely very young. You're right about the mutation, too

It sounds like she definitely flew into the right school that day as it's obvious you're doing wonderfully in giving her all she needs for a happy life

How wonderful your biology students can experience having a budgie for a bit when they walk in the door

Gaia sounds very happy in her environment and don't worry about her not trying out new things, it can take some birds a while to get used to new toys and perches.

You're spot on about other budgies, too--as long as she has lots of time interacting with you and others, she most likely won't get "lonely" or need a friend. I have a single budgie and she's been with me for four years now, and is just as happy as can be with her human flock! Of course, not all budgies are "people birds", but as you get to know her more and she begins to come out of her shell, you'll be able to see her personality more Working with her at your apartment slowly and at her pace will help to build her bond with you and increase her receptiveness, too. Check out the Taming and Bonding section for more tips on how to do this!

I love the Pintrest board and it's great to see some of our own articles around there

Keep on looking through things and be sure to ask if there are ever any questions from you or your students, actually. In fact, it may be interesting to read aloud a thread from around here once in a while to show what real-life experience with some common problems or experiences is like

It's great that your boyfriend can take care of her while you're gone, I can tell he's already smitten with Gaia

It's great to have you with us and I look forward to hearing (and seeing!) lots more of little Gaia in the days to come

Hope to see you around and it's great to have you with us!
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  #3  
Old 05-11-2016, 09:07 AM
POApeter (Peter)
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Thank you for your friendly, supportive, and encouraging welcome! One thing that I could tell about this forum from the beginning is the welcoming, helpful, and solution-oriented nature of the community! I really appreciate that. I have participated in forums about other pets...and so many others were there for the right reasons - but communicating with other pet-owners in not super respectful terms. In any case, TalkBudgies seems so friendly and nice! Thank you for the welcome message!

It is funny how quickly I became concerned & worried about Gaia's well-being! Her first night with me I was so worried about making sure she had a choice in perches... some good seed and fresh water...and wasn't too warm or too cold...would she be ok in the dark..did she need a cover...haha it really just seems like fate that she flew into my life, so I wanted to make sure she had the best life possible. At first I felt quite guilty keeping her in a cage, but as I learned about proper care and all, I realized that I could make up for quite a bit of her requirements in nature.

I realized I had a couple more questions to ask the community:

--> (I sort of mentioned this in my first post but not really) - Gaia stays in the top 1/3 of the cage for nearly all the time that I am around her. I took out the grating at the bottom of the cage and have the removable (deep) tray lined with paper. On different occasions I have tried to encourage her to go down and explore - adding some "interesting" paper scraps/shreds, a wide/shallow glass dish of seeds, a shallow pool of water, a variety of perches leading the way so she wouldn't have to fly - just sort of climb down, etc. Nothing so far has made her go down for any longer period of time - except when her comfy rope perch (see photos in original post) somehow came loose on one side and hung vertically for a day. Then she was using the skinny wooden dowel perches in the bottom 1/3 of the cage. Any suggestions beyond trying to tempt her with millet?

--> I have started trying to use the different seeds available at pet stores / agricultural feed stores here in Brazil as well as looking around at my grocery and farmers' markets to help give my little one a more varied, fresh, and healthy diet. The majority of my mix is canary/millet but I have other seeds and a pellet mixed in in smaller ratios. I have used these two sites as a guide. Believe me, translating the seed names has enriched my Portuguese in new ways! Haha! I read that some folks add niger seed in a small percent to their homemade mixes for budgies. What do you all think? Also, a man in the pet store was advocating for me to buy a bag of seeds called Higo Mourisco ("buckwheat" according to Google Translate). He was saying it was good for gut health for birds? Does anyone give their birds buckwheat? What about "Japanese rice" ("arroz japones")? It comes in little tan shells...

THANKS SO MUCH, ALL!! :-)
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Old 05-11-2016, 09:59 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Saudações de Portugal, país irmão do Brasil!
It's great that you have managed to rescue this little budgie girl and are making sure she has everything to thrive and be happy.
From the photos, I see she is still heavily barred and doesn't seem to have started her first moult yet.
I'd say she is about 3 months old.

About the seeds, Niger seed can be part of a budgie's diet in very small percentages. This type of seed is great especially for moulting birds or when breeding budgies/raising chicks, since it's high in protein content.
It's true that buckwheat has many benefits, however due to the shape and hard texture of this seed, it makes very difficult for budgies to successfully crack open and actually eat its contents. Birds with bigger and more powerful beaks (like lovebirds and other species) are better able to eat these seeds.
The same goes for the "Japanese rice", only my lovebirds have the ability to eat them, the rice is too hard in texture for budgies.
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Old 05-11-2016, 11:26 AM
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to the forum Peter!

I very much enjoyed reading your story. It sounds like Gaia flew to the right place . It sounds like you're definitely on track with providing what she needs for a healthy and enriched life.

To get more essential information, check out the Stickies threads at the top of each forum section. Best of luck. Hope to hear more soon!
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Old 05-11-2016, 12:29 PM
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She is a young lil one very cute, less than 4 months old. I am glad you have rescued her and give her a loving home she looks happy and comfy in her new cage and with her toys
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aluz View Post
Welcome to the forums! Saudações de Portugal, país irmão do Brasil!
It's great that you have managed to rescue this little budgie girl and are making sure she has everything to thrive and be happy.
From the photos, I see she is still heavily barred and doesn't seem to have started her first moult yet.
I'd say she is about 3 months old.

About the seeds, Niger seed can be part of a budgie's diet in very small percentages. This type of seed is great especially for moulting birds or when breeding budgies/raising chicks, since it's high in protein content.
It's true that buckwheat has many benefits, however due to the shape and hard texture of this seed, it makes very difficult for budgies to successfully crack open and actually eat its contents. Birds with bigger and more powerful beaks (like lovebirds and other species) are better able to eat these seeds.
The same goes for the "Japanese rice", only my lovebirds have the ability to eat them, the rice is too hard in texture for budgies.
Muito obrigado pelas dicas e informacoes! Um grande OI desde Porto Alegre, o capital dos "gauchos"! Tudo bom la na terrinha? kkk (desculpa a falta de accentos, estou teclando no meu notebook americano) Your experience and advice here is invaluable! The seed husks being too thick makes perfect sense. I am so glad I found someone other than Google Translate to help me make sense of different seed types and such. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavensGryf View Post
to the forum Peter!

I very much enjoyed reading your story. It sounds like Gaia flew to the right place . It sounds like you're definitely on track with providing what she needs for a healthy and enriched life.

To get more essential information, check out the Stickies threads at the top of each forum section. Best of luck. Hope to hear more soon!
Thank you for the tips & support! :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island View Post
She is a young lil one very cute, less than 4 months old. I am glad you have rescued her and give her a loving home she looks happy and comfy in her new cage and with her toys
Thanks! So it seems that Gaia is just 3-4 months old and still has some good growing up to do!

Update for the day - Gaia enjoyed seed mix along with some chopped greens, cucumber, orange, and kiwi. She was very curious about these foods, and it was fun to watch her test them and taste them. She is getting very used to treats provided by our hands and will hop down from her perches onto our fingers, hands, and wrists to nibble on some millet. I wish I could do clicker training, because I feel like it would be even easier but just using food + our positive voices will have to do. She seemed most energized when my students had project work time, creating weathers maps on their laptops. All the discussion and brainstorming seemed to perk her right up. I will have to add more photos to my Google folder of her being cute soon.

Thanks again, everyone, for the advice and welcoming! If you think of things I should change about my cage, diet, care regimen, whatever - I am open to suggestion. Also feel free to continue to tell me how adorable Gaia is :-D hehe
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Old 05-11-2016, 09:25 PM
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Hello again Peter and to Talk Budgies

I'm glad you have been finding the information here helpful so far.
I love the story of how you "met" and rescued Gaia.

If you have not yet done so, 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 about budgies and caring for them will have been answered after you've read through all of them.

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Old 05-18-2016, 06:24 AM
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Hi there and welcome to the forum!

Do you say "You wish you could do clicker training"? I didn't understand why you can't - but, you see, if it is about the "clicker", you don't have or don't want to have it, I think it can be easily substituted.

See this little video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnWzOxDIyPU

The trainer has no "clicker" besides it being her tongue making a catchy sound, and it is catchy for the budgie too, as we can see he's pretty tamed.
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Old 05-22-2016, 01:27 AM
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Hi Peter, Big welcome to you and Gaia. She really is a pretty little girl. Loved reading your story and seeing the photos of her. She is too cute and is taming nicely. One of the things that surprised me the most is how quickly a young budgie tames with patience, a gentle hand and of course treats hehehe
Buying new toys is just as exciting for me as it is for them. (I was noticing all the fun stuff in Gaia's cage!)
I can't wait to hear more stories about her, budgies are so comical and playful. I'm willing to bet your baby girl is going to be quite social with all the love and attention showered on her.
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