Say hi to Tiki and Kobu! Tiki is the budgie on the left, Kobu on the right. Get ready for a long description about how it's been going so far.
At first I got just Tiki because I wanted to bond with him, train him etc. But I work full time (I'm away from home from 8 am to 6 pm). I felt bad for leaving Tiki all alone, so I got Kobu 4 days after.
I got the pair from a local breeder. They are hand tamed, and hand fed. According to the breeder, they're about 7-8 weeks old. He wouldn't tell me their gender because it's so hard to tell at this point, but as far I can tell, Tiki is a girl and Kobu is a boy (I'd appreciate it if someone could confirm their age and gender for me).
When I went to pick them up, the budgies were very playful, a little chirpy, and totally comfortable in human company. Tiki was a nittle nippy. Their wings are clipped, so when they flew off they'd land on the ground. But I could easily have them step back up on my finger.
After bringing them home, it's become a whole different story. They've become very still and quiet. Whereas they were comfortably travelling all over my hand at the breeder's house, they were suddenly very afraid of me and my hand. I know this is normal, so I gave them a few days to get used to their new environment. They wouldn't eat in front of me, and would only chirp if I left the room.
I noticed that Tiki never touches the strand of millet I hung inside the cage, she would only eat the staple seeds I left in their dish. Kobu ate both the seeds and the millet.
The breeder advised that I should be taking them out of their cage for at least 45 min a day, so that's what I did after day 4 (day 2 for Kobu). Though they were hesitant about stepping up, they would if I pushed up on their chests insistently (which honestly, felt very wrong to me. Should I be doing this?). Tiki became extremely prone to biting. If I brought my finger up to her too quickly, she would flare her beaks, and eventually bite very hard. Regardless, I brought them out. Both of them cower away from my hand/finger, and try really hard to stay away.
After bringing them out, they would be very nervous, and very eager to fly back to their cage (they still do if they get the chance). It took them about 5 minutes to stop being nervous. After getting them out and away from the cage, I left them in front of me, on my finger, or in front of a mirror. I would get them to step up, and more often than not, I would have to push up on their chests to get them to do so. Tiki generally stayed on on my finger and palm (above my wrists, basically). Kobu would climb up as far as he could, up to my shoulders even. I used to pet them, but I learned that budgies generally don't like that, so I stopped.
The first 3 days that Tiki was alone, I tried to teach her to eat millet when I brought her out. I held a strand very close to her face, but she showed no interest. I persisted, and finally got her to take a nibble! But she still wasn't very interested. I noticed that Tiki is a little more likely to eat millet if break off just a pellet or two and hold them in between my fingers (yes, she eats off my fingers, but not my palm - just making that distinction). After a week, Tiki finally eats millet off the strand.
One thing worth noting is that when I hold out millet in front of them (both inside and outside the cage), they don't go for it right away. I have to hold it for a couple of minutes before they start eating. But once they start, they really seem to enjoy it (especially Kobu). Why do they take so long to start eating?
Today marks a week since I got Tiki (4 days for Kobu), and I decided to try a different approach. Before I get into that, I want to mention that both of them ate their seeds in front of me for the first time today (usually they abandon their food and retreat to their favourite perch if they see me). Tiki was wary of me, but Kobu didn't even care that I was there. So for my approach, I kept their cage door and top open for the past two days, and today I decided to work with them inside the cage. I sat in front of them and talked to them while they ate their seed. After they finished, I put my hand in the cage (they tensed up, but that's it). I repeated that a couple of times, and they stopped tensing up. Then I took a strand of millet and held it in front them. As usual, it took a couple of minutes, but they started eating the millet. Eventually they stopped, and started playing with their chew toy. I slowly backed my hand away. Then I proceeded to bring my bare finger close to them. They both cowered and retreated. Tiki flared her beaks, but didn't bite. I repeated this a few times, and called it a day.
Now we get to the present moment. I finished working with them in the cage, and sat down to write this essay (haha!). I left the cage door and top open. They suddenly seem very different after today's session. I've been writing this for about an hour now, and they've been chirping this whole time (just once or twice every 10 seconds). They're moving around the cage, and preening constantly, instead of sitting in one spot like they usually do. Kobu actually flew out of the cage, but was very eager to go back in right away. He couldn't though because it's too high up. So I got down on the ground, and held my finger in front him. He roamed around for a bit, but eventually climbed on to finger, and I took him back near the cage, and he flew back in (hopefully I built some trust there).
So this is where I stand with my budgies. My ultimate goal is to train them and have them to neat tricks. For now, I want to make them comfortable with me, and step up without hesitation. I would greatly appreciate any advice on any of the above (what I'm doing wrong, what I'm doing right etc). I don't even know how to start treating them. All my research suggests I should use millet spray to get their interest, but they're not very interested in millet spray.
Thanks for reading through all this. I know it's long, but I wanted to paint the picture as clearly as I could. Again, I will happily consider any advice and suggestions you may have.
They are very young as you can tell from the melanin in their beaks. I would guess they are only about 9-10 weeks old.
I agree that Tiki appears to be female and Kobu is definitely male. Both need time to acclimate to their new surroundings.
It is very important that you take things very slowly and work only at their pace.
Don't rush them. Learn to read their body language and respect it. There will be times they will prefer not to interact with you.
It is best not to force them to come outside of the cage.
Leave the cage door open, put a perch next to the door on the outside of the cage, and perhaps set up a small playground area near the cage.
Remember that this is a whole new environment for them and they've only been with you for a week now.
Taming and Bonding is all about helping your budgies learn to trust you. Just sitting next to their cage, talking, singing or reading to them will go a long way in helping them become accustomed to your presence. When you are not with them, play music or the TV so they have background noise.
Budgies interpret complete silence during the daytime as meaning danger.
Not all budgies are overly interested in millet right away and if they've just eaten they will be even less interested.
Remember that millet should be used as a treat or training aid so you don't want to leave a big spray of millet in their cage at all times.
Take the time to read the Budgie Articles and Stickies at the top of each section of the forum.
You'll find most basic questions are answered there.
I absolutely agree with FaeryBee, she's given you the best possible advice
Tiki and Kobu are both beautiful; Tiki looks like my girl Mallorn except for Tiki is single factor goldenface sky blue opaline rather than yellowface II sky blue opaline
Be sure to read through the links provided to ensure you're up to date on the very best of budgie care practices! If you have any questions after reading through everything, please do ask as we'd love to help
Best of luck with getting Kobu and Tiki more comfortable with you! I look forward to seeing lots more of them
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
Wow is right! Gorgeous. I know it seems like forever, but they will acclimate to their new home and be more relaxed. I've learned one thing about budgies since I've had them... Be patient. You need patience and you really can't rush a budgie..
Congratulations on your new little friends, they're absolutely precious!
Single factor is a term commonly used in genetics pertaining to a given mutation.
Golden face budgies will have a much richer and intense yellow colour when compared with yellow face budgies. When Tiki moults, the intensity of her yellow colour will increase and the yellow will also spread more evenly on her blue feathers, making them green.
I think your Kobu is a cobalt violet yellow face type II spangle budgie.
RIP sweet Tito (Summer 2008 - January 17th 2013).
You are missed and never will be forgotten.
I agree with Aluz regarding the mutation of Kobu as well as what she said regarding yellowface and goldenface
As more background, "factor" refers to the number of genes inherited for the trait. For example, if only one copy of the gene is inherited, they are "single factor". If two copies of the gene are inherited, it is "double factor".
There are four types of yellowface and two types of golden face, which can only occur visually in blue birds.
Single Factor (SF) Goldenface is a bright, rich yellow that spreads to the body feathers, making the birds a shade of green on all or most of their feathers.
Double Factor (DF) Goldenface is a bright, rich yellow that stays confined to the face and mask feathers, so a blue bird will stay blue and not green/teal.
The next brightest yellowface is Yellowface II.
DF Yellowface II is like DF Goldenface--there is very little spreading of the yellow colour into the body feathers. The difference between the two is that Yellowface II is lighter, more buttercup yellow than lemon yellow.
SF Yellowface II is what my girl is--you can see her in my signature. The yellowface II gene causes the buttercup yellow of the face and mask feathers to spread throughout the body, resulting in a lighter green colour than SF Goldenface, often more blue than yellow, which results in a sea-green colour in sky blue birds.
The final two types of yellowface are Yellowface I, which is a soft, buttery yellow colour, the lightest of all.
SF Yellowface I stays in the face and mask feathers. It's like a lighter version of DF Yellowface II.
However, DF yellowface I is interesting. When present in it's DF form, DF yellowface I actually looks white. Therefore, any bird with a white face will have the same facial colouring as bird with a DF yellowface II gene. The only way to find out which it is is to breed the bird, and if any babies have SF yellowface I, you know they inherited one factor of the yellowface I gene from the parent.
I hope that makes sense
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
It sounds like you're really invested in making sure you're caring for your Budgies correctly, so way to go! And I absolutely love your pair! Great names, too! I also remember how excited I was when I brought home my Budgies, but, as above members mentioned, just spending time with them and letting them come out of their cage at leisure really helps. I would take my homework or a book up and read in my room (where their cage is) so they would get used to me. I would also leave their cage door open and leave some millet outside of their cage so they could climb out and, if they got scared, they were free to go right back inside. This helped them realize that they were always free to go back inside so, over time, they lost the fear of coming out. It just takes time and patience.
If you're interested in mutations (as I am and many members here are) this website really helped me when I was trying to figure out what my pair was.
What was nice about this website is that they include pictures with the mutations, have a link with commonly confused mutations, and describe the entire mutation as a whole (like going into cheek color, flight/tail feathers, how it is inherited, if it's sex-linked, etc.) And, of course, TB members help a lot to clear up any confusion!
If you're still confused with goldenface and yellowface, I included some pics of my Hermes that might help. He's a SF goldenface cobalt (so very close to the mutation of your Tiki- he's just a cobalt, not a sky blue), so when he was a chick, as StarlingWings described, the gold color stayed on his face. But even as a chick, his cobalt color had a hint of the teal that was to come on his chest. After he molted, the golden color spread throughout his body, making him a sea-foam green. Now, he's a darker green, but hopefully these pics can give you an idea of the mutation and what your Tiki could look like someday
As a chick:
His Teal color:
His current color:
"The LORD your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in His love; He will sing and be joyful about you." ~Zephaniah 3:17