I am fairly new to owning budgies other than when I was a kid my grandpa used to have quite a flock of them. Recently, I adopted a pair of budgies who are 9 months old, and despite both used to be from a breeder who hand feed the chicks, the pair's previous owner left them neglected for a few months. The mom of the previous family also didn't like them very much so other than changing water and add food, they rarely interacted with the poor birds.
When I got them home, they were obviously scared and I gave them space, but now I am slightly worried that I might never be able to bond with an already bonded pair of budgies because of what I have read on the internet. People say it is already hard to bond with a budgie past 4 month of age, and it will be even harder, if not impossible, to bond with a pair.
I don't really want to give up, and yesterday I was feeding the birds from my hand. (They won't step onto my hand, but will eat out of my hand from a perch) The male is more open to me while the female is still terrified of me, but she will come to me if I have food in my hand. They have never bitten me or anything and the male will even let me rub his tummy.
Could you please give me some tips on how to make them trust me more and be able to step up on to my finger? I would love to carry them and show them around the house and yard one day. Thanks a bunch!
First, let me address the comment that you "would like to carry the budgies around the yard one day".
Budgies should never be taken outdoors unless they are safely secured in an appropriate cage and supervised every minute.
Please keep that in mind as you work on taming and bonding with your budgies.
Taming and Bonding with any bird takes time and patience. When there are two, it can take additional time but is completely possible.
Whether or not your budgies will ever want to be carried around the house is a different matter.
Once you've established trust with your birds, then I would suggest you consider working with them to respond via clicker training.
Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.
It's very easy to generalise how a bird can be, but that's not going to be the case in every scenario.
Building a bond with a budgie takes a long time and isn't ever going to be an overnight thing and it seems you are making great steps with the male already.
And if I were you, I would focus on continuing working with him and don't concern yourself too much with the female.
If she's really scared she'll never want to come to you, however, giving her space and focusing on bonding with him and allowing her to see the trust the male develops in you can help encourage her to try as well. So although it sounds odd, focusing on one bird and just allowing her to come to you if she wants to might bring better results.
It's important to work on trust. While you can get them to come to you for food, that is because they want to eat.
A trusting bond means they choose to come to you. So work on giving a treat rather than just food. Millet spray usually works well for this as most budgies love it so much! You can work on clicker training too and give them a reward for a behaviour you want them to repeat. An example would be they step onto your finger, you click and reward them and they quickly learn they get a yummy treat when they do that.
Search through the training and bonding section and other members training journals for hints and tips.
You have come to the right place to learn about budgies. The best advice is to read the articles and stickies (stuck to the top of the different forums). There is a lot of incorrect advice out on the internet. You absolutely can bond with your budgies. People get birds that are several years old and still bond with them. However, it is not a fast process. It takes patience and being willing to move at the speed of your bird. Go slowly and build up trust. It can take months to get some birds to eat from your hand or willing step on your hand. Check out the threads about taming and bonding for more advice on this.
You've been given great advice to keep in mind as you start gaining your budgie's trust. It's never too late to have your budgies learn to trust you!
You've come to a great place to learn even more about budgies! Be sure to read through the forums as there are hundreds of useful articles and "stickies" which will help you stay updated on the very best of budgie care practices!
If you have any questions after reading through everything, be sure to ask!
We look forward to seeing you and your little budgies around the forums!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
Thank you for all the reply. I am looking forward to spending many years with these two. I have been working with the male in hopes of getting the female to trust me more, but it seems like the female will tell the male bird that I "stick" and the male will just revert back to where we first started. I read quite a bit of stuff and watched many videos, but most birds are under 4 month of age, and they could step up after a few hours of training. But I cannot even get them to step up on a stick I am holding, for days. Also, alot of the tutorials are targeted toward younger or single bird, so it is really hard to find some tips for my situation.As I mentioned before, these budgies were very social when they were babies but due to neglect from the previous family they became very cautious of people, however they don't bite. Thanks again.
Just to add quickly, my birds are eating and drinking very well. They play with the swing and chirp loudly since day one I brought them home and they are high up on the perches. Their poop is healthy (black with a little white dot in it. not runny at all) I do have a very friendly and gentle dog, who will sleep next to their cage and the budgies will sleep close to the dog on perch. They will not try to avoid if the dog goes near them but will try to get as far away as possible when I approach. =_= They do eat from my finger and if I am holding a small millet spray they will even approach me voluntarily and I try to praise them as much as possible. They just wont step up on my hand. BUT in general, I think they are settling in fine. What do you think? Thanks again.
It sounds to me like you're making good progress with the two birds.
How long have these budgies been with you now?
What are their names?
We'd love to see pictures of them if you have any you'd like to share.
Sometimes it's easier to work with each bird individually rather than trying to work with them together.
Sometimes a budgie will be more inclined to "step-up" onto your palm or the back of your hand rather than onto a finger.
Several of my budgies prefer the "flat hand" either facing up or down to stepping onto a finger or perch.
Clicker training works well with multiple birds and we have several members using that method. Take a look through "sdodo"'s training journal.
You've been given great advice so far. However I feel it's important that you know and accept that it is unlikely the birds will have a strong bond to you as they are in a pair and you are getting them as adults. While it is possible to have them hand tame, they most likely won't feel inclined to hang out with you like a solo bird will. Budgies prefer the company of other budgies. Of course having a pair of budgies can still be very enjoyable, it's just less likely you will have that one of one bond with them.
Thanks for all the great advice and reply. I only got them recently, so maybe a week ago. It seems the birds trust my dog alot more than they trust me. I guess it is an animal thing. My dog would push his food bowl full of kibbles to the bird cage in hopes the birds could have some too (obviously they cant eat it but I am sure they still appreciate the thought) Despite the loud sound my dog makes when he is pushing his bowl, the birds just chirp pretty happily and dont seem to be scared. They still stay on the side of the perch that is closest to the dog, not shaking at all. However, when I just take a step forward, they scurry to the side of the perch that is the furthermost away from me... TT_TT it makes me so sad....