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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Budgie Talk > Taming and Bonding


Taming and Bonding Taming and Bonding is all about helping your budgie learn to TRUST you. This requires time and patience and does not happen overnight.

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Old 02-23-2016, 06:52 AM
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Default Bonding with Harley Quinn

Well, she has been here for 10 days already She is so different than Joker.
He would step up from the first day and he adjusted to me in no time. Now he spends more time outside of the cage than inside, playing in his playground, or with his little ball, and he also picks a card from several cards if you tell him to. He loves being on my hand or on the top of my head, he gives kisses and he knows how to say (in Spanish): ¿Qué pasa? ¿Qué te pasa? Buen chico, Joker, ¿Qué hace papá? Mamá (referring to me ) and so on. He is incredibly tame, and apart from Harrison Bird Food he eats lettuce, carrot and broccoli. He also likes apples. He is like that bird Blue from the Río cartoon Completely domesticated.

Harley spends most time still on the topmost perch in her cage. She might occasionally call Joker but only in the mornings, during the rest of the day she is practically quiet and immobile as a statue.
She looks very healthy (although I shall take her to the avian vet next week for a check-up anyway, especially because of her weight), her posture is upright, her feathers are shiny, she is plump (maybe too much for her own good xD). I have never seen her sleep during the day, she preens regularly and doesn’t go to the bottom of the cage unless she wants to eat or drink. Well, once or twice I caught her sitting in a food bowl, but she doesn’t do it for hours, only for couple of minutes, and she doesn’t sleep in there. I guess she associates it with a nest.
But she looks afraid.
On the first two days, when I got near her and looked at her, I could see her chest heaving as if she was breathing heavily. Now that isn’t the case anymore. When I approach her and try to talk to her, she turns her head in a different direction, as if she were turning her back on me/ignoring me, which I find a little strange.
During her first days, when she couldn’t find where the water was, I used to give her water and she would reluctantly drink, but now when I put the food and water bowl on the bottom of the cage, she eats and drinks from there (when no one is watching her xD) so if I try to offer her water, her body stays immobile and she doesn’t move from the perch, but her beak quickly shakes left and right as if saying “no”.
In the morning, when I change her food and water, and the paper at the bottom of the cage, she remains still and she doesn’t flutter around; she simply observes what I am doing. I haven’t tried any training yet since I want her to lose that fear a bit, so I am waiting till at least 2 or 3 weeks pass.
Just today I had a little accident o.O While I was cleaning her cage she flew out (it was really funny to see her fly, it seems that she is doing it with difficulty because her body is so plump xD), but still, she flew very beautifully, albeit slowly. She was running away from me around the room and when she got tired I gently picked her up and placed her on my hand. She never once tried to bite me during the whole process, she seemed very meek and baby-like; she just sat there on my hand panting. Then I placed her back in the cage and that was it. I hope she won’t hate me now :/

I guess Joker and Harley are different since he came from a breeder who handled him a lot when he was a baby so he sees humans as “friends”; Harley probably sees us as predators even though she is very young, 3-4 months old. Aluz was right about the age since I have seen her first pin feather appear on her head-she will soon go through her first moult. Some additional stress :/
Joker lived in a breeding cage with his parents, later he came to me and he also lived in a cage for a while but now, he can fly around the living room like 5-6 hours per day which he couldn’t do when he was at the breeder’s. He has more space than before.
Harley lived in an aviary in Seville with a lot of birds and then she was shipped to Madrid to be sold; she came to the store on Friday, 12.2 and she was bought by my boyfriend on the very same day. He told me that in that store, there was a huge aviary filled with 50 birds or more, and that the shop assistant had to take some sort of butterfly net to catch Harley as she was flying around with all those birds o.O So I can imagine she is stressed-since she was a baby she had no interaction with humans, then she got shipped to Madrid, then to my boyfriend’s home, then to my home and now she is in a cage. A lot of things have happened to her lately o.O I guess she flew out of the cage because she wanted to run away
So can you give me some advice on how to behave with Harley?
On my to-do list is to
-switch her to pellets
-manage to regularly let her out of the cage every day (don’t know if I should already try and do that?) to do some exercise and fly.
I am worried I won’t have time to bond with her since in one month she will be back to living with birds (Joker) :/ On the other hand, that might be good because she might copy his behaviour and he is very laid back and trusting, when I open the cage door, he flings himself at me and demands attention, little guy really loves me.
The difference between their behaviour is so shocking xD
Thanks in advance for all of your advice.

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Old 02-23-2016, 11:36 AM
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Harley sounds like a lovely little bird that just may take more time than others to settle in. Ten days isn't really that long. Keep giving her space and spend some time reading the info in our training/bonding section stickies...
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:30 AM
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Hi Evelina,

Harley's behaviour is perfectly normal given the amount of stress she has experienced lately.

Don't worry about not having time to bond during the quarantine period, that will come over time. If you force it, it will only backfire. The main focus for now is making her feel safe in her environment. Rather than trying to train her, allow her to show you her comfort zone. Learn to communicate with her (which I have no doubt you will - you already have an amazing relationship with Joker ) but remember she might never be as tame as he is.

Play some soft music for her and keep your movements steady and relaxed and slow. She is clearly very scared at the moment.
Your to do list is great Just keep in mind the introduction to pellets should be gradual with a constant supply of seeds for her.

Best of luck with everything and please keep us posted
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:45 AM
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You have been given excellent advice.

Every budgie has a unique personality and you must work within each one's comfort zone.
Time and patience is always key.

Review the stickies in the Diet and Nutrition and Training and Bonding sections of the forum as a refresher and I'm sure you'll do fine.
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