Ok, so I have 3 male budgies, and two (Cujo and Lance) have known each other for probably a year or more, and they recently met my first budgie, Austin a couple weeks ago when I got the two.
Anyway, before I always just wanted 1 budgie, as I know they are easier to train by themselves without other distractions, but they seem to be like potato chips - cant have just 1!
So as I stated I have 3 budgies, but now my first one, who I was starting to get close to (he would follow me around everywhere from room to room on the floor like a little chicken, because his wings were/are clipped and he would try to climb up me and loved being handfed and petted) now, instead of hopping on my hand when I open the cage, he passes by quickly, flying away frantically to the other cage where Cujo and Lance are
I want to have all 3, but only if they can really be my pets, and not always running away. I know budgie taming takes a while, but Austin was really coming along and now he is just going backwards. Every once in a while I think of selling Cujo and Lance, but I do really like them, and would regret giving them up. However I really miss Austin and I's bond, he was like my little buddy, and already the best bird I have ever had.
Cujo and Lance also always try to fly to Austin, and they chirp loudly back and forth which is fine, except that then Austin ignores me completely. He used to let me pet his belly and beak, but now he always dodges and flies away (his wings are clipped so he just goes to the floor, but he still tries).
Is there anything I can do about this?
Sorry for so much to read, I just wanted to be detailed.
I think the most important thing most people forget is that birds are "birds". Birds are flock animals and are always going to prefer their own species over hanging out with humans. Those who have one budgie that is closely bonded to them have spent a great deal of time and effort helping that budgie learn to trust them.
The biggest source of frustration most people experience is due to unrealistic expectations. My first question to you would be: why if you were making progress with Austin, why did you go ahead and get Cujo and Lance? Did you quarantine the two for the prescribed period of time before introducing them to Austin?
You indicate you want birds but only if "they can be my pets and not running away". I don't think that is at all fair to your budgies since you want them to behave as you desire rather than loving them for who and what they are. If however, these are your true feelings toward Cujo and Lance, then I would suggest you rehome the two of them together to a safe and loving home where they will get the care, love and attention they deserve.
Additionally, realize most budgies do not like to be "petted" once they've past the baby stage. You've now introduced Austin to members of his own species so re-establishing what you perceived to be the closeness you had with him may take some time. Please also recognize the fact that his wings are clipped makes him much more dependent on you than he would be if he were fully flighted and had a choice in the matter.
Truthfully, I feel very bad for Austin. You've introduced him to members of his own species, allowing him to believe he would actually get to be a member of a flock and now, because he isn't behaving in the manner you think he should, you want to take that away from him.
If you choose to keep all three budgies, then please re-evaluate your expectations and learn to love them for who and what they are.
Help them learn to trust you and perhaps they will choose to allow you to become a part of their flock.
The information in the link below will give you some ideas of how you can work with multiple budgies at one time to encourage their trust.
I definitely do love all 3 of them, and never, ever said I didn't. I give them the care and attention they deserve all the time. And yes I do want Austin to be a pet, people don't usually get budgies to just stare at all day, and I have basically always known that they are flock creatures and that a human cannot ever take the place of another bird.
I got Cujo and Lance because there was an ad for them, and I knew it wouldn't be around long plus I always wanted to get more budgies, and they had been rescues and I wanted to give them a home.
And their wings are clipped for good reasons. I lost a bird because she had her wings and flew out the window. I don't need that happening again. Also its much easier to train them this way, and they wont get hurt by running into things if they are scared. In the beginning when I let Cujo and Lance out of their cage they flew into walls and doors everywhere. I don't want them getting hurt.
I have decided I do not want to give any of them up, but still want to have a bond with my birds, and I am more than willing to work for it, and I have been for a long time. I spent 9 months trying to tame a budgie before - I do have the patience.
Also, though not all birds do, Austin did like being petted. It made him fluff up and be more comfortable knowing I'm not gonna hurt him or anything.
I am now placing Cujo and Lance in a different room, so that I can train Austin for about a month or so, then Ill train a second one, and the third, until they know they can trust me.
What I'm most concerned about is the fact that if I reintroduce them all again, the bond will just unfold again.
Initially, when I got a budgie as a pet again, I wanted a bond with my pet bird. I picked Jimmy from the pet store and bought him home, ready to dote on him. It quickly became apparent to me that Jimmy wasn't cut out to be a human's bird. He missed his flock and so I got him some friends.
When I got to budgie number 5, I spent Skye's quarantine time bonding with him. He adapted to it well. Once quarantine was over, I moved him in with the others and he did maintain some of the things he'd got used to doing, like jumping into his cage and coming to visit me to get some food.
But I found that I simply couldn't stand to keep Skye apart from the others just so that i could get something from him, and what I found I enjoyed the most with my birds is exactly what you believe people don't get birds for- I love to watch them. It might seem strange to you, but I get more joy from watching my birds be birds thanI do from forcing a bond they don't want.
With other birds around it might be that they prefer their bird friends to preen them, rather than you giving them a rub. You may have to re-evaluate what is important to you as a bird owner. Would you be happy if Austin just chose to perch on your shoulder, or sit near you?
In the end, it has to be about what your bird wants to do
It seems as though you want a very hands on approach to your birds. It's not impossible, but it'll be a lot of hard work, and you might have to compromise if your goal is to have birds you can pet as you please.
I can say this -- I started with one budgie buddie, and when I introduced a second, and then a third and fourth -- none of them wanted anything to with me. The only thing you really can do is spend some time with them every day, be very kind, very present, and very understanding.
The four have been together for only about a month now and Topi still isn't where he was after only about a month of just me and him -- but they're each warming up slowly, and one, Kumi (one of three and four n.n.) is the only one who will really directly choose to engage with me.
I can say, however, that having their wings clipped can easily be a really bad thing in one respect -- all other things being equal, a flighted bird can (and will) fly away from you when they want to, a clipped bird might not be able to more than run and hop. Just because you can catch them and get them to interact with you doesn't mean that they want to, that they trust you, and persisting in such interactions will not be, shall we say, the ideal way of doing things, or necessarily produce any kind of real connection.
What I mean is -- clipped wings can make a budgie more responsive to the way people, in general, think about and try to train animals -- but for one thing budgies aren't domesticated, unless they're well and hand raised they don't even come to you -tame-, they're wild birds, the way you typically train a dog may (sort-of) work for a dog, but it doesn't work at all for a budgie, and it's generally agreed it's not even a good way to handle a dog.
Not for nothing, but I sense a strain in your words -- and I can understand being stressed if your buddies don't want anything to do with you, but I think it might be helpful for you to first try considering them first, in your own perspective, as buddies, not pets -- and second, from their perspective, well, their perspective in general. You aren't a bird, and once you give them other birds that becomes pretty clear, so some default control and bonding will be lost to the flock (or in my and your case, essentially all of it).
What has worked for me, or seems to be, but I'm no expert here -- I've been integrating them more and more with one-another. Paired off at first, and then all 4 together during play time. The more comfortable with their own relationship they get, the more they seem willing to involve me -- it's slow going surely, but worth it, I think.
But definitely don't take any/everything I've said at face, listen to some others, FaeryBee's first sentence does a very good job of compactly saying everything I'm trying to unpack actually, and their advice always seems quite good n.n.
Ahd -- Addendum: What I say about clipped wings comes from my personal experience with two with clipped wings and two without. It may still not be an accurate interpretation of things, or just poorly worded, but it is at least an anecdote based on personal observation.
I definitely don't want to force the little creatures, I would much rather prefer them to actually want to come to me, and feel they have too. That wouldn't be a relationship really to me at all.
And I just figured that usually when one wants an easy to maintain bird just to watch and admire, finches seem to be the top choice. They don't need much space and aren't tame, but are beautiful and adventurous.
For budgies, I always wanted a buddy probably because my Dad always told me about a budgie he had, Joe, when he was young. Joe, being the only bird there, happily bonded with people, and was quite humorous - he loved to explore and when dinner time (people dinner) he liked to throw it around. He would grab lettuce from salad and toss it all over.
My brother also has just one bird, Pete, who loves human companionship, and flies to my brother, grooms him, and also steals his food when he can
However when Pete met Austin once, Pete responded to no one at all but Austin, and flew away as if we were suddenly his enemies, even though he was close to my brother.
I can understand the budgies thinking though... if a grizzly was carrying me around and I saw people I would likely run to them lol.
So I hope everyone knows I love my budgies and understand them, but was wondering if anyone had any techniques to befriend more than one budgie at once. I also understand that some budgies will just never be a 'people bird.'
Is it perhaps too late for Lance and Cujo? They are 2.5 years old at this time.
Yeah, the only real advice I know (other than that article first linked above) is patience. It takes time. Also, alone time with each bird in turn each day isn't a bad idea.
But -- I'll definitely admit I sometimes think "I kinda wish it was just Topi and I" because he was so well on the way to be my little buddie and spending time with me already, but then I remember that I got him the first playmate because he was clearly lonely on my work days, and really eager for our time together. Every light has a bit of shade and all that (and vice verse) -- and the light for this shade of 'they prefer each-other' is, hopefully, and in time, you have even more little buddies to pal about with.
For pepping yourself up I can also suggest, really celebrate even the smallest victory -- both for your own and for their sake, and even if that little step forward didn't stick thru a second day, it will come back again, and eventually it WILL stick thru a second day, then a third, and before you know it you'll make the next step.
I think the hardest part is just like, say, waiting for summer holiday or something, it feels excruciatingly long until you finally manage to just forget about what you're looking forward to and enjoy what you've got. And maybe, by summer holiday, you'll have gotten somewhere n.n.
I actually have recently gained some progress, Cujo jumped onto my hand completely for the first time yesterday to eat some millet. I understand the boys are rescues and have went through a lot, and are therefore even more scared of people.
I find it funny sometimes when my bird is being loud, because he sounds different. The thing with Cujo is that the house he was living at before had a cockatoo, and now his budgie noise sound very odd as he has mimicked much of the cockatoo's calls! He sort of sounds like a parrot (but I think budgies are subspecies of them or something?), and he enjoys cutting people off nearby in mid conversation - and he does it on purpose lol.
I know it isn't impossible to train a flock, but its much harder because it seems if there is just one bird in the group who doesn't trust you, the whole flock has less value in trusting you, and in human companionship all together.
Ill happily post some pics of my flock soon, I also love seeing other's budgies
Again, thank you!
@ Kiseruyoru I actually happen to be off of school now, as a result of some issues at home and school stresses adding onto it, so I have plenty of time. I know I cant be impatient as they definitely take time.
I was pretty happy about the smallest but most recent victory of Cujo jumping on my hand for millet. There is something strange about him, he will do anything to avoid sitting on my finger, however he will climb up to my shoulder sometimes, or even climb into my hoodie. Who knows what happened to the poor little guy before he was rescued.
Not only is it possible to have them step up, it's possible to have them be in the open - unclipped and performing!
Patience is important yes, but I would also argue that consistency is equally important. You must repeat repeat repeat, and be consistent. Give clear signals of what you plan to do, be it voice cues or props, and be consistent in how you use them. Be persistent and relaxed, enjoy the experience of becoming a part of their flock, because that is what you are doing with multiple birds!
I have finally found an article talking to Norman about what he does and how he does it - no clipping, flock housed together - it's quite remarkable, and I think he is truly someone who understands the way the birds work on the inside. It's not about getting the birds to do his bidding, it's providing an intelligent animal with a challenge, and empowering them to be enriched through it:
It's good to hear you're willing to be patient and work with all of them to establish a better bond! Surely, and perhaps slowly, but still surely, you will see progress in the littlest of ways and you'll know it was all worth it in the end.
Austin sounds like a little darling and I'm positive that with more interaction with all of your darlings one-on-one, things will get better.
It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks (an old budgie?) and with patience and love, anything is possible.
Best of luck!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic