I have had Basil since January, but for some reason he will not tame or bond? I've gone through the suggestions and the articles here, and tried various things, and nothing seems to work. I spend time with him daily, several times a day, and talk to him, eat near him, read near him...I even read to him sometimes. I tried to start training him but he seems to be very afraid. I have not intentionally scared him or mistreated him, and he is in a rather quiet room. I'll open the cage for him daily, and he'll come out and sit on the door or on the ladder that is outside of the cage. He'll come out even when I'm near him, and will be fine until I move toward his cage, and then he'll go back inside on his high perch. He makes all of those wonderful budgie sounds at various points during the day, and appears to be cheerful and active. I don't cover the cage at night anymore because he seemed terrified when I put the sheet over it, so I stopped doing that. He seems to be sleeping okay most of the time, he is eating just fine, and his poop looks normal. He'll play with the toys in his cage, which is very high entertainment for us.
My biggest concern is that when I should pull everything apart and thoroughly clean his cage once a week, and I cannot get him to come out. He does not like my finger, and when I try using a perch he may step up onto it, but he won't allow himself to be moved out of the cage. I am doing the best I can of thoroughly cleaning without removing him, but it's frustrating, and I feel I'm making things worse.
Anyone have any suggestions? I'm pretty frustrated with the lack of progress.
Last edited by rowlf; 05-19-2017 at 08:00 PM.
Reason: Typo...there may be more. :(
Do you really need Basil to come out of the cage when you clean it?
I have two budgies that don't come out of their cage and I simply remove items, clean them and put them back in the cage.
I also wipe the interior of the cage down with white vinegar with them in the cage.
I'm able to do this with no problems whatsoever.
If Basil was older and with other budgies for a long time, he may never bond or be tame to the way you'd like. Budgies are individuals but their age, socialization, and personality all enter into
the outcome. Basil might be more comfortable with another budgie.
I've had my budgie about the same amount of time, and she's still not comfortable coming out of the cage at all. She is very curious and friendly, and sits as close to me as she can when i sit and visit with her. I've watched a few videos and pieced together a training routine, and she's showing progress.
First I got her comfortable stepping up on my finger (she does this easily now). Then i started moving her while she was perched on my finger. Not far - just an inch, and never far away from her perch, so she felt safe and empowered to hop back off if needed. I always say the word "move" when i do this, so she catches on that it's like "step up" - a word coupled with action. At first, she would get nervous and hop off my finger every time. But after a while, she would stay on while i moved her that short distance, but still looked nervous. When she started looking calmer about it, i move her larger distances.
My goal is to get her comfortable with me placing her on a completely different perch, and then we will try moving out of the cage. We had made great progress around Easter - i could move her right to the threshold of the cage entrance, and even bring her out a little ways before she got nervous, but we had to trim her nails and now she's skittish again. We're just moving in small increments, closer and closer to the entrance. When we're ready to try coming out, I'll start leaving the training perch near her cage so she gets used to seeing it. Then that's what I'll perch her on when she comes out.
As for getting him used to your finger, this is what i did: At first, I would put my hand on the outside of the cage while chatting or reading to my bird. Then I'd put my hand on the inside of the cage and touch various perches & toys while we chatted. Before long, i could put my hand on the same perch my bird was sitting on. She was still nervous, but not running away. Once i started offering millet to her, she got a lot more confident!
Are you able to get your bird to step up yet? Since my bird is so treat motivated, this is what i found best and most comfortable to do: make an "ok" with your hand. You know, thumb and pointer together, other fingers sticking out. So pinch a small amount of millet in your thumb and pointer, and your middle finger is the perch! Once your bird gets comfortable eating millet from your hand, start making it more awkward to get to. When my bird had to choose between stretching awkwardly, or putting her foot on my middle finger, guess what she did? Gotta get them treats, man haha. Now if my hand is in her cage, she sticks out her foot impatiently like "Gimme! Gimme!"
Look, people are right. Not all birds are social with people. But don't give up yet! Birds are programmed to run away from changes in their environment. Try thinking of what you want to do, and break it into tiny steps. No, even tinier than that haha. I think of my relationship with my bird as a friendship. I pay attention to how she's feeling, and try to do things in a way she's responsive to instead of making her do things my way. She's going to be around a long time, so I've got plenty of time to take it slow and build up, you know?
There's no reason you need to take the cage apart to clean the cage with one bird. Do the tray, food and water dishes...put off thorough
cleaning until he gets used to your hand when it's near him. Super slow movement of your hand, and continued watching his response will allow his adjusting to normal cleaning activity.