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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 11-12-2017, 10:20 PM
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When I moved to Oregon I rescued a budgie to be friends with my budgie on the other side of the country, but that budgie passed away before I could have him sent out to me. Then I rescued a cockatiel that someone found in a field, but after training him I felt attached and didn't want to rehome him.

I was also really excited that my budgie and cockatiel got along well enough to be buds since I know that's not guaranteed. But lately I've been noticing that they give each other some anxiety. The cockatiel refuses to play and the budgie refuses to sit still and cuddle! While I think they benefit heavily from each other's companionship, the level of stress they have from each other now outweighs that benefit in my mind.

So, who to keep and who to rehome?

Benefits the budgie:
Here's a training video showing how smart he is: Spin the Wheel - Teaching your budgie parakeet tricks - YouTube

- I've had him longer, and I've always had budgies so know them well
- His poop does not stress me out
- He was an extremely fast learner when I got him (he learned basketball, skateboard, spin the wheel, bat-bird, flight recall, shake hands, and go through tube)
- He is more into "play" antics which I passively enjoy
- I prefer a constant babble to the infrequent but loud cockatiel
- He is not as nervous (good for some tricks like skateboarding)
- He will sit on our shoulders without hissing at our hair for touching him
- He does not mind hands and used to even exchange scritches with me. See video: Scritches for Atrus - YouTube

Benefits of the cockatiel:
- He prefers humans for company (probably hand-reared)
- He is a little easier to relate to somehow, even though before I had a cockatiel I felt like each budgie was unique and personable
- He can pick things up with his feet (good for some unique tricks)
- He can manipulate larger objects (good for tricks)
- He can whistle a Zelda tune now and tries to "talk" (sounds like rapping)
- If I got him a companion, he would also probably be hand-reared
- If I didn't get him a companion, I could bring him to the office because he doesn't mind travel and is mostly quiet
- He doesn't demand interaction when spending time together, which is good for when we are on the computer
- He eats his vegetables reliably (the budgie will copy)
- He's pretty great considering he's a rescue
- He could probably be potty trained if I was willing to sit there and watch him poop for hours.
Here's a video of him. He's such a good bird. I've been a terrible caretender, I guess.
Petrie the Cockatiel Learns Touch - Day 1 - YouTube

My situation just changed from being a grad student to having a ton of time and flexibility with work so now I feel like I'm wanting to work on these complex tricks but the budgie no longer wants anything to do with me because he just follows the cockatiel around and the cockatiel doesn't want anything to do with the budgie because he just follows the humans around.

Sometimes I get so stressed out I wish I could just start over with a baby budgie or cockatiel, or maybe even a bigger bird like a Senegal that seems more capable in learning tricks (but is probably too loud, poopy, and demanding for me, if the cockatiel is any indication...)

I do have two friends who are each wanting my birds so I could make sure they go to a great home where they will get even more attention (since right now I'm splitting it 50/50 between the two birds lest Atrus annoy Petrie and Petrie be rude to Atrus).

I also had this crazy idea that since I can't find hand-reared (parent-fed) budgies that I should breed my budgie and keep one of the babies. Terrible idea, I know, but it just shows how my mind is going. Like, "If only I could start over with a budgie I hadn't messed up by going to grad school and introducing to a cockatiel..."


Last edited by FaeryBee; 11-13-2017 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:45 PM
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You've done a lot with both of these and if you have a great home for the cockatiel, I've always said that a budgie is a lot of parrot in a small package, but it has to be your decision if you can only keep one.
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:54 PM
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Thanks, and I agree about budgies being a big parrot. Michael, the "Parrot Wizard" said the main difference he found when training his senegal and budgie the same tricks was that the senegal could figure things out on his own like going down the slide again to get another treat... although I've seen my budgie repeat tricks or try alternate tricks for treats. And that the senegal understoon voice commands better. I did find my cockatiel is better at switching tricks based on voice commands while my budgie responds better to the target stick showing him what to interact with.

That said as I was training my budgie I started getting jealous of all the african parrot owners doing things with their parrot's feet, and my budgie even seems disinclined to pick things up with his beak compared to my cockatiel who will do both.

My budgie right now is like that awesome friend who is too busy saving the world to spend time with you, and my cockatiel is like that friend who you hang out with just because they ask even though they say some not nice things to you...

On the plus side this friend is someone whose house I sleep over once a week so I can still come work with the cockatiel there.
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:30 PM
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Okay, update for anyone who might be reading this for their own concerns:

I watched a bunch of videos that reinspired me about training. I remember with my old budgie who was wild and violent I wrote up this "Care and Taming of Tika" document and followed it strictly and she became my bast friend. I'm doing the same again and I am already seeing improvements with my budgie.


To do this training, I did have to separate the budgie and cockatiel. This means they both spend most of the day caged but I do give them time once or twice a day to stretch their wings. At first the budgie was upset but this but I think he's actually enjoying being able to play with all his toys without the cockatiel being dominating. Its so great to see him playing with toys again, he seems much happier than when he was just following the cockatiel around all day doing nothing (except occasionally fleeing when the cockatiel would get hissy). Reminds me how much I love him. <3



The cockatiel is NOT enjoying this process. He has changed from alright tamed (will step up if its not a hand, will lean his head on you, will talk nicely to you) to actually agressive toward my hands and even my face (the latter of which he never was before). He wont even take treats from my hand and he's normally WAY into treats and will even touch hands for them. He also is really loud because he wants let out. The budgie thinks the contact call is for him so he responds, but the the cockatiel really only cares about the humans still. It is so hard to see him so upset, sometimes I'm annoyed but I also feel bad for him. I am really starting to think he would be better off in my friend's home as a single parrot.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:16 AM
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Default Listless Budgie - should I get a buddy?

I had a budgie who was my best buddy and when I rescued a lost cockatiel they both became kind of feral. Now I've got the cockatiel trained but the budgie is like a different person (or to put it more accurately, doesn't even feel like a person anymore, lacking so much in personality). I think he feels like the third wheel.

A few people suggested getting another bird.

Do you think getting a budgie friend will improve things or just divide my time further?

Potential positives:
-budgies will be lovely playful selves
-budgie/s will (maybe) leave the cockatiel alone because have each other?
-budgie will not be sad when I take cockatiel places
-cockatiel will (maybe) not scream when I take one budgie away?

Potential negatives:
-solving the problem by repeating what started it? (getting another bird)
-budgies could team up on cockatiel
-cockatiel may be upset it doesn't have its own same-species buddy
-two budgies could not get along at all, then I have 3 birds that don't get along.

Someone suggested getting another cockatiel but...
-cockatiel seems to think he's human so not sure that would help
-then I'd have 2 of the bird species I like less

I sometimes think if the cockatiel was a baby instead of a rescue I'd like him more because he wouldn't be so skittish even in his friendliest moments but that's another story.
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:09 AM
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Is your budgie being housed in the same cage as the cockatiel?
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:16 AM
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Can you please clarify if your budgie and cockatiel are housed in the same cage?
If so, it is better to keep them in seperate cages because cockatiels can behave aggressively towards smaller birds like budgies. If you are not able to spend enough time with the budgie, you should consider getting another budgie so he has a buddy to play with and keep him from boredom.
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:49 AM
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I've merged your initial thread into this one so it's easier for everyone to see the background before trying to respond to your latest post.

I'd like to ask some questions of you to get a better feel for your mind-set before I offer any advice.

Are the budgie and cockatiel still being housed separately or did you end up putting them together in one cage?
If you have the cockatiel and budgie in the same cage, I recommend you house them separately.

How much time do you spend on a daily basis interacting one-on-one with your budgie?

Do you sit with the budgie, read to him and play with him every day?

You indicate that perhaps your budgie will not "be sad when you take the cockatiel places"
Does that mean you are spending your time with the cockatiel and basically the budgie is on his own?

In another sentence you indicate you like budgies better than cockatiels so I'm rather confused about how you actually feel about your current birds since
a couple of months ago you were talking about rehoming one of them. (?)

What specific outcome are you trying to achieve by getting another budgie?

Anytime you add or remove a bird the flock dynamics will change.
There is no guarantee that the new budgie and the current budgie will bond and get along well. If that happens, are you able and willing to house the birds in three separate cages on a permanent basis?

There are many things to take into consideration before getting a second budgie.

https://talkbudgies.com/other-pets/50...other-pet.html[

1. Quarantine

If you do decide to get another budgie in the future, please be sure to observe quarantine for the new budgie.

Quarantine means housing the new bird in a different cage in a different room than the current bird (as far away from the room the current bird is in as possible) for a period of 35-45 days.

Budgies mask symptoms when they are ill. Symptoms may not show up for over two weeks.
Often you will not even realize your bird is not well. Many budgie illnesses are airborne which is why you need to quarantine your new bird in a completely different room.

It is also a good idea to always take a new budgie in to see an Avian Vet for a "well-birdie" check-up. This allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet and the vet can establish a baseline for your bird in case of any future illnesses or injuries.

Distinction between an Avian Vet and a Vet that "Will See Birds"


2. Introducing the new bird to the current bird

https://talkbudgies.com/new-budgie-ar...o-budgies.html


3. Flock Dynamics

https://talkbudgies.com/articles-gene...en-flocks.html


4. Where do you plan to get the new bird?

https://talkbudgies.com/articles-buyi...pet-store.html


5. Vet Expense and Housing

Do you have the time, finances, etc to devote to another bird?

Are you ready, willing and able to house the new budgie separately on a permanent basis if it does not get along with your current bird after quarantine?

https://talkbudgies.com/general-budgi...e-expense.html
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:18 PM
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Thanks for the merge FaeryBee!

Are the budgie and cockatiel still being housed separately or did you end up putting them together in one cage?

They have a cage each but get very upset if I keep them separate. Then my budgie actually figured out how to open his food dish door and squeeze out to be with the cockatiel, so now I have to switch their cages if I want to keep them locked out from each other. That will be a process since they are kind of attached. So right now they can choose to sleep in the same cage or different cages. When I do training I do lock them in so I can train one at a time. They have to be within sight of each other though otherwise they'll spend days calling for the other. And their "tear-filled" reunions make me feel like a monster for separating them.

How much time do you spend on a daily basis interacting one-on-one with your budgie?
Between a half hour (15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at night) two 2 hours of focus time. Then I also have a perch by my computer and bed so if I'm doing something else I can be super responsive to them (tip I got from how to teach babies to talk).

Do you sit with the budgie, read to him and play with him every day?

I can't really "play" with him anymore, which is one problem. He used to be very interactive but now will only interact for millet. And where before doing tricks he seemed excited now he just seems robotic about it. I try to play with his toys with him like we used to (bell, spinning wheel, etc) but he just stares like "When will you go away..." I try to talk to him in budgie sounds like I used to with him and my previous budgies but he'd rather talk to his perch than me. I just learned about the idea of reading to him, currently we listen to LotR as an audiobook together which obviously is not the same. He used to be into playing with my finger or making art on my phone's touch-app but those things are way beyond where we are at right now. I do get bored relatively quickly when we are hanging out and not training because he just sits there. So I guess in some ways I'm reinforcing the idea that our relationship is one of step-up/touch & treat, not friendship.

You indicate that perhaps your budgie will not "be sad when you take the cockatiel places"
Does that mean you are spending your time with the cockatiel and basically the budgie is on his own?

Not currently but I used to take my budgie places all the time in my $300 birdie backpack. He liked talking to the outside birds at parks and thing, and we got to spend more time together. It is too small for a cockatiel and budgie to ride in together. So that thought was along the lines of if I have 2 budgies, they would stay home and I'd get some one-on-one time with the 'tiel at least, taking him to work or whatever. That's all way down the line though considering right now neither bird likes the bird backpack anymore.

In another sentence you indicate you like budgies better than cockatiels so I'm rather confused about how you actually feel about your current birds since a couple of months ago you were talking about rehoming one of them. (?)

I go through phases of loving them so hard that I will do anything to make this work and phases of wanting to give up because it feels like a one-sided relationship (I'm sure that's what they said when I was in grad school, except they couldn't elect to move out) and I feel like maybe they WOULD be better off with someone else. After all, its my fault we are even in this place we're in now (although I have made drastic changes to my life in the last month to combat my workaholic tendencies). Also, their species and individuals, and I have mixed feelings about both.
- Budgies are the perfect bird for me, their care needs are right up my alley and I enjoy all aspects of them. There is sometimes a longing though for the deeper relationship and more variety of play people seem to have with larger parrots
- My budgie) was a smart friendly bird and I recognize that due to my neglect, he is now quite wild and wants nothing to do with me. I feel guilt, shame, and nolstalgia every time I look at him.
- Cockatiels are cool because they are a little different then budgies but still manageable. Their feather dust, poop, and volume is a little more than I care for but I hope with systems in place those negatives can be mitigated and looked over due to all their positives.
- My cockatiel is a great bird considering all he's been through (as a rescue) and he never bites, he gets along with my budgie well enough, and he like cuddles. When he doesn't get along with my budgie, or hisses at our ears while cuddling, or calls across the room loudly, or poops where I didn't forsee, or panics at the slightest disturbance, then I start feeling like keeping this supposed foster-situation going was a mistake.

What specific outcome are you trying to achieve by getting another budgie?
My budgie to be more budgie-like, chattering endlessly and beak-tapping and playing with toys and being goofy. I want him to have vitality in his being that comes from same-species dynamics, not this half-hearted bond he has with the cockatiel. I admit also some part of me things it would be nice to have a second chance, both in working with a budgie from scratch and in having the two-budgie dynamic I intended on before getting the cockatiel. On the flip side, I have dreams sometimes of taking my budgie everywhere again, which would be easier with just 1 budgie (although then the cockatiel is stuck home alone...).

Anytime you add or remove a bird the flock dynamics will change.
There is no guarantee that the new budgie and the current budgie will bond and get along well. If that happens, are you able and willing to house the birds in three separate cages on a permanent basis?

Given how easily my budgie took to the cockatiel I don't think that will be an issue. Compared to other budgies I've known well, my budgie is not territorial and gets along well. That said my hope was to foster parakeets (with quarantine and all that) and if my budgie gets along with the foster parakeet, then adopt it.

Also I think I read all those other article (I read about birds for hours sometimes after they've gone to bed) but I really liked the one on flock dynamics and I somehow missed it before!

The weird thing is not a lot of people talk about what its like to have one cockatiel and two budgies, though I'm sure its not THAT unique of a situation.

It definitely goes from a pair of birds to a flock though >.<

Oh also I was hoping that since my budgie would have a budgie friend to mess around with it would be like having two dogs who romp together and thus leave the cat alone.

Last edited by FaeryBee; 12-30-2017 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:27 AM
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Thank you for clarifying the matter and helping me understand your thinking on the current dilemma!

I wish there as an "easy" answer to your current problems but I just can't find one.

IF you get another budgie and the two of them bond, that would be great but...
I still see the problem of the fact that the cockatiel and current budgie seem to have bonded.
I'm not sure how that will work out with three birds as one is almost certainly bound to be left out.
Whether that would prove to be the cockatiel or the budgie is hard to say.

We have a member who has cockatiels and budgies and also fosters budgies.
I'm going to bring this thread to her attention and ask that she weigh in with her opinions on the matter.
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