Hi! Me again!
So my bird, who I've just recently renamed Archie, is quite happy to step-up onto my finger as long as there's a big piece of millet in his eye line that I'll give him the second he steps up. Even if I'm holding the millet right in front of him, if he can't see it, he won't do it. And the second he's finished, he'll hop back onto his perch. And also, if he's anywhere outside his cage, he'll refuse, even if I have a treat.
I'm not a pro at budgie taming, and he's only been stepping up for a few days, maybe two or three. But is he ever going to be happy stepping up without a treat?
I don't know how to make him feel comfortable enough on my hands to want to step-up or be on me unless he's eating some good ol' millet. I'm trying to bond with him so he'll be happier around me, but he doesn't seem to like me. What am I doing wrong?
You are not doing anything "wrong" except for having expectations that are much too high.
It takes a great deal of time and patience to tame and bond with a budgie and you've barely started!
When Archie learns to trust you more (this may take several weeks or so) then he will be more confident about stepping up without a treat.
You should never grab your budgie or force him to be touched.
To bond with your budgie, you need to build his TRUST in you.
Archie will have to learn over time that you will not hurt him, grab him and try to force him to allow you to hold him.
You will need to learn to read your budgie's signals to know when he is receptive to being with you and when he prefers to be alone and respect those boundaries.
Bonding is allowing your budgie to CHOOSE to be with you because that is what he wants to do.
In the meantime, keep using positive reinforcement training with him and adjust your expectations on how quickly things should happen.
Right now, Archie is still somewhat afraid of you and the positive reinforcement (treat of millet) is what you are using to help him move past that fear.
At this point I'd say that you're doing everything right and need to be patient. You're doing taming and that's going fine. Bonding is when your budgie sees you as another budgie and wants to be close to you. Bonding will show when he comes close to you (without millet in hand) whenever he sees you. You can encourage bonding but it's his choice. Is he with another budgie?...if so, you may never see the same extent of bonding because he can relate to another real bird. If he's alone with just you, you'll just have be patient and you'll see signs of him liking to be with you, without the food. If/when he bonds, and you bring another bird into the picture,he will still relate to you but often not as much. If you haven't had him very long, I'd expect he'll come around. Patience and routine is the key. You're on the correct path. Good luck.