I got a male budgie about a couple of weeks ago (he's probably about 4-5 months old). I have been trying to tame him. The first day I left him alone, besides maintenance and occassional talking. Then I started putting my hand in the cage, without touching. Then I introduced millet. He finally got to the point where he would eat out of my hand, but only if my hand was as far away as possible and the millet was held right in front of his mouth. I still saw this as success until, recently, he started getting scared again. Now, in the mornings, he'll eat from my hand once, gets scared, and flies away. He won't trust me for the rest of the day. This recent trend has been going on for a few days. Any suggestions or things I might be doing wrong?
P.S. His name is Davis
I realize it may be an important detail to share that he is very inactive. He eats regularly, stands on one leg and preens himself. He's even played with a toy once. But he has a corner of the cage that he spends all of his time. He only leaves to eat, drink, or get away from me. This seems unusual to me since I've had him for 2 weeks by now, but maybe that's normal. I don't know.
The problem you are having with Davis is that you've "rushed" the process.
Let's go back and start over from the very beginning when you bought him and work on the taming and bonding process very *slowly* in the time frames recommended below.
Davis needs a minimum of two weeks to settle into his new home and you should not be trying to touch or tame him at this time.
Budgies are often submissive initially because they are terrified.
You can cover the top and three sides of the cage to help Davis feel more secure. Play music or the TV for him when you are not around during the day. Budgies perceive complete quiet during daylight hours as being a sign of danger.
Taming and Bonding is all about helping your budgie learn to trust you and it takes a great deal of time and patience on your part.
You should never grab Davis or force him to be touched.
To bond with your budgie, you need to build his trust in you.
He 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.
To build your Davis' trust, sit by his cage and read, talk or sing quietly to him for a period of at least 10-15 minutes, 3 or 4 times day. After the 2nd or 3rd day, rest your hand on the outside of the cage when you talk to him so he'll learn that your hand is safe and will not hurt him .
After a week, rest your hand inside the cage when you talk.
Don’t make sudden moves, and *don’t* try to touch him.
Let him get used to the idea that the hand is now in his safe place and not harming him .
After a week of resting your hand inside the cage without moving and without touching Davis, you can then begin moving your hand slowly toward him. If he becomes agitated, stop moving your hand and just hold very still until he calms down. When he's comfortable with your hand near him, you can offer him a bit of millet or a few seeds.
At this point, I would suggest you place the millet or seeds on your open palm and allow Davis to determine if he chooses to come over to explore your hand and get the seed.
Always work at your budgie's pace.
Move slowly and talk reassuringly and calmly whenever you interact with him .
Most budgies once they pass the "baby" stage, do not like to be petted or touched.
If your budgie does like to be petted once he's comfortable with you, you should only ever pet his head, neck or chest area.
Stroking a budgie's back and/or tail stimulates its breeding instinct.
Bonding with a budgie means allowing them to choose to be with you.
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Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.
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Spot on advice from Deborah. Just slow way down. Davis need to bond with you before he can become as relaxed as you're expecting, this will or will not happen if you're not acting at his pace. You're just at stage one.
You've been given great advice above. It's important you start over completely--gaining trust can't be rushed.
After a few weeks, Davis should be more comfortable than he is now.
Meanwhile, you've come to a great place to learn even more about budgies. Be sure to read through the links provided above by FaeryBee as they will help you to stay updated on the very best of budgie care practices!
If you have any questions after reading through everything, be sure to ask as we'd love to help.
We hope to see you around!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
You’ve been given the best advice for your progress with Davis. Remember, birds are “prey” animals, and have a natural instinct to escape a predator. Even domestically raised budgies that we take into our home environment, still have this instinct. It takes time for them to trust. It’s not anywhere near as simple and quick as getting a predatory animal such as a dog or cat to trust us. It might surprise you how slowly birds make progress, especially when they’re wild. Little by little, you’ll get there.
If you haven’t already, please take a look at the Stickies and Articles here on the forum. We have lots of tips and current information that you’ll find helpful.
Update: I have tried following the advice brought up here. The day after I made this original post, I began leaving him alone. I left him in his cage, only interacting with him to feed him and cover up his cage. I did this for 3 days before starting to just rest my hand on the outside of his cage, while still never opening the cage. I have been doing this for about a week and a half now. He seems slightly more comfortable, like he was before I started putting my hand in the cage, however, he hasn't made any progress. He is still rather scared of me when I get close, but, when he retreats to a further perch, he becomes more confident. After this much time, is it normal for him to still be this wary? I assume it is normal, however, after a certain point, I imagine it is natural to suspect that maybe I'm doing something wrong.
Yes, this is normal. You're doing all the right things! It will take several weeks or even up to a month or more before your little one is comfortable putting your hand outside the cage. Remember, even though it's hard to be patient, he's not going to be okay with your hand in the cage if he's not okay with it out of the cage first
Keep going in order and eventually your little guy will start to trust you more and more.
Good work so far!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic