I got a pair of budgies from an owner who no longer wanted them about 6 or 7 months ago. I have tried every little step any budgie pro has to offer in these six months, with absolutely zero progress. If I come within their line of vision, they flatten their feathers, stop chirping, and shake. I can’t clean their cage or change their food without them freaking out completely and smacking into the cage walls. My fiancé was bit when trying to change their stuff out before. We spent the first couple of months doing the bare minimum of bonding, as in NO touching the cage (besides necessary actions) and only talking to them softly. We tried putting our hand in and we would do this for about thirty minutes three times a day for those months. They never once stopped shaking and freaking out by the end. They eat normal, love each other’s company, but never play with any toy we have put in the cage. They ignore it, playing with each other and when they get bored they start fighting. I tried separating them, but they spent day and night trying to bite through the bars to get out to the other one. They fight awful sometimes, never any blood or injuries, but it’s sad to hear and watch. Breaking them up only scares them more and furthers the “we can’t trust this person” process. This lead to having to put them back together, because one got their head stuck in the bars and we had to get rid of the cage (we didn’t think her head would fit in them but now we know). Since we are always in the room, they are always unhappy and after six/seven months, they haven’t gotten used to us at all. We feel like failures of bird owners, but our cockatiel loves us and showed we aren’t. So I’m completely lost on what to do. I have considered putting them in a room we aren’t always in, so they don’t have to be around us all the time and terrified, and come to clean their cage and talk to them in short sessions. But that truly feels like neglecting them.. even if keeping them scared in our room is just the same as neglecting. I could use any help I can get. I have spent many hours just boohooing over these birds being so unhappy, because I have such a big heart and can feel their pain. We have no one that would take them in, and no bird rescues anywhere close to us. So we do have to keep them. I never wanted to get rid of them anyways, but I understand that’s selfish. They are stuck in our care for a long time, until I can find a suitable place for them (if my only option left is to give them to someone else).
Is there any way at all that I can enrich their lives without causing them to panic at the sight of me? Their previous owner never made any progress either, because of their shy/scared personalities. She said she bought them at PetSmart (which was a red flag because they don’t do any hand training but if I didn’t take them, she said she was going to release them in the wild which they would never survive it here in Virginia.)
First, thank you for taking in the two budgies.
I find it hard to fathom that the previous owner would even consider releasing the poor little things into the wild in VA.
How big is the cage you have the birds in?
Do you have any idea how old they actually are -- did the previous owner indicate how long she had them?
Is there cage in a corner of the room where they feel as if they have some "protection"?
Have you tried covering the top and three sides of the cage so they feel a bit more secure?
Unfortunately, when an animal is a traumatized as your two birds seem to be, there isn't much you can do except try to acclimate them to your presence bit by bit (and I realize you've been trying to do that).
You could also contact VA Wildlife Rescue Organizations and ask for tips. Wildlife Rescuers often have to deal with animals that have been severely traumatized and may be able to offer methods that could help in your specific case.
I wish you all the best with your little ones.
Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
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.
When you upload pictures as attachments directly from your computer, tablet or phone, the forum automatically defaults to landscape. Additionally, the picture appears as what we term a “thumbnail” attachment.
Do you have the option of an aviary or revoking them to an aviary as this is likely the best option for them.
Failing that if you have a spare room get a really nice big cage for them and let them spend their time in there. If you can get another 2 for more company. Genders will depend on what you have currently but males get on better. Just make sure there are no breeding opportunities for them.
Plenty of toys as they likely will play with them when you aren't around and then plenty of fresh foods.
They do not sound like the type of birds that will ever be happy in a pet situation.
Thank you for taking these two in and trying your best. As stated in the post above, not all budgies are good candidates to be handleable “pets” and companion animals. Birds in general are not always tamable to the degree that owners would like. It can of course depend on past experiences, but a lot of it has to do with individual personalities too.
As mentioned, an aviary setting would be great for these budgies.
I'm so sorry for everyone in this situation. Thank you for trying your very best!
Perhaps you could share some photos of their cage and the set up of the space their cage is in and whatnot and maybe we can give some suggestions to make their lives a little less stressful that way?
Thank you for rescuing these two little ones and trying your best for them
I'm sorry to hear how traumatized their previous owner made them. I agree that you're doing everything you can and that at this point they may be happier in an aviary where they can just be with other birds.
You've been given great advice. Please let us know how things go with them I'm hoping for the best outcome for everyone involved!
Meanwhile, be sure to read through the links above to stay updated on the best budgie care practices. If you have any questions after doing so, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help.
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic