Hi everyone, first of all my apologies if I'm doing this wrong as this is my first post on this site.
I purchased a young female budgie just over 2wks ago which I have named Skye, and would love to hand train her.
I wanted to make sure I'm using the correct technique to minimise stress for her and yield the best results as I have much more experience training/handling dogs than birds (I have owned budgies before but never hand tame ones).
I'll try not to make this too wordy, haha.
Basically I started by just sitting by the cage browsing the internet or reading, and occasionally whistling to her. She is comfortable with this now and will whistle to me consistently and move around the cage freely (even eat seed) with me sitting beside her.
Then I had my hand outside the cage while talking to her, same result.
So I have been putting my hand in the cage slowly while holding a small piece of food (millet or various fruits/veg) and holding it as still as possible for a few minutes and then retreating. After a few days she would move around my arm/hand, whistle, preen and eat with it there as long as it stayed still. She never touched my hand or the treat though.
Now I have started to place my hand in and then slowly move it toward her (stopping every cm or so, or if she looks startled or like she might run/fly away - once she calms I retreat). She has brushed against my hand a couple of times but still has no interest in the food rewards.
After a few more days I stopped using food and just placed my hand (with finger extended) in the cage instead, and immediately she was a bit more comfortable with it. I even managed to get her to step up (briefly) a day later.
Since then she seems less trusting of my hand though (even though it took only a little encouragement for her to perch on me once I got it close enough). She didn't seem startled/overwhelmed at the time.
Did I do something wrong? I feel like I might be moving too fast for her?
Should I be keeping my hand perfectly still and not approach her at all?
How can I reward her when she won't accept food from me? (I have been trying to use removing my hand as a type of reward but not sure if it's working).
Why is she more comfortable with my hand if it doesn't have food?
- Side Note -
I have not let her out of the cage, or tried to take her out yet as I would like her to comfortably sit on my finger first so that I can get her back in.
Also her cage is in the lounge/family room as this is where I spent the most time when I am home, and I can only allow her to be outside the cage in my bedroom so that I can close the door to keep her safe from my indoor dogs (I would be in the bedroom with her the entire time).
Any answers to the above questions or advice is appreciated.
I want Skye to spend time with me voluntarily; because she enjoys it and hope that I'm going about it the right way.