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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 01-30-2019, 04:00 PM
Vella (Monica)
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Default I've been having a couple problems with bonding

I've had my budgies for a month now and I've been talking to them every day and recently spending a good amount of time reading to them. For the past week, I've been trying to earn their trust by sticking my hand in the cage and leaving it there and with food but Skittles will jump from corner to corner to get away and then hide under her food bowl, and Kiwi will check it out but ultimately wants nothing to do with me. I'm not sure if I'm going to fast with this or if they'll just take longer to get used to me. I know it does take a while but I feel bad that they stay in a cage all day and I want to let them out to fly around and get some exercise but at this point, I wouldn't be able to get them back in the cage. My uncle says to just let them out and they'll return for food but I really don't think that's a good idea. It's not entirely related to the topic of bonding, but I've also not been able to get them to eat anything but seeds. I've tried offering fruit as a treat but again they don't want to touch it, I can't even get them to eat it out of their bowl.
So right not I'm just at a loss because I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, most of what I've read says pretty similar things. To give them a week to warm up to their surroundings, talk to them frequently and spend time around them, and to offer food.

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Old 01-31-2019, 02:29 PM
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It takes time for budgies to learn to trust you.
Are you overfeeding your budgies seed?
Each bird should get 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of seed per day. I recommend splitting their seed ration into two portions and giving 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 in the evening.

How big is the cage the budgies are in currently?
Length x Width x Height?

Do you have a room that you can bird-proof completely?
If so, then you could provide Skittles and Kiwi out-of cage time there as long as you have the time to supervise them and not be in a hurry to get them back into their cage the first few times.

I have untamed budgies that go back in their cage because I've used positive reinforcement training to teach them they will get a reward when they do so.

Initially, when I was ready for them to go back in the cage I would first dim the lights and pull down the shades in the room. If the radio or TV was on, I turned it off.

Then I would stand by their cage and ringing the bell on one of their toys while telling them, "It's time to go in your cage now!"

Once they went back into the cage, they were given a small bit of millet.

This method worked well and they now go in the cage when asked to do so without the lights being dimmed or the blinds lowered and the TV or radio can stay on.

It can take several weeks (or even months) for budgies to decide to try a new food.
Fruit is high in sugar content so vegetables are actually healthier for your budgies with fruits given only occasionally (once or twice a week)

Healthy Diet for your Budgies

Please take the time to read the Budgie Articles and the Stickies posted at the top of each section of the forum.
Most basic questions have been answered there.

You will find many different tips with regard to presenting vegetables and encouraging your budgies to try new foods in the Diet and Nutrition section of the forum.
The first vegetable which my budgies that had not been weaned to vegetables tried (and loved) was sweet corn kernels sprinkled with a teeny bit of garlic powder (NOT salt).

Budgies seem to love "spicy" tastes.
They also adored fresh basil, cilantro, dill, chickweed, zucchini and red pepper.

Diet and Nutrition - Talk Budgies Forums

Using Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother)
as a natural pro-biotic is very beneficial to your budgies:

Apple Cider Vinegar

I use Volkman Avian Science Super Seed Mix for my birds.

When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day.
This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well.
This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source.
It worked for my all of budgies and lovebirds!

Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized (XS) Zupreem fruity pellets.
Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them.
Once they've become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.

Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together.

My birds have Zupreem Fruity Pellets, RoudyBush Mini Natural Pellets, Dried Herb Salad and Miracle Meal available at all times.
(Yep - I have a lot of food dishes! )

Their seed is rationed to approximately 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day.
I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean packing paper on the bottom grate of the cages.
I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds.
I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled paper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.

With a healthy diet, you should not need any vitamins or supplements.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:35 PM
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In taming it's most important to take time with them getting used to you and especially your hand. Additionally, you've really only had them a short time and just slowing up and following the stickies suggestions will help. Just a hand not moving, outside of cage then a hand not moving inside the cage, later hand slowly moving but not trying anything to make contact, and finally contact and later stepping up. If you do this by stages it should go much better for you. Just slow down, because your two, are individuals and with them together, the fear exhibited by one can rub off on the other (and tameness of one can be helpful for the other). Stop whenever you get a negative response and go back a step.
Just don't give up.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:39 PM
Vella (Monica)
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I've been feeding them ZuPreem Smart Selects which I found at Petco and has bits of dried fruit in it since I haven't been able to get them to eat fresh fruits :/ so I've been giving them that in a bowl which I think is about 3 tbs and I try to keep it filled to the top because it's pretty deep. So far I've offered them chopped up carrots, cucumber, strawberries, apple, blueberries, and apples.

I'm saving up some money for a bigger cage, but I'm not sure how big my current one is, I think the bottom is about 15 in x 15 in which I now know is not big enough ( I read it should be about 30 in) and about 17 in high. I do want to get one that will have enough room for both of them to live in with room to fly around. But I do have an office room I can let them out in and completely bird- proof since there's only 1 lamp that I can move out and my mom doesn't leave her laptop charger or anything in there.
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:32 PM
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Try giving them a piece of romaine lettuce, the darker leaves are the best, start with a smaller piece as the entire leaf may be frightening to them at first, clip it to the cage bars and see if they show any interest, you may have to do this day after day until they decide to try a bite. It's good that you are planning on a larger cage, as you have mentioned your current cage is too small. I would cutback a bit on the seeds, as FaeryBee has indicated about 2 teaspoons a day of seed per bird is enough. Your current cage is probably not large enough for multiple food dishes but once you have more space it would be good to have 2 separate food dishes or more if you plan on feeding pellets separately.
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Old 01-31-2019, 09:15 PM
Vella (Monica)
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I forgot to mention they are in separate cages so they do have their own spaces. But yeah I will give that a try. I think I'll place something at the bottom of the bowl to keep it level with the top since it is pretty deep. The cages I have, have a food and water bowl, but until I can afford a big cage I'll look for some water dispensers and fill the other bowl with veggies so they can still have their water and it won't take up so much space.
As for bonding and taming, most of my experience is with dogs and bunnies so I'm used to letting them run around and I felt bad that until Kiwi and Skittles are tamed enough they'll be stuck in a cage. I feel like I might have been moving too fast with them Since one of them is scared and hides do you think it would be a good idea to start over with the process, or would that cause problems with continuing in the future because of inconsistency?

Also, thank you every one for the advice, I really appreciate it!

Last edited by Vella; 01-31-2019 at 09:29 PM. Reason: Posted before finishing
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:45 PM
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The food does not need to be level with the top of the food bowl at all. Budgies can easily lean down into the bowl to eat.

Additionally, if you change the paper on top of the bottom grate both morning and evening, you can easily spread the ration of seed on the paper in the cage to allow the birds to forage.

Starting over from the beginning with your taming will not be a problem at all.

To bond with your birds, you need to build their trust in you.
They will have to learn over time that you will not hurt them.

To build your birdsí trust, sit by their cage and read, talk or sing quietly to them for a period of at least 10-15 minutes, 3 or 4 times day. After about a week, rest your hand on the outside of the cage when you talk to them so they will learn that your hand is safe and will not hurt them.

After a week of resting your hand on the outside of the cage, rest your hand inside the cage when you talk.
Donít make sudden moves, donít try to touch them.
Let their get used to the idea that the hand is now in their safe place and not harming them.

After 2 weeks, begin moving your hand slowly toward your bird. If they become agitated, stop moving your hand and just hold very still until they calm down. When they are comfortable with your hand near them, you can offer them a bit of millet or a few seeds.

Always work at your birdsí pace.
Move slowly and talk reassuringly and calmly to their whenever you interact with them.
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