How to bond with my budgie
I have a situation and i dont know how to go about it.
My female budgie was hand fed, she is currently about 8 months. She is completely tame, always has been.
The problem is that she doesn't like to spend time with me. I dont know what to do. She will only come to me if i have food, and even then she won't always come. As soon as shes done eating she is fly or hop back to her cage.
I had two budgies before her. The first was a petstore budgie but I tamed her very quickly and she liked me. She would step up willingly, sit on my shoulder, and just enjoy sitting by me. She also liked to come over to me intentionally, sometimes she flew to me, and liked to sit on my shoulder and nibble on my hair (and destroy my clothes lol). I had a great relationship with her.
My second budgie (which i had at the same time as her) was a handfed male that was obsessed with people from the start (in a good way). I didn't have to tame him. He was the friendliest bird in the world. He always flew onto my head and loved to sit with me. He liked to fly out of his cage and sit by me while i was trying to nap. He hated it when i would leave him, and would keep flying back to me until i would have to force him into his cage. Even then he wouldnt get mad but would keep trying to come back to me. He learned to mimick some stuff and loved when i gave him kisses. He was an awesome bird.
But my first two passed away and i miss them terribly. I bought another girl 6 months ago and made sure she was handfed because I wanted her to like people. She cost me 18x more money than my first two because she is english, handfed, and i had her shipped. I waited very long to make sure i had the perfect budgie.
But I cant help but feel disappointed. It took a week for her to get used to me. After she was used to me, she let me give her head scratches which i was overjoyed about. She followed my boy around so it was all good.
But then my boy passed away a few weeks after buying her.
I always play with her and spend time with her. She learned tricks very quickly. She isnt scared of me at all, but i dont think she likes me either. We can have training sessions and she'll be crawling around me to do tricks and get treats, but as soon as we're done, shes leaves. She also stopped letting me give her head scratches.
Sometimes she'll be sitting on top of a cage relaxing but as soon as i stand up (across the room) she steps away and moves to the back of the cage, even if im not trying to touch her. Or if i do get to hold her, she turns her back to me. She wont ever step up willingly. It is such an opposite to my other birds. All I had to do was show them my hand and they loved to hop on, but this one runs away when she sees my hand, unless i have a treat, and I dont even know why. I dont do anything to scare her, i provide her with treats. I am not a newbie at taming birds and pets and i am extremely well and reading bird body language. I just dont understand why she doesnt like me.
What can i do to bond with her? She isn't afraid of people but simply doesnt enjoy being with me.
Quite honestly it hurts on an emotional level because my other two budgies were like my best friends. They loved me when i was sad and tried, and when i was happy. They liked to sit on my shoulder while i did homework. But this girl doesn't like to be with me at all. I lost my boy in december and getting over the loss is extremely difficult. Having this girl not like me makes it so much more difficult.
I am probably going to buy another English budgie in a few months, but it wont be handfed and will be closer to 4 months old. Im scared that he might influence her to become even less friendly. With my first two, they influenced each other to be friendlier, but im scared the opposite might happen here.
I just want to love her and have her love me back. But it isnt happening
What can i do?
Budgies each have unique personalities just like people and any other animal. It's great that you had budgies in the past that enjoyed being with you but you have to accept the fact that not all budgies are like that.
I have several budgies and each of them has his/her own personality and unique likes and dislikes.
Just because your bird doesn't want to sit on you or interact in the way you want her to doesn't mean she "dislikes" you.
It simply means you, as her human, must accept her as she is and interact with her on her terms.
There is a possibility that over time, she may come to be more accepting of you but it has to be her choice. You can try playing with some of her toys on a playground area and see if you can interest her in interacting in that way. If it doesn't happen, then try to learn to enjoy her company just by enjoying who she is as a unique little budgie.
You know how people have different love languages? Do you think parrots could have that too?
If they do, what other ways do they like to be loved? I've had success with my other budgies with treats, one on one time (which included talking, letting them sit on my head and shoulders, and letting them crawl and chew on my clothes), and kisses. But none of those really work for this girl. She enjoys treats but isnt motivated my them. My previous two would go nuts for seeds and millet but this girl doesn't care. Sometimes ill put millet in front of her and she will completely ignore it.
She likes to chew stuff so ive had some success playing with toilet paper with her (to chew on). But again, that depends on her mood.
She does have interest sometimes when i try to feed her fresh/new foods. She will try to eat them from my hand inside the cage but its the same story where as soon as the food is gone, so is she.
I just really want to learn how she wants to be loved. I originally bought her because i knew my male would be much happier with another bird. My first female passed away and the boy lived alone for a year. We bonded a LOT over that year, but I decided to get another girl for him anyways. It was a tough decision for me but i got her anyways, and was devastated when my boy died just a few weeks later. I was completely expecting him to outlive this girl because he was a standard budgie and she is an english.
Every time i watch her play alone or turn away from me im always reminded of my boy because he would have never done that, and thats why it hurts so much.
I understand every pet has its own personality, and i guess whatever future pets i get might be better for me to get as adults so i know what to expect. But since she is different, I just want to know what else i can do to at least try bonding with her.
I was really happy at first that she let me give her head scratches, but now she never lets, ever since she went through a heavy molt.
She just finally willingly sat on my hand but it was because she wanted to chew on my fingers really hard
Instead of trying to get her to sit on your hand, try simply sitting by her cage and talk, sing and read to her. Leave her cage door open so she has the option of coming out if she chooses to do so when you are doing this.
Try playing the "blinking game" with her. When she's looking at you, blink your eyes slowly and see if she will mimic you. Do this several times in a row.
I had a couple of budgies that loved to come over to the bars while they were inside the cage and I was outside the cage and then would sit and cock their heads, chirp and interact in that manner. One budgie loved to preen my hair when I would lean my head over near the cage where he could reach it.
Play different types of music and see if she reacts more strongly to one type than another. She might enjoy being near you and listening to the music while you talk with her.
Does she have a favorite toy? Play with the toy and make excited noises while you do so. She may want to come and join in the fun.
My boy Sweetie is always on me and needs that sort of interaction. He's always been that way.
My girl Lemon, oh boy, she was a firecracker. It took her a full year before she truly warmed up to me and would come out to play with me specifically, and even then it was always on her own terms. My husband always called her 'Little Miss Tough Stuff, a fierce independent bird that didn't need no human'. I got her when she was all of 3 months old and had her her entire five years. She was the same the entire time.
Some birds need a long time. Some birds are content doing their own thing. It sounds like your girl is just an independent one. It might be worth it to come up with some fun foraging games or something that you set up in front of her and sit with her while she works them out, and chat with her while you do. It'll make her feel included but not pressured.
I want to post an update. Basically, I completely gave up on trying to play with her. I just worked on standing and sitting by her and the only time I ever tried to pick her up was if I had to put her back in the cage, so I always used millet. Today, she is way better with me than she was when I posted this question. She now recognizes my hand as a 'tool' to get to places she wants to (a very good thing). Whenever I open the cage she'll always hop onto my hand to get out too. I've been working on getting her to stop biting my hands whenever she sits on them and it's working. She still does lightly sometimes but nothing like at first (she would literally make me bleed for no good reason. It wasn't an aggressive bite but just of 'i want to chew on your hand cuz I feel like it' type of bite). She still doesn't like to 'hang out' with me by sitting on my hands or shoulder, but she does enjoy climbing on me sometimes to chew on my clothes or hair. Sometimes she even flies to me now when I don't expect it, but she still doesn't stay for long. But it's nice to see that she actually wants to be by me now. There are moments when I'm leaving the room and she starts to chirp and fly around just like my previous boy did when he didn't want me to leave.
So overall, things are getting better. I guess I just had to back off and let her choose what she wanted to do. I think she'll get more social in the future too.
Since she isn't as social with me as my other budgies, I'll be getting another budgie for her. I didn't want to at first, and I know some budgies are fine with being alone, but I can tell she will be happier with another bird. I might even have the opportunity to handfeed a budgie (I'm not sure if I will though) but I'm hoping the next budgie I have will be a very social one. With my previous two, they helped each other become social so I'm hoping the same thing will happen here.
Glad to hear you are letting her choose the level of interaction with you and are now taking things at her pace.
For all members:
There are many things to take into consideration before getting another bird.
Do you really want another pet?
1. If you decide to get another budgie in the future, please be sure to observe quarantine for the new budgie.
Quarantine means housing the new bird in a different cage in a different room than the current bird (as far away from the room the current bird is in as possible) for a period of 35-45 days.
Budgies mask symptoms when they are ill. Symptoms may not show up for over two weeks.
Often you will not even realize your bird is not well. Many budgie illnesses are airborne which is why you need to quarantine your new bird in a completely different room.
It is also a good idea to always take a new budgie in to see an Avian Vet for a "well-birdie" check-up. This allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet and the vet can establish a baseline for your bird in case of any future illnesses or injuries.
If there are no Avian Vets in your area, then finding an Exotic Pet Veterinarian who has experience in dealing with small birds is the next best option.
2. Introducing the new bird to the current bird
Introducing two birds
3. Flock Dynamics
Your Harmonious Flock
4. Where do you plan to get the new bird?
Why buy from an reputable breeder rather than a big box pet store
5. Vet Expense and Housing
Do you have the time, finances, etc to devote to another bird?
Are you ready, willing and able to house the new budgie separately on a permanent basis if it does not get along with your current bird after quarantine?
Be Prepared for Veterinary Care Expense
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