Taming an aggressive budgie and two "wild" budgies
Hi everyone! :001_smile: I hope you all are doing well during this difficult time.
I'm back after more than three months.
I'll do a recap for those of you who don't know me or don't remember my budgies and my relationship with them.
I have a flock of three birds: Sid, Stella and Celeste.
Celeste is a one-year-old female budgie, and she is Sid and Stella's daughter. She has been living in a different cage, but in the same room as them, for almost a year, because her parents (especially her mother) became aggressive toward her as soon as she was weaned.
At first, last summer, I was able to gain Celeste's trust, to the point that she would tilt her head to get head scratches from me, she would try to give head scratches and regurgitate seeds to me, and even learn some tricks (nodding and shaking her head as if she was saying "yes" or "no", fetching a ball and putting in a hoop).
The only thing she refused to do was to step on my finger/hand, but I think that was because she has deformed feet (slip claws) and cannot fly, so she probably didn't feel safe, as she couldn't take a firm grip and could fall.
Sadly, when school started and she had to spend several hours alone every day, she became aggressive, biting my hands every time I tried to touch her and not wanting to be with us. We lost our bond, now she makes that sound that means she is irritated (I don't know what to call it) even when I'm near her and not trying to touch her. My presence annoys her. :sad:
I don't know what to do, because all the guides about taming a budgie explain how to treat a budgie who doesn't want to be around you because she is afraid of you. This is not my situation, as Celeste knows that I'm not a threat, but she still "hates" me.
The only company she has is her toy bell (she sings to it, tries to scratch her head inside it and to regurgitate seeds to it), and while I think it might help her feel less lonely, I'm afraid it is not so good for her mental health.
Do you have any suggestions on how to treat her?
Paradoxically, my relationship with her parents, Sid and Stella, is better. A couple of days ago, I found out that they like to get out of their cage and stay on the top of it, and I'm surprised.
It's been a long time since I tried to gain Sid's trust, and I never attempted to properly tame Stella, as I wanted to have a good relationship with one of their chicks and I was okay with them being "wild".
Now I see that they are less afraid of me than I thought, and I don't want to waste this opportunity. They trust me enough to eat millet from my hand when they are out of their cage, and Sid even jumps on my hand to eat.
In this case, I know what to do. I will follow all the tips and advices in the taming guides in this website, I know it will require a lot of time and patience, especially since they are both adults, but I still want to try. I will do it very slowly and won't force them to do something they're not ready for.
I'd be happy to get some suggestion from you about taming older budgies, if you have any.
Where I live (Italy), schools are closed and won't most likely reopen until the next school year, so I have more time to devote to my budgies, and I think this is the best moment to try to tame them.
Thanks in advance! :001_smile:
Taming older budgies is the same as taming the younger ones so since you are aware of the stickies in the Taming and Bonding Section, you'll know how to follow those and work with Sid and Stella.
With regard to Celeste, I'd just recommend that you simply try to spend time next to her cage every day on a regular basis. Even if she makes her "irritated" noise at you, stay there and calmly sing, talk or read to her. Over time, she'll become re accustomed to your presence and will be more accepting toward you again. When that happens you can start over with the taming by placing your hand on the outside of the cage when you are spending time with her and then progress slowly to inside the cage, etc. -- just as you did before.
Good luck and best wishes!
I have almost the same problem.
My budgie (who I have for a year) loves coming give me kisses. It doesn't have outside cage time because I haven't made a budgie safe room though I plan on doing it one day. I say this to let you know that I don't whether it's a territorial issue or not.
When I talk to it, it jumps to the bars of the cage (from the inside) and kisses my nose and pecks on my glasses and eyebrows because I have my face close (I don't let her reach my lips). So she likes me.
But the hands? I don't know. If I get my hand near the cage while I'm doing this and try to put the hand close to the bars near my face while she's giving me kisses (slowly), she'll then focus on my hand instead and if she can reach the fingers she'll peck on them harder and harder until I take the hand away.
I've given her treats that I held from outside of the cage. I've done it also by holding the treat just at the entrance/door of the cage, in which only a finger will be trespassing the frontier between "outside" and "inside".
I don't have an answer but wanted to share my experience.
PS: I often try to put my hand near the cage so she can see it but not reach it, while talking to her. I don't have the regular "training time" but I kind of wonder if it would work...
She eats all the treats, broccoli, spinach, millet, but then she hops in my finger and bites.
I've seen the idea that she might be just be territorial. What do you guys think?
PS: Is it an occasion of stepping back? If I was doing the taming process from the beginning, and she shows comfort and stuff but the day I put my hand near the cage, she bites, does it mean I need to stop putting my hand inside the cage and go back to "hand outside" for more days? What if she always does it?
Some budgies do have "hand issues" and simply don't want your hand anywhere near them.
Yours may well be one of those.
If you do decide to start the taming/bonding process from the beginning and on a regular basis, then continue trying to hold your hand outside the cage where she can see it but not get to it. Perhaps when she is interacting with your face, hold it near your face?
Yes, if you progress to the point where you are able to put your hand in the cage and she begins biting, then you go back to outside the cage again.
I'd definitely make a bird-safe room and try giving her the option of coming out on her own.
You may well have much better luck in interacting with her outside the cage rather than in it.
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.
Getting the millet reward is the best part of "going back home"
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