I'm curious how much flight time to give my little ones. I know more is better. My issue, and the reason they don't get Happy Flappy Time every day, is that they aren't tamed yet and can take 4-5 hours to go back in their cages. For that reason, I have to pick times where I'm not going anywhere for a long time. Toweling them to put them back has just made them fearful of the towel.
They don't fly much during open cage time, either. Two usually stay in their cage, while the other flies out of hers and sits on top of their cage. It's mostly budgie social hour, instead of exercise time.
Any advice? I let them out probably 4-5 times per week, maybe around 8-10 hours per week. They fly for maybe 3 minutes per session, unless I go to put them back with a towel. Then, it's 10 minutes or so of flying. Thanks!
I would work on teaching them to step up onto a perch when one is put in front of them, that way when they are out and you want them to go back in the cage you can have them step up and then return them to their cage. Where are they kept in the house, are they in one room or can they fly around different areas of the house? It takes time for them to venture out of the cage and be comfortable. The more they are out the more comfortable they will become, however having to grab them in a towel to return them to the cage is frightening to them as you have said. If they are in a room of their own you could try dimming the lights a bit and see if that would encourage them to return to the cage. Since I am working from home my birds are out all day but they are not flying around that much, I have 7 flight cages and they enjoy flying in and out of each others cages, chattering and just being birds. My birds are not hand tame but all but one will step up for me, so I am able to return them to their individual cages if need be. The one that refuses to step up will go back to his cage when he sees his cage mate inside.
This is excellent advice, thank you, Cody and FaeryBee. I have the birds in a small bedroom that's only big enough for a couch, really. That's their dedicated room, because we have two cats. I do my best not to let the cats in when cages are locked (they do slip by when I come out, but I never let them stay), and when cages are unlocked, I've started locking the door from the inside.
I've tried turning the lights down or off (with a nightlight by the cages), but with them down, nobody moves, and with them off, they fly into the walls.
I will have to try perch training to step-up, like you've said. My hand taming isn't coming along past the point of me holding the millet while they eat it; they refuse to use my hand or fingers as a bridge to get to the millet to begin stepping up.
Is it normal that there's two that never fly out of the cage? They flap around inside and fly perch to perch, but it's only 18" long x 18" wide x 36" high. If they don't start coming out in a month or two, they really deserve a longer flight cage. I will order one online, if necessary.
Birds see their cage as their safe zone so it is not uncommon for them not to want to come out, because they are most secure in the cage, it can take quite some time for them to venture out. However I would suggest getting a larger cage for the 2 even if they come out, even birds that are housed together sometimes just want their own space and giving them a larger cage allows them to have that space.
Thank you for the advice, Cody and FaeryBee. The tall cage I have is a Prevue Hendryx, and I find the cage bars to be incredibly flimsy, to the point where they don't hold the weight of small perches securely. Are the flight cages you've mentioned sturdy?
I have 4 of the F040 cages and have not had any issues with the sturdiness of them. I also have a double flight cage made by A&E cages like this https://www.amazon.com/Cage-Co-6421-.../dp/B00494U134, the bar spacing is the same as the F040 but the bars themselves are much stiffer as they are a bit thicker, it takes more force to pinch 2 bars together than in the F040, A&E also has a single version of the cage and I imagine that the bars on it are also very stiff.