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Advice on bonding with my sad budgie

1914 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  FaeryBee

I bought Bert 4 weeks ago from a local pet shop, but I'm really struggling with him and feel like he's very unhappy. He's approx 9-12 weeks old (pet shop was confident about this, and he still has head bars and black eyes). I'm out at work from 9am-6pm (radio left on), but I spend every minute of the evening and early morning with him. I occasionally work from home. He has a large cage with a variety of perches, swings, bells, hoops and shredder toys (it's not overcrowded). I don't have him clipped, but he is missing his long tail feathers so doesn't fly brilliantly.

He was terrified of people and hands to start with, and would madly flap round the cage during food bowl changes etc. After 2 weeks and lots of patience he would stay relatively calm when I put my hand in the cage, and occasionally eat some seed mix from my hand if I kept still for long enough. He likes being talked to, preens himself while I do my make up in the morning, and often greets me with a stretching/feather fluffing session when I come into the living room. So I feel like he kind of enjoys my company.

However, its now been 4 weeks and he's not made any further progress in the last two weeks. If my hand moves he won't go near it, and still approaches with extreme caution if he wants to get any seeds. I have no idea how to progress to the step-up stage with such a nervous bird, and would really appreciate some advice. He is completely disinterested in anything apart from seed mix - he has some millet spray hanging in his cage which he occasionally nibbles but he never seems keen. He's terrified of all fruits and vegetables and won't go near them, and doesn't seem bothered about sunflower seeds or nut pieces. Does anyone have any ideas of alternative treats I could try?

The reason I mentioned him being sad is that when I'm not stood by the cage talking to him he just sits quietly on the highest perch and does literally nothing all day. He doesn't chirp or make noise, apart from occasional very loud contact calls. He doesn't explore his cage or play with anything. He just seems very bored, anxious and sad to me. I kept 2 budgies as a teenager which never stopped doing things and were happy little feather babies - Bert is just so quiet in contrast that it makes me feel like a terrible 'mum'.

Will a budgie like Bert ever properly bond with a human, and if so how long can it take? How can I make things progress with him, and am I just being impatient? If anyone has any stories of nervous budgies who eventually bonded with you I would love to hear them, and details of what you did to win them round.

I was considering getting a hand-tamed budgie as a cage mate for him. I thought this might perk him up and show him that humans aren't too scary. But I live in a small apartment and I worry about the noise that 2 budgies would make. My boyfriend already can't stand it when Bert has his occasional shouting session. Would getting another be a bad idea?

Sorry for the long post!
Thanks :)
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Sounds like Bert really likes you. You truly love him. I have found if I am nervous around my
birds, they seem to pick up on it. Is Bert in a brightly lit area? Being in a dimly lit room could
affect him. As the days get shorter and sunshine is less abundant, I had to rearrange my birds cages so that they could take advantage of all the sunshine streaming in through the windows. But I had to make sure they wern't subject to a draft from the windows.
Being patient is not as easy as it sounds but its a key. Good luck with Bert.
Hi! :welcome: to Talk Budgies

Bert sounds like a sweet little budgie.
From your post, it's obvious you care about him and want what is best for him. :thumbsup:

It concerns me that you say your boyfriend "can't stand it" when Bert has his occasional shouting session.
That is a recipe for disaster already.
Budgies make noise and if your boyfriend lives with you he needs to accept that from the very beginning or you are going to have ongoing problems.

Getting Bert a friend would be best for Bert.
BUT -- given the fact that you live in a small apartment and have a boyfriend that doesn't like the noise Bert makes I would not recommend it unless you take the sufficient time to consider the possible outcomes of such a decision.

Two budgies can be extremely loud and they can be heard through apartment walls.
The budgies won't make noise at night so I'd suggest you discuss it with your neighbors to see how they might feel about it.
Many people don't mind hearing the chirping of birds and your neighbors may be just fine with it since it takes place during the daylight hours.

If you truly think Bert would benefit from having a friend, are you willing to deal with the fall out from your boyfriend and work to determine how well your neighbors will accept any potential noise?

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.

Distinction between an Avian Vet and a Vet that "Will See Birds"

2. Introducing the new bird to the current bird

Introducing two birds

3. Flock Dynamics
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

Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.

Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.

These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.

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Considering that you've only had Bert a month, I'd just say that all birds are individuals and a month is not a long time to settle in and be comfortable around humans, close up.
You've already made some progress but be patient and go slowly. As he recognizes that you're safe, and he can interact with you, he will begin coming out of his shell. Only offer him treats like millet from your hand.....not hanging in the cage. Fruit & veggies may take longer.
It's best, for now, to not let him out of the cage since this will often involve having to be caught by you, which is terrifying for him. Just continue sitting with him, talking and rather than putting you hand always into the cage, just resting it on the outside, always moving slowly, offering millet from your hand, will increase his trust which is what you're trying for. I feel that adding another bird at this time, isn't necessary and could complicate the picture. Don't forget to read all the articles and stickies here, on taming. Good luck and don't give up so soon.
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Hi there and :welcome: to the forums!

You've been given great advice about Bert and I have nothing more to say except for I agree completely! :yes:

I truly hope you're able to find a solution that works well for everyone! :fingerx:

Meanwhile, have a look around the forums and the links provided above to ensure you're up to date on the best of budgie care practices! If you have any questions after doing so, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help! :D

We'd love to meet Bert when you get a chance! :wave:

Cheers :)
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Hi everyone,

Thanks for the advice and encouragement, it's much appreciated!

I'm going to be patient and stick it out with just me and Bert. As you've said, there's a lot to consider when getting a 2nd bird and I'm not sure it's the best thing for me right now. We're hopefully moving to a bigger home in 6 months so I will see how Bert is doing then and get him a friend at that point if he needs it. I think I'm expecting him to be like my previous budgie pair, but obviously he's more shy and I just need to give him more time to adjust.

I'll be sure to read all the helpful posts on this site, and fingers crossed he'll start showing an interest in millet/treats soon which will make taming him easier. As for my boyfriend - he absolutely adores Bert so no worries there 😊 But the screaming during the best part of every movie we try and watch is understandably a little frustrating haha!

I've added a few pictures, hopefully they work. I've started letting him out to fly in the evenings and he seems to love that, especially sitting on my high up shelf (the plants are Bird safe). He goes back to the cage on his own after about 20 min so it works well and I'm glad he can stretch his little wings.

Thanks again for the advice, looking forward to checking out all the other posts

Rachel x
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Bert is adorable!!
I look forward to seeing a lot more pictures of him in the days to come. :)
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