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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just brought Alfie home on Friday night after he stole my heart at the pet store. I lost Gwen almost two weeks ago and hadn't planned on another bird so soon, but little untamed Alfie poofed up all happily when he saw me and came over to nibble on my finger.

He's roughly 6 months old and I'm excited to get some serious training in with him! I suspect that since he was such a brazen little fellow at the store that once he comes around, he'll be a really fast learner.

I had already tamed one budgie, Gwen, and the process was grueling, but we had such a tight bond afterwards that every bite and squabble was worth it. He taught me everything I know about budgies, and I will never be able to repay him for that wealth of knowledge. Thanks, Gwen <3

Anyway! I have to, of course, start with hand taming. Though Alfie came up to me in the store, taking him out of his environment made him a very scared bird!

Day 1 (2/1) -
I brought Alfie home and settled him into his cage. He flapped around until he found the manzanita perch and parked himself on it. And didn't move. (As expected.)

Day 2 (2/2) -
I changed food and water and put some music on for him. He hardly moved again, but that was to be expected. I stuck a millet spray through the bars, beside his perch.

Day 3 (2/3) -
Changed the food and water. Radio was put on in the morning and left on all day, except for when I was watching TV. He moved a little bit, but stayed on the same perch. He hasn't eaten at all since he'd been home: No hulls at the bottom of the cage, in the bowl, or on my floor.

Day 4 (today) -
I heard his voice! He has a slightly deeper voice than my Gwen so it confused me for a second, but he's also bigger than Gwen was. He didn't chirp very much. I tried playing some of that "Happy Budgies" soundtrack, and he chirped to that, and then flapped around the cage in search of the other birds. He seemed more distressed than calmed, so I won't be playing "Happy Budgies" again for a little while. Poor thing.

He also discovered the mirror today, despite having been sat in front of it for the past 3 days. I happened to have sprinkled some seed on the lip of the mirror, and he found that, too, but only after I accidentally startled him.

And then...He ate from my hand! Brave boy! I only meant to restock his little mirror shelf with some seed, but he turned his head and plucked a few seeds from my hand. He's been very good with my hand near him thus far, and I'm really proud of him!

He only ate a tiny bit of seed, and now he's taking a nap. He was grinding his beak before he dozed off, so I'm glad that my hand didn't actually traumatize him.

Also wondering if he knows what millet is. I didn't notice any in the cage at the store...

EDIT UPDATE: Sneaky little man started nibbling on millet after I covered his cage up a bit. I heard him munching and thought he was eating seeds, but then I saw millet hulls all over the bottom. Sneaky, sneaky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 5 (2/5)

This photo sums it up.



And now he's happily grinding his beak and getting ready to settle in for the night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just started training Alfie to step up! I'm using the perch method, and he seems to be doing all right with it. He looks a little frightened when I bring the perch to him, but he doesn't flap around or try to evade it; he kind of just stares at it and steps onto it right before he falls off his other perch, and then sits there like a little frozen statue. I'm pretty sure he'd have sat there all day if I kept him there.

After about 7ish minutes I let him back on the perch he was sitting on before. I think I'll be shooting for 10 minutes tomorrow.

I've also been having problems getting Alfie off of his grapevine perch! He just does NOT want to move from that perch. I put his food dish at the very end for a few days so he was able to stay on the perch and eat. Then I moved it over a little so he'd have to step off of the perch and onto his dish, and he does that, but he's not moving around to any of the other perches! And he doesn't go to water unless I deliver it to him. :/ We'll see if my dish migrations work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Week 3

Step up training isn't going as well as I want it to be; there was an emergency at work so that meant less time than usual for me sitting down with the little guy and getting to training.

I AM now able to move the perch around the cage a little bit when I have him on it; millet involved, naturally. I want him to get more comfortable with this before I move on though.

What else did we learn/start learning this past week?
We were introduced to a little piece of romaine lettuce just to get used to green leafy things. Alfie licked all the water off of it and left it alone. Kind of like the kid who'll lick all the Doritos and then leave them. LOL. Working on that. A+ part is that he's not afraid of the lettuce. No fear of the lettuce is a good step.

He doesn't seem to mind taking any food from my hand, which is why I think he didn't freak out at the lettuce. He's definitely not scared stiff anymore, so I'm no longer going to attribute his not-flapping-around-like-a-nut to trust issues. I had him take some seed from my palm! I tried inching back to see if he'd take a step, and he really thinks about it each time, but no dice yet.

I'm trying to get him to take a nibble at his mineral block. I have a veggie flavored block from Zoo Med in a small size. I put it in a corner of his cage so he'd get used to its presence, and then I moved it up by his favorite place to perch. I put some millet around it to get him to go near it.

Alfie likes getting his beak rubbed! Aw! I was able to get face rubbies in last week but he doesn't seem so keen on that anymore. He accepted some beak rubbies when he had a small night terror and it calmed him down.

Issues?
Still not quite hopping around the cage like an active little budgie. He doesn't look or sound sick. He chirps when I have Spotify on. I showed him how to play with his chain of lattice balls and he won't really play without me.Also showed him his bell, which he also won't play with without me. It's endearing but that also makes me feel bad to leave him for as little as 30 minutes to go downstairs to cook up something.

I had a mirror in his cage, and it's been there since he came home, but he's totally not into it.

He WAS hopping down to his food bowl, but I think something spooked him and he didn't quite move all day today.

Though lights out is at 11 PM every night, I'm not sure Alfie sleeps until I'm actually lying in bed. Because by 11 AM the sun is up, I have a cover over his cage except for one side of the cage (so he can still look around the room) to keep it relatively dim until I crawl out of bed and open up the blinds and such.

However, his lights out is not my lights out. The lights are literally out in my room except for a nightstand lamp, but I'm usually still sitting up at the laptop. So if I pull an all-nighter to finish homework and end up going to bed at 4 AM, I think he's going to bed at 4 AM with me. ...Well, Alfie's more than a good enough reason to get my butt to bed earlier, anyway.

Other
Added to the cage was a cuttlebone holder! It's a cute little star-shaped thing from Petco with a giant clip and two perches. Way better than the flimsy metal things that come with the cuttlebones that I can never get to stay, anyway. That was placed into the corner that the block was in as not to frighten Alfie too much. He can observe it from a distance if he wants to.

I bought a clicker! I don't really want to start clicker stuff until I have a hand-tamed bird, but I'm all kinds of psyched to start working with the clicker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Week 4

So I just got so excited about the clicker that we learned how to do some targeting this week! I use a little purple hair chopstick that I never used in my hair, and he's getting quite good at it. Confident enough that he showed off a little in front of one of my friends!

Overall he's getting more confident in everything. I showed him a bird kabob and it took him a day to get used to the idea that it's not going to hurt him, and all of 30 seconds to start gnawing on it after I brought it close to him and tore off a chunk.

He's also VERY chatty and I think he has a very very very good chance of being a talker.

I had to slow down the step up training because he keeps getting VERY distraught over the small moving perch that I've been using. I've clicker trained him to put one foot up on it, but still, he's terrified of it. I think I'm going to use the food/millet technique that I used with Gwen, where I just move the treat further back onto my hand so that he'll hop on it.

I let him out for a fly and he flew up to a curtain rod, perched for a bit, flew around the room in circles, landed on the front of his cage, and hopped back in. I'll definitely be letting him out again so he can work those wings out.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to share this.

I sense very little impatience, and a much greater feeling of a great friendship developing. It is neat to hear about it! Thank you!
 

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Great job! If it makes you feel better, Wiki nailed target before he was really confident in step up. It was target that allowed me to build a bridge to step up, so there's not necessarily an order in which things will fall into place. I didn't bother with step up to perch, though - just to hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Week 4.5

Thanks for taking the time to share this.

I sense very little impatience, and a much greater feeling of a great friendship developing. It is neat to hear about it! Thank you!
I learned a lot about patience and the important of building a bond from my first budgie. I just let him do things at his own pace, but I try to be persistent, too. Thanks for your kind comment!

Great job! If it makes you feel better, Wiki nailed target before he was really confident in step up. It was target that allowed me to build a bridge to step up, so there's not necessarily an order in which things will fall into place. I didn't bother with step up to perch, though - just to hand.
Some birds apparently learn step up better with a perch, first, but Gwen always played "jump the learning perch" and Alfie plays "flap around like a maniac because that bully perch just tried to knock me off".

But I think I spoke too soon about having a set back in learning how to step up because...

:eek:!!!!!!!

The only thing I did differently was use my left hand instead of my right hand! I can't even explain it.
 

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Yes, Wiki was the same - he used to have a preference for one hand forward or backward facing hand for recalls. Never really found out why, because the preference went away as he got more confident. There's some who teach a step up with one hand, and shake hands with the other (less preferred perhaps?) hand - that might be worth a try?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting that you mention that some people teach shaking hands with the opposite of the step-up hand, because he'll put just one foot on my right hand. I'll see how much he and I can accomplish this week!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Week 6

What we learned this week:
Broccoli is good! Kind of. He still tries to hull the flower/floret/seedy-looking part. He likes nibbling at the stalk, too. He's very good with the budgie-see budgie-do if I demonstrate that things are good to eat (or play with), which is actually super adorable.

He's gaining targeting confidence. He won't jump perch to perch for it yet, but he'll go from one end to the other.

The step-up picture from last week was a fluke. He's still really uneasy around my hand when I put it down by his feet. He's comfortable taking food and beak rubbies from me, however.

He offers one foot like a champ now so I've called that one "shake" (handshake), and I'm working on "up" with two feet. He KIND of understands up, he's just not too comfortable doing it. He'll get on and then hop off, but he knows what's coming when I tell him "up".

The vet *****!
I took Alf in for a general check up because I was concerned about his extra sneezyness, but he got a clean bill of health. I went to a different vet from the one I took Gwen to because she's closer and her favorite pets to see are birds!

I got his wings clipped and had her show me how to do it myself. She clips show-style and leaves the first two primaries.

I used to not be into clipping, but I got him clipped just so he doesn't hurt himself. He got out earlier in the week and dropped behind the TV stand, which isn't the biggest problem because there's a huge space behind it, but it was hard to rescue him.

I made Alfie a cardboard carrier with lots of holes and a velcro closure and even a space to attach his favorite perch to, but he goes in it and starts ACK ACK ACK ACK angry squawking until I open the lid. LOL poor fella

New goals!
Step up, of course; always working toward step up.
Learning about how yummy carrots are.
Learning about eating pellets. I bought the Pretty Bird Selects for him.

I'm on Spring Break this week so I have lots of extra time for training!
 

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I've only just noticed this thread oops hahaha, i've been following your pictures on instagram though ;). He's looking good! Well done! Gwen would be proud! :D:budge:
 
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