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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm Laura. I'm posting as I'm in a bit of a situation with my birds!

In May, I wanted to rehome some budgies, so looked on Gumtree for somebody who could no longer keep theirs. I found a pair; the owner said they weren't hand tame but were under a year old, so I hoped they'd be young enough to get a bit friendlier. I'd love them to sit on my hand, but my main goal really was just to get them tame enough so I could let them out the cage sometimes, and to have some hope of getting them back in without a chase!

That aside, within the first few days of ownership, the female started to attack the male. This continued, and his head was frequently bare with dried blood. I bought a second cage, and split them up for a while, side by side. I then put them back together for another attempt, but the same happened again - now one is in my bedroom, and another upstairs. As I'm off uni for Summer, I'm in the room with each for a couple hours each day, studying, eating, watching things, etc. However, the male is very noisy - I don't think he is coping well with being alone. As both are quite skittish and not tame, I don't think I'm particularly good company for them. Also, if the female hears the male squeak, it sets her off, and it can go on for some time. I've put their cages in further apart rooms, but occasionally they can still hear one another, and sound distressed. Since May, I have spent time with them, next to them, trying my hand in the cage, etc, but they don't seem to be getting tamer. They aren't bothered about millet which does not help.

Sorry to write so much, I'm a little stuck with what to do, and would appreciate some advice.

Many thanks

· Super Moderator/Member of the Month October 2015
6,776 Posts
Hi Laura, welcome! :wave:

It’s great that you’re keeping them permanently separated now, but I would place them in the same room. If not side by side in their own cages, at least in the same room. That way, they’ll have companionship of each other, yet won’t be able to get at one another because of territory issues.

As far as being noisy, that’s typical of budgies when they’re mature and healthy. Budgies are a very vocal species, so the noise is quite normal. Especially since they’re responding to each other. Even in the same room though, you’ll hear them make noise frequently.

We have a ton of information here on budgie bonding and taming, behavior, diet, housing, and a lot more, to help you do your best for them. We encourage all members to read the Stickies and Articles provided.

Some budgies take to taming more easily than others, but usually it takes a lot of consistent dedication and time spent. I understand if you don’t have the time or desire for that. Many of us are satisfied with wild or semi-tame budgies. They can still be adorable, fun little pets, even when not “tame”.

· Administrator
60,671 Posts
Hi! :welcome: to Talk Budgies

RavensGryf has offered some good advice.

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· Exceptional Service Award August 2017
1,098 Posts
Hi Laura, you’ve been given good advice above.
With regards to out of cage time, it isn’t absolutely necessary for them to be fully tame in order to do so, it’s just a lot easier.

At the time of posting, you said that one cage was in your bedroom and one was upstairs. I suggest that you assess both of these rooms to judge which will be the simplest to ‘bird proof’, both in terms of safety (covering mirrors/windows, placing items so that it would be difficult for a bird to fall behind a piece of furniture, poisonous plants that need relocating etc) and in terms of limiting very high roosting spots that could be awkward to remove them from if you suddenly needed to return them to their cage (eg. A blind within the window inset is easier for you than a curtain rail).
Perhaps you could have a slight reshuffle of the furniture within these two rooms to create a safer and less cluttered layout.
Give the birds a few days in their cages in the new room to familiarise themselves before allowing them to choose to come out of the cage.

My birds are semi-tame (will only step up for a bribe and have no real interest in me) and they are allowed out of the cage daily. They pop in and out throughout the day , and just naturally go back into their cages at the end of the day.
Make sure that you have a LOT of free time before you decide to leave the cage door open, you really don’t want to make this a scary experience by having to catch them.

If there is anyone else living in the house, I think it’s a good habit to place a sign on the outside handle of the room door(s), to avoid someone opening it at the wrong time.

Birdproof the room as much possible. Have some sound playing softly in the background, open the cage door(s), sit a little way from the cage and read a book/watch tv etc.
Let your bird choose whether to come out of the cage or not. If they don’t, that’s fine, it often takes a while, just try again another day.

Most birds fly around a little crazy at first, that’s normal. They likely haven’t had that amount of space to fly before and every potential landing spot seems to consist of untested materials. Your heart will also be racing but sit still and wait, don’t add to the confusion by trying to help unless absolutely necessary, as you’re likely just creating another thing to get away from (you :p)
They often land on something high (curtain rail, picture frame, lampshade) wide-eyed and panting; sit still, let them catch their breath, calm down and think it through.

The most appealing places for your two will likely be the high spots and the other bird’s cage.
Attach perches to the tops of their cages - For us, these are great places for them to hang out as any poop tends to fall into the cage. Don’t place anything new and scary (eg brightly coloured new toy) in these areas that you want to encourage them to fly to; try to make them look familiar and safe.

I would recommend that you (at least initially) alternate which bird’s cage to open and allow out only one bird at a time. Hopefully, this will encourage them to fly to the other bird’s cage (rather than the curtain rail) and if these cages are placed at different sides of the room, it gives them a nice little exercise route.

Going back in the cage.
With perches on the outside of their cage, beside the doors, they should eventually find their way back inside.
Faerybee uses positive reinforcement to get her birds to return to their cages.
Quote - “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’.”

I realise that you have stated that your particular birds aren’t interested in millet, but this could be any food that they find appealing. You could also split their daily ration of seed into two halves and give the second half at the end of out of cage time.

Once they’ve found their way back a few times, it’ll become easier. They’ll know what they’re doing and what you want, plus you’ll know where they like to visit and can think of ways to make certain areas (where you’d like them to be) more enticing, block off others and also make strategic poop protection additions.

Hopefully you will have some good time left before uni restarts, to make some progress. Try as best you can, to create an out of cage routine that you will be able to maintain when back at uni.
Best of luck :)

· Super Moderator
20,158 Posts
Hi there and :welcome: to the forums!

You've been given fantastic advice by RavensGryf and JRS, I couldn't agree more :thumbup:

Be sure to also read through the forum's budgie articles and "stickies", linked in FaeryBee's post above, to ensure you're up to date on everything :)

If you have any questions after reading through everything, be sure to ask as we'd love to help! We hope to meet your two budgies soon.

Cheers :wave:
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