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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I'm new to this community but am hoping some of you might have some good advice for me.

After my previous (and first) budgie passed away I was so heartbroken I had to go and get another one. My previous budgie was super tame, however, this one is a girl and has a totally different personality, and I'm afraid we haven't had a good start at all.

I bought her almost two months ago, she was 7 weeks old when I bought her from a pet store. Obviously none of the budgies in the pet store were tame, and I remember it seemed like a really traumatic experience when they caught her from the cage in the shop and shoved her in a travelling bag. I brought her straight home and put her into her cage, but she was obviously really scared. I left her to settle in for a few days, but then I thought perhaps she'd like to have the door open like my previous budgie did (I know, I know...) but she ended up flying around the room in blind panic than in any comfort, and obviously she wouldn't go back into her cage, so I had to throw a silk scarf over her in the end to catch her and get her back into the cage. Again, another traumatic experience.

Since then I have not let her out of the cage, which I think is borderline animal cruely as I want her to be as free as my previous bird was, but I just can't seem to tame her.

I have done what all those YouTube tutorials say, and of course she gets fresh food and water every day, and I also manage to clean her cage without it freaking her out too much. I hold my hand into the cage for up to 5-10 minutes at a time about three to four times a day, and sometimes if I'm lucky she'll skittishly eat a bit of spray millet before going into a total freeze again. She does this thing where she freezes all the time. I can sometimes even get my hand or a finger all the way up to her tummy, but she just freezes. I've gone through all these tutorials where they say you can just push gently against their tummy and they'll step up - NOT A CHANCE with her!! She is frozen solid, and the one time I tried to nudge her tummy she was so frozen she just fell off her perch and that of course freaked her out and sent her into another frenzy around the cage.

Now it's gotten to the point where I put my hand in the cage she does this clicking thing with her beak, which I read somewhere is a threatening sound to tell you to back the F off, so I do.

I sit with her all day when I'm at home, she gets food and snacks (although she prefers to eat when I'm not looking or am not in the room, that's how scared she is) and I play her music which she seems to enjoy, but other than that, she is terrified of me or people in general and I'm worried that she just doesn't have a good life like this. She's not very relaxed, like my previous bird was, and I have started toying with the idea of whether she might have a better life with someone else.

My previous budgie (Whisky) was more interested in food, and I was soon able to get him to step up onto millet spray, which allowed me to direct him back to his cage, meaning I could let him fly around at ease very early on. His taming process seemed more coincedental than anything else, as he one morning just flew onto my head and wanted to sit there, and from then on we were friends. Like I say, my new bird (Muffin) is a completely different story.

Any ideas?

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If your bird(s) come from a breeder that worked well at socializing their animals, then the process below is the same but it may go much quicker for you. You should move at the pace that your animal is comfortable with. If you place your hand in their cage and they hope right onto you, then you can start building from there with treats, training and out-of-cage time :)

If you got your bird(s) from a pet store, or a breeder who doesn’t socialize their animals; your bird(s) is going to need a couple of quiet weeks to settle in. They can seem “tame” at first, but this is likely just because they are frightened and submissive.

Start by resting your hand on the outside of the cage for 5-10 minutes a few times a day. Talk to them as you do this, in a quiet and steady voice. Read something to them if you like ;)
After a week or two of this, you can move to just placing your hand "in" the cage. You can use their behavior as a judge on this one. If they actively retreat from your hand, even when it’s on the outside of the cage; they aren’t ready for you to go to the next step. Once they start to essentially “ignore” your hand, then you can move on.
The next step is to put your hand in the cage. Don't touch them, go near them or even move. Just rest it there for the same 5-10 minutes a few times a day and continue with the quiet, steady speech.

Your bird(s) will eventually begin to acclimate to you and slowly move up to investigating your hand. Then you can work on treat placement in the hand to see if you can then lure them to step on it to eat from it (again without moving).

And then you go from there.

This could take weeks or even months of work and is entirely up to the bird. You may get lucky and have a very outgoing animal that tames in a short period of time, or you may have a more timid creature on your hand that requires a lot more from you.

Birds require far more patience with training than dogs and cats do. They all know instinctively that they are "prey items" and we are basically asking them to ignore that natural response when confronted by a larger predator (you).

You can also use their voice as a measure of their comfort.
A whistling/chirping budgie is not a scared budgie ;)

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You've been given excellent advice.

The purpose of this forum is to promote the BEST PRACTICES in the care of budgies for their optimal Health and Well-Being

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Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and all of 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.
(Stickies are threads “stuck” at the top of each forum sub-section)
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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