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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I started a thread here intending to ask a question but since I got so much good feedback, I figured it would be helpful to myself and other members to record my progress here too.

I got Blue :budge: from a local pet store about three weeks ago. When I first let her out into the cage she screamed until she scared herself and wouldn't move for two days.

I put her in the luxury big cage but it let her run away too much. I had to move her to a small cage where my hand could comfortably reach everywhere. I sang a random taming song I made up (lol) over and over again to relax her and got my hand with millet closer. Eventually she ate the millet.

I started to cut the millet pieces smaller and smaller and used these treat sized pieces to clicker train Blue. Now Blue will let my hand close enough to touch one foot (with my bare hand, no treat) and will run to the middle of the cage for a treat after the click. Soon I hope to be able to touch the body without any freakouts.

I put the cage very close to the chair I usually sit in. Blue is still nervous to climb lower than my eye level to eat or drink. But when I'm at work and not sitting in my chair, she can eat and drink in peace.

Blue's current hobbies are eating when I'm eating and watching once upon a time with me. She likes to scream at the bad guys and chirp during romantic scenes (what a softie lol). She will also reply to me if I chirp to her. But I am really bad at chirping noises so I sort of meep instead. I guess Blue understands that it's really the spirit of it that counts because she always chirps back :)

I just received my handfed budgie Kiwi from a breeder in Virginia. Kiwi was shipped by overnight mail and arrived yesterday. He lets me pet his belly very softly and if I sing the taming song he will eventually close his eyes and get sleepy :budgie:

I was assured that he used to beg to be let out of the cage to play, so he probably has a good temperament and just needs to get used to me :p

I'm going to try to update milestones here and when they are tamer, post some videos of cute budgies :D
 

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Congrats on your new little budgie Kiwi. Did he come in a box? Was he delivered to your doorstep, or how does that work? Did he have food and water during transit? I can't imagine the anticipation of receiving a bird through the mail. You must have been so excited.
 

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Sounds like you have done some wonderful work with Blue. A good start to the bonding process that is sure to continue and build.

Kiwi sounds adorable. After a stressful move to your place he is probably feeling a little jaded. Once he settles in then the playful budgie described will return.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Congrats on your new little budgie Kiwi. Did he come in a box? Was he delivered to your doorstep, or how does that work? Did he have food and water during transit? I can't imagine the anticipation of receiving a bird through the mail. You must have been so excited.
He came in a USPS approved box, its a cardboard carrying box with holes in it, and the holes are covered by porous paper on the inside. It has all sorts of printed warnings about having live animals inside, so the post office knows to keep it separate, upright and in a pressurized cabin on planes.

I asked the breeder to write specific instructions to call when he arrived. I picked him up during my lunch hour and took him out in the bathtub to get him to calm down before I put him in the cage. There was a small water bottle and large millet sprays ziptied in there as well as loose seed.

He was probably quite comfortable, except for the scare of traveling lol.

Kiwi's breeder told me he wasn't a biter but he bit me plenty. He also does a hard peck to my hand when he doesn't want to be touched. He does the warning/ angry head poof first lol

I'm wondering if he hurt himself in transport or first night in the new cage banging around. He seems to hate it more if I touch on his left side. Going to take him to the vet today. Couldn't hurt to do an examination :)

And also, today I got to pet Blue's belly without any fuss, it was probably about 10 seconds before she gets nervous. YAY! We're friends :D
 

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Thank you Budgiecakes! I have been so curious about how these little guys are shipped. Training them to a water bottle seems to be a precursor to shipping. And actually, I should add that to my list of things to train Spec. so he doesn't get a wet cage while riding in the car.
How old is your new little guy? Any photos yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I took some pics today, and included some cage pics. I put kiwi in the big one with toys and he eats millet from my hand now but otherwise still one mad budgie haha. He is 13 weeks old and I see some little pinfeathers near his beak.

Blue is in the little cage and I took a pic through the bars because I discovered today the thing she is least scared of is my hand lol. I thought I would take a small stick and try to target train but she hates everything in there except me :p So I'll just continue with my hand until she can come out and play with the perches outside.

errr also can't figure out how to rotate pics, sorry :/

and btw, the vet said that kiwi was fine, he's just an angry little birdie hehe
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
9/7/2014
Kiwi is fearless but really, really hates hands. I wonder if he is just still stressed or if something happened to him. A couple times he freaked out and accidentally fluttered out of the cage, I toweled him. If he sees the towel in my hand he takes off running too.

I started him on target training using a small kabob skewer and a clicker. He is not afraid of the skewer and I think he's figuring out what it means. However, unlike Blue, I can't figure out what his motivation is. He will eat millet but does not seem to really like it.

9/8/2014
Blue is progressing normally, I can touch her feet longer than normal but only occasionally is she calm enough for me to touch her belly. However, she is still eager for millet treats so this is easy to remedy with more training.

Edit: Today I figured out that if I tap my fingernails on the cuttlebone and make a scraping sound, Kiwi comes running to the front of the cage. I gave him some millet with my open hand and then put it on the far side of my hand. He couldn't reach it and so rather than step on he stretched himself so far he looked like a fuzzy hammock and I laughed super hard and almost scared him.
Then I put it even further and he stepped on my hand and huffed at me. HUFFED. Cheeky little butt. He also nipped me hard and tried to drag my hand closer so he wouldn't have to step on :p
But I didn't give in so he got on and proceeded to eat all the millet then pooped on my hand (grrr). Afterward, he wouldn't return to his perch and kept pecking at my hand.

The radio finally changed songs and he became alert and jumped off my hand, having succeeded in scaring himself lol
sometimes if I baby talk him enough he'll run down to a mid-level platform and perch like 3 inches away from my face. Then he'll fluff, then get skinny, run away and run back to me.
But if I extend my hand in friendly manner and try to get him to play, he doesn't want it. He only wants to play with shred toys I extend through the bars.

WTF is going on here? If anyone can help out that would be great :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Today Blue got more comfortable with my hand. I am now able to apply light pressure for a few seconds to her chest. She likes to chirps a lot now, especially to AC/DC lol
lil rocker budgie :cool:

Kiwi will eat millet off my hand sometimes but he is still handshy after one week. I will give him some more time and continue to give him the choice to step up on his own.
He has not started chirping or playing with his toys, maybe I went overboard with the cool perches and toys and he needs more time to get used to all the stuff in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Kiwi stepped onto my hand by himself with millet :D
I took him to blue's cage and blue jumped onto the front of the cage but they were shy haha
Kiwi did a shy little chirp :budgie:

on the way back he messed up the distance from my hand to the cage and ended up on the floor. I tried to lure him back onto my hand but it's the second day he's come out on my hand so he didn't trust it enough to take him back. I toweled him into the cage and 2 seconds later he was fine. I think he's settling in just fine.

Afterward Blue stepped onto my finger for the first time!!!
I cut a millet piece bigger than regular and it tempted her so much she was going crazy trying to get to it. I put it farther than she could reach and even though she climbed all over the place trying to outsmart me, I was smarter lol.

She put one foot on me and I moved so that she had to let go of the other foot. After I let her eat her reward, I slowly let the millet drop by itself so she was sitting on my bare hand with no treat. She seemed nervous but not terrified, and after a bit, stepped back on her perch by herself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Today Blue stepped on my finger all by herself with both feet! :D I didn't move her toward the door yet or use the clicker but she has progressed so far! I will continue to get her more closer and closer to the door and then into the wonders of out of cage playtime and head scritches :)

Kiwi can be lured to the door with millet now and will perch on my hand while he eats the treats but is afraid of outside the cage time. My neighbors occasionally mess up my training by running around upstairs making pounding sounds just as I get to a milestone lol. He was noticeably nervous of all the running.

I want him to see my hand as non threatening, however I would like to save his motivation (and his crop space lol) for clicker/target training. He will sit on my hand but obviously doesn't trust the steadiness of the "perch". And of course I want him to feel fulfilled by earning his treats too.

Maybe tomorrow I will give up the hand perching treat business and progress with clicker training. It's much easier to check progression.
 

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Sounds like your little budgies are both making some great progress. I've enjoyed following your journal. Keep those posts coming. By the way, that's a great cage you have. Lots of space there! Good for you and your lucky little birds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sounds like your little budgies are both making some great progress. I've enjoyed following your journal. Keep those posts coming. By the way, that's a great cage you have. Lots of space there! Good for you and your lucky little birds.
Thanks! Today kiwi launched himself from the back side of the cage to the front like he was looking for me. I hope that was the case because it would be very exciting :D He also hopped onto my hand right away if there's millet. Now I just have to take him further and further from the cage :)

Blue stepped on my hand voluntarily with either one foot or two feet 4 or 5 times today :) However, I noticed that there was a growth on her foot (bumblefoot) from the uniform wood perch. So I had to replace it with a natural perch. She's terrified of it, so I gave her the rest of the night to get used to it. Probably going to set back training by a few days, but it's ok as long as her foot gets better :budge:
 

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Good catch on the bumble foot. How long have you had Blue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here's my progress so far:

blue will step on finger if I hold the millet out of reach. Not every time but definitely more than once a day. I can also touch her belly with a gentle finger, she doesn't like it but doesn't run away like she used to either.

kiwi will step onto finger if hungry and I have millet. He can be carried out of the cage about 1 foot away. After that he gets nervous and wants to go back to cage, so I take him back. But he doesn't run away, he chirps to beg for more food lol

today I whistled at him and he ran to the front of the cage like he was on fire :budgie: I also got him to try some vegetables while I was whistling. He ate a bit, but had trouble ripping through the leaf.
 

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Sounds to me like Kiwi is actually making great progress on coming out of the cage! I think you are doing wonderful with the clicker training and although it may seem to you that you're not progressing fast enough, I'm actually very impressed!

When Spec first started coming out, he was kept only inches away from the cage door for probably a week. If he barely seemed nervous, I would move him closer to the open cage door, because my objective was to teach him to stay on my finger. So I didn't want to 'push' the distance too fast for fear he would jump off on his own. But that was just my objective -- you may have a totally different objective for out of cage behavior.

As far as the greens, Spec is almost 14 wks. old now and still has trouble with whole greens. I think it was Deb that suggested I tear the edges a little bit to expose the juicy inside. It seems to be a little easier and more reinforcing for him to nibble at a torn edge. But he still has trouble with fresh veggies. I actually squeeze the corn kernels and peas until the innards pop out. LOL Honestly! Sometimes I have to laugh at myself. I can just see Spec at 10 yrs of age, still unable to eat a fresh corn kernel without Mommies help. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
woo!!! Breakthrough :D

Today blue seemed less hesitant to hop on the finger. It was the usual one foot reach so she could get the millet, but I moved my hand a bit and she put the other foot on my finger :)

I put away the clicker for now, since it seems like she is doing so well. I can't see a place to use the clicker until we're out of the cage.

The most exciting thing about today is that I read a thread about prolonging the time budgies are out of the cage before they get nervous and want to go home. I borrowed a rubber ducky from a friend since fellow TB budgie spec had great luck with it. Kiwi is a skeptic it seems because he hates the duck lol.

What I did was I took him out of the cage with millet lure, and when he was out, hid the millet in my fist and counted to 3 then gave it to him. Rinse and repeat.

however, today he got "go home" and "step up" in the same day!
I would move him closer to the cage, sometimes he doesn't get in it, he stays on the finger and begs for more food. But today he would run onto the rope perch in the front, around the back and to the platform to wait for step up!

I'd hide the millet in my left hand and extend my right hand finger and he hopped straight on :D
Of course I still have to wait for him to be in the mood, but this is a great first step.

Just when I was confused about how to proceed, he figured it out himself lol
 

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PERFECT!! i love it that you 'read' your own budgie and went with what worked for him. That's the mark of a 'natural' trainer! Sounds like you are both having a good time during your sessions.
I love reading your journal entries. Looking forward to the next!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
PERFECT!! i love it that you 'read' your own budgie and went with what worked for him. That's the mark of a 'natural' trainer! Sounds like you are both having a good time during your sessions.
I love reading your journal entries. Looking forward to the next!
Thanks!! I read your journal too and what a great job you did with Spec :)

My entry for today: I have suspended clicker training for blue, for now I just want to get her to a point when she is alright being on my finger and will come out of the cage. After a few days of the no clicker/millet lure, Blue readily steps on my finger as long as millet is still there. She doesn't run away scared when millet is all done because she ate it, she turns around and steps back onto perch. So far I have gotten her comfortable with eating millet very close to the door on my finger. Sometimes the radio changing songs will make her hop back onto her perch, but she will jump back on the finger as soon as she sees the millet.

I figured out as soon as I wrote the last post that kiwi will only hop onto the finger without millet on a certain perch inside the cage. If he's not on that perch, he won't step up lol. So I took a page out of Mikey Did It's journal and used a skewer with a red dot painted on the tip for a target stick.

Kiwi took to it right away and it didn't take him long to start running towards the target for his millet treat! He's very smart, but a little stubborn lol.

Good progress all around :)
 
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