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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

Nine days ago I adopted my first budgie, a roughly 5 month old male. He came from crowded and cramped conditions where I believe his only source of stimulation was the other budgies around him, but I stupidly bought him alone.

Since we got him, he seems to be adjusting alright ... by the second day he stopped reacting to me & my partner as predators, and started looking at us more like intimidating bigger birds he wanted to stay out of the way of. Which makes sense. We know we'll be taking it slow. By the end of last week he was grinding his beak before bed, chattering a little tiny bit sometimes ... but he's still very quiet most of the time, unless you engage with him/he feels lonely.

I've filled his cage with lots of things to discover: hidey hole, toys, sprigs of basil and coriander seeds for him to pick at. He has only investigated about half of what I've put in there. My partner and I always put on TV when we leave the house so he doesn't have to sit around in silence.

His cage is about 36" high, 18" wide, 11" deep. I'm realizing now that the amount of space he has is "the bare minimum" and I'd like to save up to get him a proper flight cage. Still, what I've provided him is significantly more than the space he shared with like 6 of his old flockmates...

We let him out of the cage a few times this past weekend as he started to get restless – once he returned by himself, 3 times we returned him there by having him perch on his food dish and then putting him back in, and then once it was a real pain to get him back in.

Before we let him out of the cage those few times, he spent a lot of time just running back and forth on the perch squawking, looking for other birds ... now that he knows he can get out of the cage through the bottom door, he just spends a lot of time desperately flying back and forth from perch to closed door, trying to get out.

My partner & I are usually away from home 9-5, and (as stated earlier) we always put on something for him to listen to while we're away. We are planning to familiarize him with a housemate who works from home, so he can have regular human company during the day as well.

I work and study very close to my home and can visit him during lunch/come home early a lot of the time. I did both of these things today. During lunch I came home and talked to him for 40 minutes; he seemed receptive and wasn't obsessing over the cage door. A couple hours after lunch, I came home early for him, but almost as soon as I got there and started talking to him, he started flying back and forth to the cage door. I let him out because I felt so bad for him – he just perched by the window where he had previously made contact with a sparrow on the weekend. I tried socializing with him during this time but he wasn't all that interested.

After an hour I put him back in and now he's been flying back and forth to the cage door over and over for 45 minutes. Nothing I do/say seems to distract him. I tried putting on budgie sounds, "relaxing music" etc.. Nothing helps or even changes the behaviour. I just let him out of the cage again. He hopped onto the table beside me, so he's clearly not scared of being near me, but then he went straight to the window. Then he makes circles around the room and goes back to the window over and over.

It breaks my heart to see him flying back and forth in his cage trying to get out. I feel like I am torturing this bird and driving him insane. I've seen so many conflicting things about whether or not a budgie can be satisfied by human contact. I know each one is different. Will he ever adjust? Do budgies who adjust to "lone budgie life" ever go through phases like this?

How long should we wait before we conclude that he is unable to adjust to solo budgie life and requires a companion? My partner would really like us to wait and see as long as we can before we get him a friend, but I feel like every day he goes without budgie contact is killing him inside ... I can't stand to do this to him. It hurts to see his desperation. I don't know how I could put him through another month or even another week of this, unless he starts adjusting to it.

I think it may also be the case that he feels insecure in his cage, from us coming so close to it rather early on & and rearranging the things a couple times this past week.

Does anyone else have some experience with budgies who struggled to adjust to solo life? How did you solve the issue? I feel so lost.

Thank you for all advice you can provide.

Update: This most recent time we let him out of the cage, he's a little more explorative... he's perched on my laptop and hung out on the coffee table where I'm typing. Then he went back to his cage to eat. We'll leave the door open tonight and see what happens. Maybe he'll be more receptive to bonding with us if we start leaving the cage door open whenever we're home? I wasn't expecting to give him so much free roam so early on, but if it will help with his mental health and help him bond with us, I'm more than happy to do so. He just landed on my arm without me prompting him or anything!! But then he went back to the window. Now he's tried landing on a pillow, and landing on the couch behind me. Is this a good sign?
 

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Hi, Welcome to Talk Budgies!

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

Locating an Avian Veterinarian

You do not have a cage that is big enough to house two budgies at this time.
Until you can buy a proper flight cage, I would not consider getting another bird.
You need to get the biggest cage possible. The bigger the better and ensure the spacing between the bars is no more than 1/2".
Play music or the TV for him when you are not around.

Your budgie should have been given a minimum of two weeks to settle into his new environment without you trying to handle him or let him out of the cage.
However, since you've already allowed him out-of-cage time and that is what seems to make him happy, just make sure you are there to supervise him the entire time he is out of the cage and do not "grab" him to return him to the cage.

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.

Quarantine your new bird!
Yes - Quarantine IS necessary

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.
If there are no Avian Vets in your area, then finding an Exotic Pet Veterinarian who has experience in dealing with small birds is the next best option.

Locating an Avian Veterinarian

2. Introducing the new bird to the current bird
Introducing Two Budgies

3. Flock Dynamics
Differences and Dynamics in Flocks
Your Harmonious Flock

4. Where do you plan to get the new bird?
If the time comes when you decide to get your budgie a friend, I highly recommend considering getting a bird of the same gender from either a bird rescue organization or a shelter.
These budgies need a good, safe and loving forever home.

Why you should buy from a Reputable/Ethical 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 Expense


A Healthy Diet for your Budgie
Quality Seed Mix
CuttleBones, Mineral Blocks and Manu Clay Roses
Safe Foods for Budgies
The Truth about GRIT

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.

SITE GUIDELINES
Posting on the Forums
Let's Talk Budgies!
FAQ
Articles
Be Prepared for Veterinary Care Expense
Avian First Aid
Quarantine IS Necessary!
A heartfelt plea to forum members new and old
Tips For Discouraging Breeding
Before You Ever Consider Breeding Your Budgies
Guidance for Breeding Advice Threads
Cage sizes.
Essentials to a Great Cage
Dangers to Pet Birds
Resource Directory
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, Welcome to Talk Budgies!

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

Locating an Avian Veterinarian

You do not have a cage that is big enough to house two budgies at this time.
Until you can buy a proper flight cage, I would not consider getting another bird.
You need to get the biggest cage possible. The bigger the better and ensure the spacing between the bars is no more than 1/2".
Play music or the TV for him when you are not around.

Your budgie should have been given a minimum of two weeks to settle into his new environment without you trying to handle him or let him out of the cage.
However, since you've already allowed him out-of-cage time and that is what seems to make him happy, just make sure you are there to supervise him the entire time he is out of the cage and do not "grab" him to return him to the cage.

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.

Quarantine your new bird!
Yes - Quarantine IS necessary

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.
If there are no Avian Vets in your area, then finding an Exotic Pet Veterinarian who has experience in dealing with small birds is the next best option.

Locating an Avian Veterinarian

2. Introducing the new bird to the current bird
Introducing Two Budgies

3. Flock Dynamics
Differences and Dynamics in Flocks
Your Harmonious Flock

4. Where do you plan to get the new bird?
If the time comes when you decide to get your budgie a friend, I highly recommend considering getting a bird of the same gender from either a bird rescue organization or a shelter.
These budgies need a good, safe and loving forever home.

Why you should buy from a Reputable/Ethical 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 Expense


A Healthy Diet for your Budgie
Quality Seed Mix
CuttleBones, Mineral Blocks and Manu Clay Roses
Safe Foods for Budgies
The Truth about GRIT

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.

SITE GUIDELINES
Posting on the Forums
Let's Talk Budgies!
FAQ
Articles
Be Prepared for Veterinary Care Expense
Avian First Aid
Quarantine IS Necessary!
A heartfelt plea to forum members new and old
Tips For Discouraging Breeding
Before You Ever Consider Breeding Your Budgies
Guidance for Breeding Advice Threads
Cage sizes.
Essentials to a Great Cage
Dangers to Pet Birds
Resource Directory
Hi there FaeryBee,

Yes, I absolutely would not attempt to house two budgies in the cage I have now. I can see that it's barely big enough for my one. Even if we do end up keeping him as a solo budgie, I do want to upgrade his cage as soon as I can handle him well enough to direct him from one cage to the other. But I do know that getting a new bird = getting a new cage (and having to keep the new bird in that new cage for at least a month, but possibly forever).

I have to say, I feel a lot better about him since the last time I let him out-of-cage (in the middle of writing this post). I don't think he knows much about flying at all. This time he explored landing in different places: on picture frames, on the coffee table I work at, on the chair, on my laptop, behind me on the couch, on my arm and even on my partner's arm. So either he is so clumsy at flying that he is involuntarily landing on us (but I doubt it, because he lingered in place for at least 30 seconds each time he landed near or on us, and he's flown directly to the opposite edge of the coffee table where I sit on at least 4 different occasions this evening), or it's a sign of him becoming socially interested enough in us that he wants to check us out "on his terms" – which is amazing, if that is the case. I think we are going to have him out-of-cage all the time when we're at home now, because it's been great having him out.
 

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When you do get a new cage, there are ways of moving your budgie from the old cage into the new without stressing him out.
What is your budgie's name?

To make it less stressful for your budgie, take everything out of his current cage except for one perch.

Set up the new cage and include a favorite treat, such as some millet.
Put the two cages front to front with the doors open and facing one another.

Stand back and let the budgie move of his own accord. This may take some time, but when he gets hungry or thirsty he'll move over into the new cage to eat and drink.

We can recommend cages for you when you are ready to take that step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When you do get a new cage, there are ways of moving your budgie from the old cage into the new without stressing him out.
What is your budgie's name?

To make it less stressful for your budgie, take everything out of his current cage except for one perch.

Set up the new cage and include a favorite treat, such as some millet.
Put the two cages front to front with the doors open and facing one another.

Stand back and let the budgie move of his own accord. This may take some time, but when he gets hungry or thirsty he'll move over into the new cage to eat and drink.

We can recommend cages for you when you are ready to take that step.
Thank you FaeryBee. My budgie's name is Malchik-Spalchik (name of a Russian fairy-tale character, means "little boy the size of a finger").
 

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Please keep us updated on how your little Malchik-Spalchik's adjustment to his new environment progresses.
It sounds as though he is going to settle in with you just fine given a bit of time.
He's already made amazing progress!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Please keep us updated on how your little Malchik-Spalchik's adjustment to his new environment progresses.
It sounds as though he is going to settle in with you just fine given a bit of time.
He's already made amazing progress!
Thank you FaeryBee ... he really surprised us last night and made me feel a lot better about his mood/adjustment than I felt when I was writing this post. Seeing him fly back and forth against that cage door for 45+ minutes like a prisoner shaking the bars was rough. It seems he has started to learn that his ability to go out-of-cage depends on me and my partner, so that will be great for starting the social connection with him ... hopefully soon he will adjust to a routine where he stays in-cage during the day and gets to fly free when we're home.

I think that rearranging his cage a few times since we got him (I started adjusting things like the perch positions, & adding more items, based on what I observed) might have undermined the process of getting him accustomed to the cage as "his space". He knows it's where his food is, but I've got to make sure he also knows that's where he sleeps (I'm worried he might stubbornly fall asleep on a curtain rod one night and then expect to do that forever... plus he poops like mad in his sleep). Any tips? Thanks for all of your feedback so far.
 

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He needs to have in-cage time when you are home as well as out-of-cage time.
Otherwise he is training you to be his servants.
When you give into whatever he wants, that reinforces that behavior.

He has to have time in his cage where he entertains himself.

Budgies love routine. He needs a set time to get up in the morning and a set time to go back into the cage and be covered for the night.

Cover the top, three sides and 1/3 of the way down the front of the cage.
Make sure there is a night-light in the room to help prevent night frights.

Positive Reinforcement in Training.

Yes, budgies poop a lot when they sleep and its important they be in their cage for safety.
The good thing is, if you have clean paper on the bottom grate of the cage when you put the budgie to bed, you can easily see if his droppings are normal each morning when you get him up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
He needs to have in-cage time when you are home as well as out-of-cage time.
Otherwise he is training you to be his servants.
When you give into whatever he wants, that reinforces that behavior.

He has to have time in his cage where he entertains himself.

Budgies love routine. He needs a set time to get up in the morning and a set time to go back into the cage and be covered for the night.

Cover the top, three sides and 1/3 of the way down the front of the cage.
Make sure there is a night-light in the room to help prevent night frights.

Positive Reinforcement in Training.

Yes, budgies poop a lot when they sleep and its important they be in their cage for safety.
The good thing is, if you have clean paper on the bottom grate of the cage when you put the budgie to bed, you can easily see if his droppings are normal each morning when you get him up.
Thanks FaeryBee ... what would be the best way to get him to accept being in the cage? Just had him out this afternoon for about an hour, and since I put him back in the cage he's been really bratty, pacing/flying back and forth in the area where I let him out, screeching, etc..
 

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Move the cage to a different room and put music on for him to listen to.
He is going to have to learn that he can't always have his way.
It isn't going to be easy at first, but it will be worth it in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Move the cage to a different room and put music on for him to listen to.
He is going to have to learn that he can't always have his way.
It isn't going to be easy at first, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Thank you FaeryBee. My partner and I rent one room in a large old house that has been divided up for students, so we don't have another room to put him in. The best we could do would be to move him to another spot in the same room. That being said, we haven't really had any issues getting him back in, except for that one time on the weekend when he might have been feeling a little insecure and wanted to stay on the curtain rod. He usually returns to his food dish periodically when out.

Yesterday, however, he flew by his own volition onto my hand around his bedtime (we know it is too soon to attempt any "step up" training, but since the beginning of this week he has started flying onto us by his own choice, first onto our arms, then onto our hands, then shoulders/heads... he "explored" us quite methodically). I talked to him while he was on my hand, and he began to grind his beak. I responded to this cue by walking over to his cage and holding him near his perch, and he saw himself straight to bed.

Hard to think it has only been 10 days; I didn't even think he liked us that much until 2 days ago.
 

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Hello and (a belated) welcome to the forums!

FaeryBee has given great advice and resources above and I agree completely.

I’m so glad things are progressing well! Meanwhile, you’ve come to a great place to learn even more about the best of budgie care practices! Please be sure to have a look around the forums’ many budgie articles and “stickies”, included above, to ensure you’re up to date on everything! If you have questions after doing so, please be sure to ask as we’d love to help.

Please keep us posted!

Cheers! 👋
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello and (a belated) welcome to the forums!

FaeryBee has given great advice and resources above and I agree completely.

I’m so glad things are progressing well! Meanwhile, you’ve come to a great place to learn even more about the best of budgie care practices! Please be sure to have a look around the forums’ many budgie articles and “stickies”, included above, to ensure you’re up to date on everything! If you have questions after doing so, please be sure to ask as we’d love to help.

Please keep us posted!

Cheers! 👋
Thanks ... I think that I just found out that when he was "begging to get out of his cage" he might actually have been hungry? I didn't fully notice until my partner pointed it out, but his food dish would look full when actually he had eaten all the "round seeds" out and all that was left were some long seeds he absolutely refuses to eat for some reason (my partner's childhood budgie was the same). Right now, while we have kind of a crappy setup (cage on top of a little side table), his food bag is right on the floor so he probably saw it on one of the first couple occasions that he was out-of-cage and figured out that his food comes from outside the cage. That would explain why he would peck at his food intermittently while "begging to get out of the cage": I thought he assumed there was some sort of causal relationship between him pecking at his food and getting out of the cage (since we would often transport him in/out while he was sitting on his food dish). So now that we know we need to be better aware of how much (edible by his standards) food is in his dish. Right now he is still on the food he was eating at the breeder's place, I do eventually want to get him to pellets but I don't know how picky he is so I don't know when to start trying.
 

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You can start giving him pellets now in addition to his seed.

When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day.

This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes[the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well.
This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source.
It worked for my all of budgies and lovebirds

Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized (XS) Zupreem fruity pellets.
Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them.
Once budgies become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.

Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together.

My birds have Zupreem Fruity Pellets, RoudyBush Mini Natural Pellets, Dried Herb Salad and Miracle Meal available at all times.

As is recommended for a healthy diet, their seed is rationed to approximately 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day.
I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean packing paper on the bottom grate of the cages.
I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds.
I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled paper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.

You can also simply ration the budgie(s) food into morning and afternoon portions utilizing the food dish(es).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You can start giving him pellets now in addition to his seed.

When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day.

This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes[the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well.
This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source.
It worked for my all of budgies and lovebirds

Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized (XS) Zupreem fruity pellets.
Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them.
Once budgies become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.

Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together.

My birds have Zupreem Fruity Pellets, RoudyBush Mini Natural Pellets, Dried Herb Salad and Miracle Meal available at all times.

As is recommended for a healthy diet, their seed is rationed to approximately 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day.
I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean packing paper on the bottom grate of the cages.
I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds.
I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled paper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.

You can also simply ration the budgie(s) food into morning and afternoon portions utilizing the food dish(es).
My local pet store supplies the ZuPreem fruity pellets, so I'll probably go with that. I will also probably order again in the near future from Exotic Wings (best Canadian bird supplies store I've heard of so far) which supplies a larger variety of pellets. He does love to forage so I'll probably limit seeds to foraging after I get him on pellets.

Aside from his "regular food", I've been giving him stuff from my garden: twigs of basil seeds to keep him stimulated (since they're kind of tricky to pick out), twigs of coriander seeds, etc.. I also cut sprigs of purslane that grows around my house (a nutritious succulent vegetable that grows as a weed in a lot of places) to balance out his diet + provide hydration. I'd like to start introducing him to more vegetables and fruit, but the only things he's seemed receptive to are green vegetables and the herbal seeds so far...

Since we fed him tonight, he seems to be more curious about stuff around his cage, which is good. We ordered a set of grapevine perches to replace the 3 wooden dowels currently in his cage, hopefully he will adapt well to the new perches when they arrive.
 

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Safe Foods for Budgies

It can take several weeks (or even months) for budgies to decide to try a new food.
There are many different ways to try introducing more vegetables to your little guy.
(e.g. serving "chop", hanging leafy greens from the cage, making veggie kabobs, etc)
Take a look at the stickies at the top of the Diet and Nutrition section of the forum for some tips.

Don't give up!

 
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