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My budgies have already been eating millet off of my hand for several months now, but they are still afraid of me and are only brave enough to approach me when I have millet to offer. So what do I do now?

Sincerely,
Kerri
 

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My budgies have already been eating millet off of my hand for several months now, but they are still afraid of me and are only brave enough to approach me when I have millet to offer. So what do I do now?

Sincerely,
Kerri
Here is what I’ve learned as a new birb mom….

if your birdie wasn’t from a hand raised environment, and if from a pet store it almost certainly wasn’t, then it will not naturally want you to touch it. It may touch you in order to get treats, but the touch is only to get the treats. Otherwise it will most likely not want to be touched.

So with these sweet birds who only have their instincts to guide them, just don’t try to touch them. Don’t expect them to welcome your hands at all for quite a long time. They are unable to control their fear of your hands and only slow gentle trust (where you aren’t trying to trick them into letting you touch them) will get them used to your
moving body parts.

See if they get closer and with less fear to your face, head, or other devices and use them more often than your hands. Keep your hands out of sight when you are near their cage talking gently to them or whistling. Show interest in how they want to interact with you and there might be a little bridge there between you wanting to touch them and them wanting to be close to you.

My little guy recently began flying to the side of the cage nearest to me and clinging onto it, to tell me he wants me to come over to the cage and pay attention to him. He doesn’t do it a lot but every time he does it’s clear he wants me to come over to him, so I do. This is his way of genuinely asking for more physical closeness, and it was very worth it to wait for him to ask for it. Versus forcing it on him.

Oh and PS…if you change your wording and understanding of your relationships with your birds and don’t think of taming, just think of bonding, that helps too I think. Taming them assumes they will let you do that and they might not. ☺Bonding with them means finding out how they will bond with you, exploring their interests and sharing fun times with them, and letting them set the pace with you on how your relationship with them progresses.
 

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Not to disappoint other budgie owners, but I have the cutest, sweetest little bird in the world!
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Here is what I’ve learned as a new birb mom….

if your birdie wasn’t from a hand raised environment, and if from a pet store it almost certainly wasn’t, then it will not naturally want you to touch it. It may touch you in order to get treats, but the touch is only to get the treats. Otherwise it will most likely not want to be touched.

So with these sweet birds who only have their instincts to guide them, just don’t try to touch them. Don’t expect them to welcome your hands at all for quite a long time. They are unable to control their fear of your hands and only slow gentle trust (where you aren’t trying to trick them into letting you touch them) will get them used to your
moving body parts.

See if they get closer and with less fear to your face, head, or other devices and use them more often than your hands. Keep your hands out of sight when you are near their cage talking gently to them or whistling. Show interest in how they want to interact with you and there might be a little bridge there between you wanting to touch them and them wanting to be close to you.

My little guy recently began flying to the side of the cage nearest to me and clinging onto it, to tell me he wants me to come over to the cage and pay attention to him. He doesn’t do it a lot but every time he does it’s clear he wants me to come over to him, so I do. This is his way of genuinely asking for more physical closeness, and it was very worth it to wait for him to ask for it. Versus forcing it on him.
My LoVey will hang upside down, clinging to the bars of the cage and shares at me. I call it her 'Don't you see a cute little birdy that wants to come out and play?' pose haha!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here is what I’ve learned as a new birb mom….

if your birdie wasn’t from a hand raised environment, and if from a pet store it almost certainly wasn’t, then it will not naturally want you to touch it. It may touch you in order to get treats, but the touch is only to get the treats. Otherwise it will most likely not want to be touched.

So with these sweet birds who only have their instincts to guide them, just don’t try to touch them. Don’t expect them to welcome your hands at all for quite a long time. They are unable to control their fear of your hands and only slow gentle trust (where you aren’t trying to trick them into letting you touch them) will get them used to your
moving body parts.

See if they get closer and with less fear to your face, head, or other devices and use them more often than your hands. Keep your hands out of sight when you are near their cage talking gently to them or whistling. Show interest in how they want to interact with you and there might be a little bridge there between you wanting to touch them and them wanting to be close to you.

My little guy recently began flying to the side of the cage nearest to me and clinging onto it, to tell me he wants me to come over to the cage and pay attention to him. He doesn’t do it a lot but every time he does it’s clear he wants me to come over to him, so I do. This is his way of genuinely asking for more physical closeness, and it was very worth it to wait for him to ask for it. Versus forcing it on him.

Oh and PS…if you change your wording and understanding of your relationships with your birds and don’t think of taming, just think of bonding, that helps too I think. Taming them assumes they will let you do that and they might not. ☺Bonding with them means finding out how they will bond with you, exploring their interests and sharing fun times with them, and letting them set the pace with you on how your relationship with them progresses.
Thank you so much for such a well curated response, I really appreciate it!

My birds aren't from a pet store, but were rescued from someone who was breeding budgies, who didn't appear to have hand raised them or to have interacted with them enough to make them less fearful of humans or to view humans as less foreign.

My desire to bond with them is less about me wanting the ability to touch them and is more about me wanting to make sure they feel safe and secure in their own home, because it's not fair for them to have to live in fear.

The only "skin-to-skin" contact I have with them is when they use my finger to eat treats out of my hand, but I never attempt to pet them because I know they won't like it.

I see a lot of articles stating that once you get your budgie to eat out of your hand, the rest of the bonding process is smooth sailing. However, that hasn't been the case for me, and I've had them for around 1 year now, so I've wondered if I've just been doing something wrong.

Recently I've been trying to hold my hand closer to my face when I feed them millet to help them understand that I'm actually attached to the hand that is feeding them treats, because sometimes it feels like they view me and the hand that's feeding them as two separate entities. Do you think I should continue doing this?

Sincerely,

Kerri
 

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Recently I've been trying to hold my hand closer to my face when I feed them millet to help them understand that I'm actually attached to the hand that is feeding them treats, because sometimes it feels like they view me and the hand that's feeding them as two separate entities. Do you think I should continue doing this?
I only recently learned this myself and I think I read it on this forum (though I would not be able to find it again), but budgies don't see us as one object. They see our hands/arms and legs/feet as completely independent moving objects. They probably only consider "us" as our heads, shoulders and maybe torso. All these other moving parts we have are new scary things for them to learn about. :LOL:

I think eventually if they are hand tame they would see your hands as part of you, but i'm not sure about that and hope someone else with more experience will answer. I don't think it could hurt to try to keep your hands by your face, though. Though they do say never to feed our birds from our mouths because it mimics breeding behavior, so try to not have millet near your mouth.

You said you don't want them to have to live in fear and they are afraid of you. Are they afraid every time you approach the cage? Are they ok or do they flap around when you put hands in the cage to clean, etc?
 
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