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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, first post here! I've been lurking for a few months now though, loving all the great advice on here. As a newbie budgie owner you've all been a great help to me!

I've had my budgie (Zelda) for about 4 months now. It's been an interesting 4 months to say the least! A bit of "one step forward, two steps back" going on. I'd like to hear your thoughts on my situation just to gauge how I'm doing and what my next steps in bonding should be.

Prepare yourself for a wall of text! I've summarized my questions at the bottom.


First of all, I'm not sure how old she is exactly. The person I bought her from said 4 months, which would make her 8 months old now. But everything I'm reading says that they should look like adult birds at 6 months, and she's still got black eyes, a blueish white cere, and some barring on the head. She also went through a moult in September, which I think was a baby moult because the barring on her head has faded a bit.

Here she is! This picture was taken just after bringing her home.
I'm fairly sure she's female, but if not please correct me!



Secondly, I'm not sure where she falls on the tameness spectrum, on a scale of "pet store skittish" to "hand-fed and happy". I got her from a private individual that raises budgies, and from our online correspondence I thought she sounded like a great bird mom with hand-fed babies. Upon meeting her, not so much. She had a large flock (10+ birds) free-flying in a small apartment, and direct human interaction with the birds seemed to consist mainly of grabbing them and forcefully cuddling with them. So I'm guessing that taming a flock-bonded bird will take longer than a hand-fed baby would?

Finally, there was a rather large step back after the first month and a half. At first I thought she was settling in great, and she seemed to have no problems getting comfortable with me and bonding. Well it turns out the original owner was wrong when she said Zelda ate pellets just fine, and the poor thing was practically starving without me knowing it! So she was only friendly and comfortable out of desperation. Once I got her food figured out, her behaviour did a 180 back to shy and skittish. Getting her food figured out consisted of a trip to the vet, and I also had buy a new cage because the original one had too large bar spacing. These two events were followed closely by a (possibly stress-induced) moult that left her moody and quiet for over a month.

BUT over the last few weeks I've seen some positive progress in her behaviour!
  • She seems to be less skittish when I'm doing things in and around her cage, like changing out food and water or just walking by.
  • When I'm hanging out in the evening she'll move around her cage, play with her toys a bit, and look at me/the TV, whereas before she always stuck to her one "safe" corner.
  • When I let her outside the cage she usually sticks to one perch, but lately it seems like she might be doing quick flybys to check me out as I sit on the couch.
  • I've been doing some "place hand in the cage" sessions, and I can sometimes get her to eat millet held in my hand. She will sometimes step up onto a perch, but is pretty hesitant about it so I'm not trying to push it too much at this point.

To summarize:
  1. I think she might be younger than I first thought. How old would you say she might be, and what sort of behavioural changes should I look out for as she grows and matures?
  2. Has anyone else had an experience with "wild" flock-bonded babies? How do they compare to hand-fed or pet store babies?
  3. After all the ups and downs of the last few months, should I treat the end of the moult as a new square one? Or is this back-and-forthing pretty normal with a young bird? How does her progress over the last few weeks look in terms of bonding?

That's it for now. Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Jonah and Therm! I'm very glad to hear that my experience with Zelda is not an unusual one, and that we're on the right track.

I'm not too concerned about what Zelda's gender is, but if I happen to get a good face-on picture in the future I'll be sure to post it!
 
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