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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We took in my budgie Charlie almost a year ago. He's about one or two years old and the home we adopted him from was very bad. The owner had two young children who just wanted some pets for fun so they bought two budgies, a boy and a girl. One day the owner came home and found that the dog had gotten to the girl budgie and the boy was left terrified in the cage.

I would really really love some help with how I can begin training him or help him in any way to be less afraid of me. I don't know whether clipping his wings would be the right way to start or anything else. I know it will take a very long time but any advice would be wonderful, I'm sure that me scaring him every time I clean his cage or feed him is not good for his tiny budgie heart.

Some questions I have are: Should his wings be clipped?
Should I buy him another female to bond with?
Should I even try to train him at all?

All I want is the best for him so he lives a long healthy life.

Member of the Month January 2016
4,993 Posts
It's great that you took this budgie in. :)

Your budgies doesn't have to be tame to be happy. Nor does it need to have a budgie friend, but it might help if you don't have the time to dedicate to him.
You would probably be best getting him a little male friend. This would give him a bird companion but would save you the worry of breeding.

It might be that he would welcome a bird friend, but he could also be used to being alone, so you could have to keep them in a cage each.

I don't believe clipping his wings will help in any way to calm this poor budgie.

Have you tried steps to create a bond with him? If not, try treating him like a brand new budgie. If he still gets easily spooked (and I wouldn't be surprised considering what happened) cover three sides of his cage. This will help him feel safe.
Spend time sitting by his cage and talking softly to him.
You can also leave the TV or music on for him so he won't feel frightened (silence means danger to budgies).

If he seems to be calm after about a week of talking to him, I would then try to place your hand on the cage while you talk to him. Again, try this for a week and see if he gets used to it.
If he gets used to this, he should calm down when you start to clean his cage out.

I hope this helps and I'm sure others will have some great advise as well. :)

60,609 Posts
Hi Zoe and :welcome: to Talk Budgies!

I'm so glad you took in Charlie and are giving him a safe and loving home.

I would not recommend that you clip Charlie's wings. Poor little fellow has been through more than enough trauma during his lifetime. :(

If you wish to become closer with Charlie, the best thing you can to is work totally at his pace.

How much time do you have to spend with Charlie each day?

Playing music for him when you aren't around will be helpful as well. Budgies perceive no noise as meaning there may be danger.

Taming and Bonding is all about helping your budgie learn to trust you and it takes a great deal of time and patience on your part.

You should never grab your budgie or force him to be touched.
Most budgies once they pass the "baby" stage, do not like to be petted or touched.
If your budgie does like to be petted, you should only ever pet his head, neck or chest area.
Stroking a budgie's back and/or tail stimulates its breeding instinct.

Bonding means allowing them to choose to be with you.

To bond with your budgie, you need to build his trust in you.
He will have to learn over time that you will not hurt him, grab him and try to force him to allow you to hold him.

To build your budgie's trust, sit by his cage and read, talk or sing quietly to him for a period of at least 10-15 minutes, 3 or 4 times day. After the 2nd or 3rd day, rest your hand on the outside of the cage when you talk to him so he'll learn that your hand is safe and will not hurt him.

After a week, rest your hand inside the cage when you talk.
Don't make sudden moves, don't try to touch him.
Let his get used to the idea that the hand is now in his safe place and not harming him. If he becomes agitated, stop moving your hand and just hold very still until he calms down.

After 2 weeks, begin moving your hand slowly toward your budgie. If he becomes agitated, stop moving your hand and just hold very still until he calms down. When he's comfortable with your hand near him, you can offer him a bit of millet or a few seeds. In a few more days, you can begin your taming and bonding sessions.

Always work at your budgie's pace.
Move slowly and talk reassuringly and calmly to him whenever you interact with him.

When you get to the point where Charlie is comfortable taking millet from you, then you can move on to trying the "step-up" command using positive reinforcement training.

You may also choose to simply allow Charlie the freedom to simply "be a budgie". You can spend time with him -- talking, singing and reading to him but do not necessarily have to try to work to "tame" him. Personally, I enjoy watching my budgies play with one another, fly happily around the room and simply "be budgies".

If you do get another budgie as a friend for Charlie, I would recommend you get a male.

If you decide to get another budgie in the future, please be sure to observe quarantine for the new budgie.

Quarantine means housing your new bird in a different cage in a different room as far away as possible from the room where your current bird(s) are housed for a period of 30-45 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.

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.

Distinction between an Avian Vet and a Vet that "Will See Birds"

After quarantine, the two birds should be introduced in neutral territory to see how they get along. If they do well after a few meetings and you wish to house them together, the entire cage should be completely rearranged to help prevent the bird which has been housed in that cage from being territorial.

It is always best to be prepared for the possibility that the two budgies may need to be housed separately and only given supervised out-of-cage time together.

Please take the time to read through all of the How To Guides, the FAQs and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.

You'll find most of your basic questions about budgies and caring for them will have been answered after you've read through all of them.

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Super Moderator
20,168 Posts
Hello Zoe and :welcome: to Talk Budgies!

I'm so glad you've rescued your darling Charlie and I'm sure he'll be much happier with you.

Although I can't possibly add to the stellar advice shared by Deborah above, I will say that it's great to have you with us and I hope that you'll ask any questions you may have after reading through all the links provided.

We're looking forward to meeting Charlie when you get the chance to snap a few pictures, and hope to see you around! :wave:

Super Moderator
6,004 Posts
It's great that you have gotten Charlie out of a bad situation. I have adopted quite a few birds from a shelter over the past few years, so it was unknown what type of situation they came from, none have been tame and I think they have all felt more comfortable once their quarantine period was over and they could be with the other birds. I don't expect them to become hand tame but I have been able to eventually get them all to step up onto a perch when prompted and that's good enough for me, as long as they are happy and healthy I just let them be whoever they want to be and so far it has worked out well.
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