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Young budgie became afraid of being outside of the cage

379 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  StarlingWings
Hi all,

The backstory:
I got a young (10 weeks old at the time of adoption) budgie named Kesha 4 weeks ago.
He (I think so, at least) did not come from a professional breeder but rather from a "self-taught" breeding enthusiast and was never trained or tamed before. When I came to pick him up, the breeder would grab the bird inside the cage. It would get scared, start flying and hit a wall (I was also terrified of the procedure). Nevertheless, when I brought Kesha home and let him into the cage, he appeared to adapt quickly.

On the second day, the baby bird would already eat seeds from my hand. He would chirp happily in response when my wife or I talked to him.
On day three, he started jumping into my hand with seeds.
Around day 5-6, he started flying out of the cage and would land on my hands while I was working on PC. He would also jump on top of my screens and try to look at what I was doing.
It was wonderful and I was overjoyed.

P.S.: he is living as a solitary bird for now, but we spend a lot (really a lot) of time with him. Talking and trying to interact for 3-6 hours per day and being present in the same room with him within a meter of his cage all day long. We might get a second bird after taming/bonding/training Kesha but not before.

The problem:
Now at the end of week 2, the problems have started - he hit a wall a few times when flying out and twice got stuck in narrow places. Once was particularly scary - he got stuck between the cage and the wall and fell to the floor (about 1.5 meters). I rushed to pick him up - he was shocked but got on my hand, and I let him go to the cage.

Since then, it appears that he is terrified of coming outside of the cage. We are "best friends" inside the cage - I do clicker/target training, and he follows the stick all over the cage, happily eats while sitting on my hand, and would even listen to music while on my finger for 10-15 minutes. But outside, he would not go further than his cage doors (not even with the target or treats). If I get him on my hand and try to take him out to show that the surroundings are not dangerous - he would get scared and fly back to the cage. The furthest out he agrees to go is his cage door and sometimes a perch that are marked in red in one of the pictures. It becomes a bonding obstacle to some degree, and I do not want him to live confined in the cage, especially since I know he was very outgoing and enjoying the outside in the first two weeks.

(questions set 1) So I wondered if getting such a "scary fall and wall hitting" experience can make the otherwise brave and happy (apparently) bird confine itself in the cage? Is there another way to help him besides putting treats in front of the cage?

Another factor is that his cage is near a large window (as seen in the picture), and more birds are out there now since it is spring. Sometimes large ones like crows or seagulls. Until today he had an extra separation screen that would "hide" him from the window. But when he is out, he can see either the birds (if the curtain is open) or their shadows and voices (if the curtain is closed - the curtain is rather light). Being near the window also means that he is right beside my desk (50 cm away from where I sit for many hours), so I hoped it would help to bond.

(questions set 2) He might be scared of the birds outside of the window. Should I move the cage, so the window would not be observable from there? Or should I let him get used to it for some time? For now, I have removed the separation screen and opened the curtains so he can see the scary birds but also see that they cannot reach him. I am also trying to show him that there is glass and nothing can get through it. But I don't know if it is just stressing him out, and if I should move his cage away from the window. He appears happy and plays most of the time, but some times he gets startled by a big crow landing on grass or because of some loud noise.

(questions set 3) Finally, about the training and bonding. Should I slowly carry him around the room with millet in one hand even if he tries to return to the cage instantly 9 times out of 10? I am afraid that if I do that, he will trust me less. But if I don't, he might not realise that outside of the cage is also safe. So I am getting confused here.

BTW, as you can see the cage is very large (69 x 45 x 141 cm) so he is getting his "flight time" inside to some degree.

Thanks in advance for advices.


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Welcome! I am a new budgie owner, but other members who are a lot more knowledgeable than I am will chime in as well. My guy, for various reasons not exactly like yours but similar, became afraid of being outside of his cage also. He was very young when it started, so he went a really long time before he was comfy to fly around the room or get on top of the cage. He also didn't tolerate my hands at all so I could not even give him treats or seeds by hand. Once in awhile he would accept some millet from my hand but it was not something he wanted to do.

But on the other hand, he really did love me and want to bond with me, so we found ways to bond with him inside and me outside. He learned to absolutely love his "safe space" cage and became super confident and outgoing in there. He loved all the entertainment and companionship I provided him from the outside world. I was a bit afraid of him becoming too cage bound as well, but I just kept working with him and his trust in me.

Slowly over time I found ways to help him feel safe getting outside his cage, and then eventually flying around the room. It was a process and even now, he does not choose to fly a lot, even though his door is open a lot. He may now fly once per day a few laps around the room, whereas recently it would be maybe once a week. And before that once every several weeks.

What I did that worked - I never insisted he come out. I just made sure he knows if he does come out I will not chase him, try to capture him, or obstruct him in anyway. He is about 8 months old now and I think I can say he is still in love with his safe space, but he also feels safe outside with me. He just has so much fun in his cage that its not his first choice to go for a flyabout.

So because he is happy, not depressed, and has a full life, I don't worry about his cage status anymore. I let him let me know how he's feeling and if he fell into a depression or something I would quickly learn what I need to do to help. Not all birds who choose to hang in their cage most of the time are unhappy. Mine certainly isn't!

The other thing is my guy literally taught himself to fly expertly from inside the cage. He did this over many months, and he loves flying in his cage he does it multiple times a day. So when he did finally venture outside the cage, he could already fly very well. Landings were a learning process, but he picked it up quickly. He did not bap the walls by then, because he had so much time to learn about flying inside his safe space before he went out into the scary outside world to fly.
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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

A budgie's cage is its "safe place". Don't try to force Kesha to come of out the cage. Allow him to do so if and when he is ready.
You can make it more appealing by putting a playground on top of the cage or near the cage along with a treat and toys and installing perches to the outside of the cage.

If Kesha shies away from the window when he sees or hears the outdoor birds, then you know you need to move the cage.
Each budgie is different. Some enjoying seeing other birds while some fear they are predators.

Taming and Bonding takes time and patience. It doesn't happen overnight. Sitting next to the cage and reading, talking out loud to Kesha (or yourself), and singing to him will all help him feel as if you are interacting with him and taking an interest in his well-being.

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.
Additionally, please be sure to read the thread "Posting on the Forums" which is linked below.

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.

Posting on the Forums
Let's Talk Budgies!
A Healthy Diet for your Budgie
Quality Seed Mix
CuttleBones, Mineral Blocks and Manu Clay Roses
Safe Foods for Budgies
The Truth about GRIT
Be Prepared for Veterinary Care Expense
Avian First Aid
Quarantine - Is it Really that Important?
Quarantine Your Birds

When you have mixed genders, it is very important to do everything necessary to prevent breeding.
Budgies are much healthier and happier when they are never bred.

A Heartfelt Plea to All Members
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

Nice to have you with us. If you have questions after reading everything, please let us know.
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Hello and welcome to the forums,

FaeryBee has given great advice above. It's important to be patient, and build mutual trust and respect.

Meanwhile, please be sure to read through the links provided above to ensure you're up to date on the best of budgie care practices. If you have any questions after doing so, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help.

Hope to see you around!
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