I thought I would start a journal for my budgie now that he officially has name.
First post I am just going to copy and paste from my other threads here to get this up to speed.
First post in New Arrivals
I had a few budgie when I was a kid and really enjoyed them. However I did not take the best care of them, being young and uninformed. One was tragically killed in front of me by a dog, another was killed by his cage mate, and the thied lived a while but I had become a bit jaded about my cage pets by then. It's been about 15 years since then and I just bought my first real pet as an independent adult. I plan to spoil this beauty absolutely rotten.
Now here's where things get a bit funny and I could use some help.
I did my research and tried very hard to pick out a budgie that was young. I picked the one in the age with a lof of head bands and dark eyes... I got her home and realized that what I might have is some mutation that could make ageing/sexing difficult. So can you wonderful enthusiast tell me anything you can about this sweet bird.
She also has a band on her leg, but I'm not going to stress her out trying to get a closer look yet. I think it may be an open band though?
I received some wonderful answers and support on that thread. Including the information that my budgie is a male.
My next post was in Taming and Training
Thanks in advance for reading this, it's a long one.
Like so many others I have read about, I came to my budgie depressed. I am a stay at home mom to two young kids. In the past few month our family lost two of our three dogs. One, tragically and unexpectedly, to illness. The other was my life long companion who, at 15 years old, I had to put down. I have been heart broken, lonely, and depressed. (My husband and I would like to get a puppy, but we really want to wait until we have the time to ENJOY the whole experience. Encluding the teething, chewing, potty-ing and training. We are thinking puppy at the end of summer...) I decided that I wanted/needed a critter in the mean time... something that would be MY pet and not primarily a family pet.
After a ton of research I landed on a budgie. I had a few as a kid and really enjoyed parts of ownership. As an abused child pets are all a bittersweet memory for me, but even with some negative associations I choose budgie!
I went to three different stores looking for my bird. A local store, Petsmart and Petco, then back again to the local store for my baby boy. I fell in love as soon as I saw him. He is a looker for sure, and he was a busy little bird in an already busy cage. Unfrotunatly when the employee tried to get him out he couldn't catch him. Then to my shock and horror he got out and promtely flew right into the side of the cage. After chasing the poor scared boy around for awhile the employee finally looked for a net. At this point I was convinced that he was going to drop dead any moment from either stress or flying into walls. Then I caught him and knew I still had to take this poor, sweet, beautiful Budgie home.
This was only three days ago.
He seems to be doing great. I think it helps that I have his cage next to my computer and with young kids and being home all day we have already put in a lot of hours. I am also enjoying the hell out of him. Every single noise or move fills my heart. He has been everything I was looking for and more.
Since I have been looking for a companion and a hobby I would love to tame and then train him. I really am willing to put in the time/money/energy with this pet to "do it right".
??He doesn't have a name yet. Do you think that names are important to taming and/or training? So far "Pretty Birdie" is doing us just fine.
??He really wants out of the cage. I want to let him out because I know it would make him happy. However since I want a tame budgie, my instinct is telling me it's too soon. My big concern is setting training back by trying to catch him.
??I am trying to go by his body language and work with him. He's young and I am his only social interaction so I think he's really been quick to bond. However I am worried about pushing his comfort level. What are some things that I should look out for as a sign that it's time to stop that taming session?
Greyjoy had a bit of a rough start in our home as I noted before. Now that he's in a new appropriate cage he is doing well. I was playing Budgie sounds for him to help with the comfortably and that worked like a charm. The first time I played them he moved about the cage and ate for the first time.
I originally had a Millet Spray in the cage and learned very quickly that Greyjoy is a millet fiend! I removed it from the cage so now he does some clowning about when he wants it.
He has been eating, sleeping and chirping. I haven't seen him play much yet, other then some climbing antics.
Greyjoy and I are getting along great so far. I started with just talking to him while we listened to budgie sounds.
Since he is addicted to Millet that has been such a wonderful tool in gaining his trust. I've been able to set my hand in the cage with some millet and he will eat away while I talk to him.
I have been repeating "pretty birdy" to him over and over. He loves the sound of it and well start to preen or get really comfy when I'm talking. I have heard him make some gutteral clicky noises that might just be the start of talking.
Looks like a good start to your relationship with little Greyjoy
Lovely name, it suits him well!
It also appears that you're doing well with taming and everything else, I can't wait to hear more.
Keep up the good work!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
May 19, 2015 Successes! I think I taught Greyjoy a trick today! Or maybe more accurately he trained me the Cheeky ******. I have been making a distinct click with my tounge every time he eats millet. I’ve been doing this since I brought him home a week ago. Today when I had my hand in the cage with the millet spray, he went and touched the Bell in his cage. I clicked my tounge and he have me the side eye, like “what? Millet?”. I pushed it toward him (I usually let him come to the millet) and he ate a few seeds while I clicked away. I moved the millet away, said “bell” waited for him to beak it and Clicked and treated. WE played this game for most of the 15 minuet session. My enthusiasm cannot be contained! What a wonder!
Diet and eating: I started Greyjoy on pellets today. When I changed out his dish this morning I only offered pellets. At lunch I added some seeds and he happily ate those. I can’t say that he’s tried the pellets yet.
Personality: He is still settling into his new home. I get the impression that he is a bit of a serious bird. His antics are always so intentional. I can’t wait for him to really play with his toys and enjoy his cage.
Play: So far I haven’t seen him play much, and even less so today. Aside from a nice game of bell-click-treat of course!
Adjustments: I am changing the size of the millet I offer. He seems to get the connection with “click-treat” already so tomorrow I’m going to test him and see if he’lll still play along. I plan on using the larger spray during attempts at hand taming and step up.
I gave Greyjoy more alone time in the past day and a half to settle. T
May 20, 2015
Greyjoy is really responding to millet training. I think he’s kind of hungry right now so that’s helping with the motivation. I am NOT keeping him hungry for training, I am allowing him to be hungry to get some new foods into him. Yesterday morning I only offered pellets and veg, at noon I added seeds to his dish and he ate around the (seed sized) pellets. This morning I mixed 1:1 seed and pellets with a bit of water to get him to try the flavor. I also made my first MASH of veggies and few fruit and at lunch I switched out the pellets and added the mash on a plate on the bottom of the cage. I sprinkled seed on top of and around the mash to get him pecking at it. Funny thing is, the thing that gets him trying new foods is the sound and actions of me typing, so while I’m writing this he’s exploring the foods.
In any case Greyjoy has made it very clear that he is not at all impressed with his pellets. He squawks at me flys to his dish pecks at it and then squawks at me again. Greyjoy looks at me like “seriously? Pellets? Seed lady, more seed”. Clever little bird, he has me trained.
Hand taming is going amazingly well. He associates my hand with only good things. I have been extra careful to not give him any reason to be afraid of it. Today I was able to do some work with him with the millet out of site. Everytime he touched my hand, even a little bush against it, I clicked and treated him.
BREAKTHROUGH: He came to the door that I usually “come in” with my hand and asked me to come visit. Okay, he’s more likely begging for millet, but that’s okay with me. We just finished a training session with lots of treats and now he keeps going to his bell, rining it and chirping at me. Oh my, must not ignore the baby budgie, the chirps are now squawks.
GOALS: I am realizing my goals are still being defined. With the research I’ve done it seems I might be trying some different methods for different goals. I am doing millet training for hand taming, clicker training for tricks, and simple repetition for talk training.
Hand taming: today I made the millet much smaller and held it at so many awkward angels to see if I could get him to set on my finger. NO GO. He was very clever in his strategies, and even went to far as to go under my arm to avoid stepping on me. He did test me with his beak, and I introduce the word “finger”. I was able to completely hide the millet and get right up to him with my hand before he shied away. Adjustments: in the next few days I am going to add some taming sessions without the millet. I don’t know if I can convince him I’m worth hanging out with sans treat.
Training: My mind has been blown with how clever a little bird can be. So far we have three “tricks” that he’s actually almost consistent with. If I say and point to the bell he will go and ring. If I say finger and hold my finger close he will touch it. THE BEST ONE though is… if I hold my hand near the closest perch, tap it and say “here pretty birdie” He will come! I am stoked about the potential for recall once he is fully hand tamed. Adjustments: Tomorrow I am going to start working with him on his name, so that his recall isn’t “pretty bird”. I also think he is ready for touch training! I just have to find a stick. Finally tomorrow I am going to work on how I old the millet, oh and getting a proper clicker.
Talking: For some reason I am very optimistic that Greyjoy will learn to talk. As he’s resting he mumbles to himself, I am listening closely for the cadence of “pretty bird” . For far I’ve only caught a “deedee dee” once. I say “pretty bird” to him all the time. I have realized that the best time for targeted talk training seems to be right after a hand taming session. He is very interested in me and will come close to my face and tilt his head as I praise him “pretty bird” over and over. He also seems to like it when I change the volume of my voice, slowly getting down to a whisper really gets his attention. Adjustments: I don’t want him to think his name is pretty bird so I am trying to use his name more when I praise him. I am going to hang a sign near the cage to remind visitors that he’s working on talking.
Looks like lots of good progress! I'm glad taming is going so well and it sounds like Greyjoy is definitely opening up into a charismatic little boy!
I'd like to offer a suggestion on pellets: When introducing a new food, it's best to introduce gradually, so that there won't be such an exaggerated change in their gastronomic system.
Usually, it's recommended that you slowly integrate pellets into a seed mix, instead of all at once. I would maybe proceed at a 10% increase of pellets and a 10% decrease of seed, for example, one day you add 10% pellets and 90% seed, then 20% pellets and 80% seed, etc. I'd like to say that as long as he knows he's getting seeds for lunch, he won't touch the pellets, so as soon as you get to the point where the only thing in his bowl is pellets, don't give him any seeds or millet for two days. Hopefully, he'll realize he's supposed to eat the pellets, and if not, don't worry because budgies can go 2 days without eating. Also, it's important that during the transition from seeds to pellets, you don't indulge him. As soon as he finishes all the seeds in his bowl, don't give him any more seeds at all until his food ration the following time. I know this sounds cruel on some levels, but as long as he has a more favorable food source he has no reason to start eating icky pellets!
Love the updates, keep them coming!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
May 21, 2015
I am getting in the habit of waiting for Greyjoy to initiate training sessions since he seems eager, at least for the millet. ;-) So this morning I sat and talked to him until he came down from the top perch and closer to the door. He seemed in some ways more timid today. My assumption is he is molting and going through some stuff. Still we had a HUGE SUCCESS! He put his foot on my hand! HE immediately flew to the highest perch and started grooming himself to make sure he didn’t catch any of my cooties, heheh. But then he came back down ate more millet and touched my hand with his foot again. Back up to the highest perch to make sure he has all his feathers and then down again for the millet. After, I praised him incessantly for being so so brave.
Each time he touches my hand I say “finger” I’ve also added in the word “perch” to our training vocabulary.
Notes on Care: offered more seed today along with crushed pellets. I added a new “fresh food” dish to the cage to keep the veggies offered in a consistent place. Now there is some baked potato in there with a little millet. Still no interest. I added the bath in after our training session and he seems to love it as much as the first time. It
May 22, 2015
I put my hand in with millet to work more on general comfort. I would really like to start working on step up, we are so close! I put the millet between my thumb and pointer finger and lay my hand mostly flat on the perch with my pinky closest to GJ. This way he has to really stretch over my whole hand to get the millet. He didn’t put his foot on my hand this time, but I just adore the feathery soft warmth of his belly on my hand as he stretches his neck as far as he can. I would not say this is a hand shy baby, he is just still cautious little prey bird.
The second time I put my hand in the cage today I did so without millet, something I have almost never done. I don’t think I would call it a completely success, but it was an interesting experiment to see where he’s at with my hand. He let me get right up close to him with my finger, a feathers breadth from touching him and then he panicked and few to his highest perch. I have a rule that I don’t “chase” him up to that perch. So I brought my hand slowly back down by the door. I left it in the cage fro a few more minutes to see if he would choose to engage with me, but he stayed up on the top. He’s still there, so I don’t think he was impressed.
GOALS: I need to really get a handle on my goals again. He is so cleaver and friendly that I get a little carried away with the POTENTIAL. I am still trying to keep to three separate goals, a tame bird, a trained bird, and a talking bird.
I put my face very close to his lowest perch and talked to him for awhile. He seemed to really enjoy this kind of interaction. He tried some new toys and went in his bath all while looking at me and giving me a little “chirp” now and then. Greyjoy like’s an audience.
May 23, 2015
I replaced his perches today; the top has a natural Y shaped branch, the middle is a moldable rope prech, and the bottom is a natural straight perch. I also add two new food dishes and moved the one that came with the cage. He now has; a water dish, foraging/new food dish, “MASH”/fresh food dish, seed dish, and pellet dish. He is a pretty happy bird. I have been adding toys daily, but I’m still not sure what he likes to play with.
The big success of the day was that he let me touch him a few different times! He is becoming more and more comfortable with my hand. I do everything I can to make sure he has no reason to be to afraiud. One thing I do is do never bother hiom on his top persch. A few time today he let me touch him, ate some millet, and then flew away. I didn’t do any training today. Just a lot of taming and praise.
May 24, 2015
Greyjoy sat on my figer for five minutes.
We have been working on some VERY CASUAL version of recall.
I finally have a real clicker so I introduced that today.
May 26, 2015
I had wanted to make this Greyjoy’s first day with out of cage time, but we are not ready. One of the foundations of our relationship is a trust, and I really need to plan his first time out of the cage so that I don’t have to do anything that’s going to set us back. I want to make sure I choose the right space, and I have the time to make it a positive experience.
Today I have just been reinforcing everything else. I have spent several short sessions having him go from my hand to a perch to my hand.
May 27, 2015
I took GJ cage into a different room for about half an hour today. I just wanted to get him used to his cage moving. While he was in the other room I spent some time bird proofing his free flight room, it’s a unused half bath.
May 28, 2015
First time out of cage
And it was a thoroughly enjoy experience for both of us. I am so glad I managed my enthusiasm and waited until I was able to do it "right".
I brought the cage into the bird proofed half bath and set the age on the toilet. I set myself on the floor and opened the big door. GJ was very confused that a wall of his cage disappeared, but he was in no rush to explore. I sat on the floor and talked to him and watched a show in the ipad. After a bit I put my hand near him and asked him to step up, he flew out! He flew around and I did my best to "ignore" him. He flew into a few things, and finally settled on a high "perch". I talked to him and watched more TV. After a bit I went about cleaning out and rearranging his cage. It's the first real chance I've had since I got him, well over due! I also filled his seed cups with his breakfast to encourage him to come "home"
After I was done messing with his stuff I sat back down and watched more TV for a bit. Then I took some millet and approached him on his perch. He ate a bit, I praised him, and I sat back down. Another litter while and I used the millet to get him to step up! I feel like stepping up out of the cage is a whole other story than just doing it in the confined space, I was so thrilled!
I let him hang out for a bit longer and then it was time to get him back home. I took the top off of his cage because I could see that would be a lot less intimidating than trying to fly/climb around to the door. I did have to use a dowel to encourage him back into his cage. I wish we had more time, but all told we only had an hour today.
Hopefully this is the beginning of out of cage time for Greyjoy!
He seems happier than ever now that his cage is back in place. I thought it might be stressful and mellow him out for the rest of the day. Nope, he's chipping away at me now. He seems both grateful for the fun, and confused about what to do to make it happen again.
This might sound a bit strange, but he looks so much prettier now. His feathers look cleaner and they are laying more flush with his body. I've also noticed more little "fluffs" in the cage so I have to assume it helped with molting.
Tonight he’s started to clearly copy my whistle… The classic wolf whistle!