As you told me to do, I separated Celeste, my three-month old female budgie, from her aggressive parents, also because I want to tame her.
This is her new cage:
It is just 18 x 10,5 x 12 (inches), so it is really small, but she often comes out of it and flies in my bedroom.
I'm going to replace the plastic platform (which helps her move with her slip claws) with a wooden one, but I think there is no room for natural word perches, unfortunately.
Is there anything else I forgot to put in the cage?
Anyway, being alone in a new environment definitely changed Celeste positively.
First of all, she doesn't bite me hard anymore, and she is much more prone to jump on my finger.
She doesn't really like to be handled or touched, and I still have to figure out if she acts like this because she doesn't fully trust me or because she doesn't like it at all.
Plus, as I said before, she likes to come out of the cage; as soon as she sees me, she starts running on the platform until I open the cage door.
But when she comes out, she also tries to leave the room to reach her parents.
This is my question: is it okay to let her see them sometimes, or would it be better to keep them completely apart, so that Celeste will more easily get used to be alone and to socialize with me?
Thanks in advance.
I'd keep Celeste completely apart from her parents, at least for a few months.
Replacing the plastic platform with one of wood is definitely advisable.
I'd give her a natural wood perch of varying diameters to sit on when she is outside of her cage.
If you can find a grapevine perch, they are generally pretty wide and she should be able to sit on it even with her slip claws.
Does she have other toys to play with when she is outside the cage?
Shredding toys or the yucca bird kabobs are good choices.
So, Celeste, as I said before, has shown not to be afraid of me. She is fine with me being near the cage and talking, with my hand on/inside the cage, and she takes the millet I give her with no hesitation.
However, she still doesn't like to be handled or touched. For example, if I try to make her step on my finger, Celeste either walks away or bites (but, luckily, not as hard as she did when she lived with her parents).
Sometimes, when she is out of the cage, she steps on my finger, but I think she only does it when she wants to reach the cage and needs help (she can't do it by herself because she doesn't fly very well).
If, when this happens, I put her on my shoulder, she stays there and doesn't try to fly away.
She did her first and last act of affection, if we can call It that, a few hours ago: she was singing and I put my finger in the cage through the bars, in front of her, she sang to it and regurgitated a seed.
My question is: is there anything in particolar I should do to develop a bond with her or should I simply go on like this?
Thanks in advance.
Celeste has definitely made some progresses, as she prefers to stay on an external platform rather than inside her cage, and almost always accepts head scratches from me and my family.
However, she still hates to stay on my finger/hand, as she bites them as soon as I put them near her, making a a sound that means that she is bothered. And I don't understand why: I mean, if she feels confident enough with my finger to let me scratch her head, then she should also "trust" my finger/hand enough to jump on it, right?
Did anyone ever own a budgie who acted like Celeste?
I also thought this behaviour might be caused by her handicap. She has slip claws, so she can't hold on perches/fingers/hands like other budgies do (in her right foot both her back toes are faced forward, so she just puts her right foot on the perch, not holding on at all). Is it possibile that she doesn't want to jump on my finger/hand because she is afraid of not being able to hold on and falling?
In this case, what should I do?
It could be a lot of things. Fear, not being respected, agression over territory... squeeky toy noises, or other no touch sounds make me think its she doesnt want to leave where she is at. I cant say that for sure but thats what those noises mean.
I'd say 1. Take a step back and read her, what is the context of the situation? Is she in a teenage phase (i dont know her age) could your approach be making her unhappy, is she molting (ziggy is being a total grump right now while he has a major molt). Trust is finicky and not as strait forward as we want to think. She may trust your fingers for some things but not as a perch.
2. If you are not already, try offering for her to step up onto your hand, palm up. It would give her a better area to stand if her foot does limit her ability to perch. That said take things at her pace. Reward her for tolorating your hand being closer to her, for not biting, and eventually for stepping up.
If she is in the age range to be in the teenage phase then respect she wants to be a strong independent budgie who dont need no human. Keep working with her but back off when she lets you know.
I dont know if that will help but im sure someone with more experience will be able to offer better advice. I am limeted to only ever having my one girl Stardust, and Maru id my first experience with the teenage phase. Each bird is diffrent so keep that in mind when looking for advice.
Celeste will be five months old in less than two weeks, so I guess it is like you said, she is in a teenage phase.
However, in the last two days she stepped up on my finger a couple of times per day, so I probably just need to wait that she gets used to stay on it. Offering her to step up on my hand (palm up) instead of my finger, though, is a good idea, perhaps she would feel safer.
Anyway, Celeste gave positive results in target training.
Here is what I would call "a cheap version of a target click stick":
It is just a pen with a small part of the culm of a millet spike. But it works perfectly for her, as she learned to bite the stick in just two days, end even to follow it when I move it or to reach it if it is on the other side of the wooden platform where we have the training sessions (she moves more easily on platforms rather than on perches because of her handicap) with little to no hesitation.
As you have suggested me in your thread, I will reinforce the target training for a little while longer, and then I will start to teach her a new trick.
I'm not entirely sure about what trick I should start with, though. I wanted to start with a trick that didn't need any new objects she could be afraid of, but her handicap (slip claws, in her left foot one of her back toes is faced forward, while in her right foot both the back toes are faced forward... so she can't hold very well with the left one and she can't hold at all with the right one) makes it hard for her even to lift a foot or move quickly, not only to hold onto things.
This is why I can't teach to her to wave, "shake hands", turn around, loop around my finger, hang on my finger like a bat, or even fly to me when I call her and go back to the perch/platform because when she lands she obviously slips, as she can't grab anything, and it could be dangerous.
Perhaps I could teach her to nod yes and shake head no, and to walk through an "arch" made by the platform and my index and thumb (do you get the idea?). What do you think? Do you know any other simple tricks she could do in her condition?
Sorry for the wordy reply. But thank you very much for reading and answering my thread! And thanks in advance!
Hi there, I’ve been following Celeste’s story and I’m so pleased she’s starting to become more tame and is starting to bond with you. I just wanted to suggest, you could teach her to dance. She would just need to follow the target stick up and down, bopping up and down as she goes. This wouldn’t require her to move her feet at all, only her body would move up and down. I hope this makes sense, and good luck. I look forward to further updates.
It would be fun to see Celeste "dancing", but I'm afraid she might get confused in learning two tricks that require the same training and motion: for the nodding yes trick the budgie has to follow the target moving their head up and down, exactly like for the dancing trick.
But thank you so much anyway.
By the way, I found another trick that doesn't need any object: the wings/big eagle trick.
So, the first tricks I'm going to try to teach her are: 1. Nod yes 2. Shake head no 3. Walk through "arch" (made by my index and thumb and the platform) 4. Wings/Big eagle
I will give you updates about her progresses, perhaps I will even upload some videos on YouTube of Celeste performing tricks so that you will be able to see them, hopefully.
And if you can think of other simple tricks with no objects that Celeste could do even with her handicap, please let me know!
I tried to teach Celeste to nod yes for the whole week, with poor results.
I was about to switch to another trick when, while I was doing some research online, I realized what (in my opinion) the problem is.
It is not recommended to train the birds on their cages because they can easily get distracted, and guess what - I was training her on an external perch attached to her cage.
Even though I have a place where I could train her, a shelf, that would also help her move and walk, considering her handicap, I think taking her there when she still doesn't want to get on my hand is a bad idea. I would have to grab her every time I want to teach her something, and this would only worsen our relationship.
This is why the first thing I should teach her, in my opinion, is to step up on my hand, she needs to feel safe on me as much as she does on her cage.
When she will trust me enough to get on my hand with no hesitation or difficulty, then I will start the actual training.
Do you agree?
Besides that, as I've posted on my other thread "Possibly overweight budgie", I let Sid and Stella out of their cage yesterday.
And I wanted to ask you about something Sid did, and usually does: he is pretty used to step up on my finger because he knows that he gets treats when he does it.
But when he is on my hand with nothing in his beak (because he has already eaten the treat or because I didn't give him a treat at all, as happened yesterday) he starts biting my hand really hard.
Why do you think he acts like this?
It doesn't make sense to me: biting me because he doesn't want to jump on my finger would make sense, but biting me after getting on my finger doesn't, he could easily leave if he doesn't want to stay on it.
(Keep in mind that Sid is at least 6 years old.)
First, there is good news: Celeste has become really attached to me. Until a week ago or so, she used to accept head scratches from me less than she did with my relatives, and got out of her cage when they called her, but not when I did it.
But now, she is so sweet. She accepts head scratches from me all the time, and when I put my head near her she chirps at me and gives me scratches on my nose. She even tries to regurgitate seeds to me or my fingers sometimes!
She also steps up on my finger very often:
I am so happy she doesn't hate to stay on my hands anymore.
This is truly the best relationship I have ever had with a pet until now!
I know she will likely become less accepting of scratches as she will get older (she is only five months old) but I will make sure I spend a lot of time with her to keep our relationship as beautiful as it is now.
And about the tricks... well, it is something else entirely,... unfortunately.
I decided to keep training her on the external perch of her cage. She doesn't fly very well, so taking her somewhere else in the room, or in the house, where she can't reach or see her cage doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
I know it might be harder to teach her the tricks this way, but it is better than putting her in a place that doesn't give her the freedom to go back to her cage on her own, in my opinion.
That being said, I put aside the idea of teaching her to "nod yes" and "shake head no", at least for the moment.
I found an only video on YouTube of a budgie performing the first trick, and none of one performing the second one.
I thought that perhaps these tricks are harder than they seem for a budgie, and it would be better to start with something I am sure they can learn.
Out of the five tricks I taught to my budgie Sole, who passed away a year ago, four (wave, come when called, shake, turn around) would be impossible/very hard for Celeste, because of her handicap, so I decided to start with the only one left: the "flip card" trick.
However, as a member of a bird species known for enjoying to chew on things, Celeste showed me that a playing card wouldn't last long near her beak.
So, for now, I am using a plasticised card (from a game I used to play when I was a kid) that she can't rip to pieces. I hope I will be able to replace it with the playing card once she has learned the trick.
I started to use the new card only a few hours ago, so Celeste didn't obviously do anything but randomly biting it.
In the meantime, I am also trying to teach her the "wings/big eagle" trick, but I think it will take a lot of time because I have to make a gesture with my fingers, say the word "wings", click the clicker and give her a treat when she raises her wings while stretching, and it is difficult to catch her doing that, and when I see her doing that I am often unprepared.
This is the only trick that doesn't require objects, as I decided not to teach her the other one (go through "arch") because she would have to walk under my hand, so she might think I am going to grab her, something parrots hate, and I don't want Celeste to do something that makes her uncomfortable.
Anyway, I am sure that with some practice she will learn both the tricks.