It's been about 4 months since Pudge's inception into our home. He'd always been really shy- he sits in his cage for hours on end doing nothing- only moving to eat/drink or change places in his cage.
I was worried about how antisocial and un-playful he was, so we got a cockatiel after reading about how they can (sort of) get along. So in came Pumpkin the cockatiel.
Pumpkin is mega-sweet. She bonded to us from day one and always wants attention. She's curious, friendly, and very very playful. Once she was properly integrated into the house we decided it was time for her to meet Pudge.
At first, once Pudge got the change he immediately went into Pumpkin's cage to meet her. She was nippy and hissed and so he learned to stay away. Eventually she got curious and offered her head to be groomed by him, and gently nibbled at his feet when he wouldn't groom her. (She still grabs his little feet and often licks and grooms his feet and he just stands there and lets her do it, teetering on one leg)
For a while, Pumpkin's prescence was great. Pudge was finally grooming himself, something he never did alone. He still didn't play with toys, but we thought he might learn to do that because Pumpkin did- since he often only started grooming when he saw her doing it.
It's been a month now and Pudge hasn't improved. Cockatiel still sometimes gets bossy with a perch occasionally and Pudge refuses to be driven away- acking at her until she gives up the perch or just sitting there and ignoring her, and then she also offers to be groomed often or grooms his little feet while he sits there. Pudge doesn't play with toys, and I noticed recently his beak was looking a little long not overgrown status or anything, just slightly longer than it used to be/should be. Pudge doesn't do anything that appears to be 'beak maintenance and I wonder if any other aspects of his lifestyle are also detrimental to his health.
Pudge chirps and gets excited in the morning when Pumpkin flies around or chirps a lot. On rare occasions he's chirped for Pumpkin when I took her out of the room with me.
This month I only just changed their food over to Nutriberries and Harrison's high potency pellets.
Pudge was originally getting bumblefoot when I first got him (his feet were a little red) until I switched to rope perches, manzanita branches, and cholla cactus wood and it improved significantly.
Pudge's weight also went up from 28g to 31g which is great because he is just so small. Aside from the fact that he prefers to just sit in one place in his cage for hours on end, we always take him out to explore a little bit and he does get a little flapping and hopping done- but ultimately just wants to return to his cage.
Everything appears to be right with his health aside from him not playing with toys, I'm unsure if I should keep Pudge here if it means he won't be comfortable enough to play and interact. He originally was caged with many other budgies and I think he won't be happy unless he's with another budgie- and I'm unsure if I could swing getting another budgie that he likes. We play loads of videos of budgie noises for him and there's only a budgie from a certain video (her name is Aqua) that he actively chirps to. He doesn't care for any other budgie sounds- just her's.
Sorry this is so long, just trying to cover all bases I can.
Last edited by juniorhues; 10-14-2016 at 06:39 PM.
From your post I assume you adopted Pudge, sounds like he didn't have the best start and you are doing your best.
I know the guys here will come up with loads of brilliant advice and tips, and I hope things get better for your little baby soon.
Sounds like he has a wonderful birdie parent with you.
Hi, just like people some budgies will be quieter and happy sitting.
Others will be lively and entertaining, love playing with toys. If Pudge cam efrom an aviary situation then he will be more flock orientated and not used to having toys. Don't give up on him do you have him doing step up and spending time with you as a friend? Talking to him and making funny sounds, offering him treats from your fingers will encourage him to come close and start to be more interactive. Does he react when he sees himself in a mirror at all?
Please do be careful when he is being groomed by Pumpkin as tiels can and do bite very hard.
It sounds like you are providing Pudge with a enough options to play and entertain himself.
Sometimes the toys that are the simplest are the favourites. Have you tried some simple kabob for shredding? And try putting it next to where Pudge perches often?
When a budgie doesn't know how to play with toys they often need encouragement with how to play with them. You could try playing with some toys with Pumpkin and see if Pudge is interested and watches you and then give him the chance to play with the same toy later on.
But as others have already mentioned, personality is a big thing and probably that and the aviary conditions are what has lead to Pudge being a little more reserved.
When I let my ten budgies out together, I have a couple who will either not come out at all, or only come out for a short amount of time with the others and then return to their cage. As this is where they are most comfortable and leaving the cage door open so they can come out again, I let them do what they want.
Sage has always been very much a cage dweller once she matured into an adult and even when she does come out, she prefers to sit on her own whereas the others will fly around together and play with things I've left out for them.
If Pudge is happy not to play then there's not much you can do besides keep trying toys with him. As you have Pumpkin, no toy will go to waste if he decides not to play with it, and you are giving him the chance if he wants to play.
@pretty_boy He will step up (much easier for my boyfriend than for me, even the stubborn little bean has his preferences) and we can both get him to eat seed from our hands. He gets a little nervous yet but overall he's not scared we're going to hurt him, and he'll even hop on our hands if we're trying to take his food bowl from his cage for refilling. Mirrors have zero effect on Pudge, but Pumpkin loves to go into his cage and tip it upsidown and through the bars of the cage so it falls down. Haven't seen Pudge attempting this 'trick' as of yet. Ah! I almost forgot he loves his swing, that's about the only thing he really uses as a 'toy' as in he prefers to sit there when it's nap time.
@Therm I've tried a multitude of toys, including bells and mirrors which I hear a lot of budgies are deftly fond of! They get the same amount of attention no matter how long they've been in there- they don't even get a courtesy beaking. Pumpkin has no problem with the toys he doesn't like of course- she takes 3 seconds to assess what it is, and then proceeds to be incredibly noisy with it. Pudge watches her do with with a little bit of interest, but he prefers to just sit there like a penguin. Pudge is sort of like some of your more anti-social birds! When I think about it, he does sometimes like to sit on his little 'bridge' as we like to call it and watch us when we're with Pumpkin or just in general. The door to his cage folds out and lays horizontal so he can sit on it, and he'll come out and hunch and watch what's going on before popping back in on his comfy rope perch. Pudge will also tolerate being taken to Pumpkin's cage to sit next to her or enjoy her cactus perch. Of his own volition he'll eventually make his way back to his cage if Pumpkin gets annoying, or he'll stay and the two will take a nap together.
I'm guessing it really must be his personality, he only grows every day. We're always watching and supervising him and making sure he eats and gets his water each day and that he gets some outside time and climbing time. I'm expectant that he'll open up, but if he stays his Pudgey Budgey way that's fine, so long as he's happy and healthy.
As a side note, do you guys have any special mineral bars or organic woods/toys that all of your budgies like to chew on? I'd like to see if I could get him chewing/destroying something.
So Pumpkin has the cactus perch in her cage that she chews on incessantly, she absolutely adores chewing on the thing. Pudge has been in Pumpkin's cage all day sitting quietly and beak grinding a bit. I turn around to check on them, hearing Pumpkin throwing her food as usual, and I actually see Pudge chewing on the cactus branch!!! He was chewing it the way that Pumpkin does, and I literally just burst into tears. This has given me so much hope, and having Pumpkin here really has made a huge difference in him- even if it seems at first not to work!
Are you spending time with Pudge one-on-one each day on a regular and consistent basis?
Even sitting next to his cage talking, reading, singing to him, and playing with his toys to try to get him interested in them will be beneficial.
In reading everything you've written, it seems as if Pudge would be happier with a same species male buddy to pal around with. If you have the means to do so, you may want to consider getting him a budgie friend.
Of course, this means the new bird would need to be quarantined prior to introduction in neutral territory.
Although some budgies are quieter than others, the fact that Pudge has shown interest in Pumpkin indicates to me that a same species friend may be what he needs.
He will probably never be a completely active and "playful" budgie but I believe he probably would be much happier with a friend.
With regard to shredding/chewing toys, you can take a look at this link for suggestions:
I have a manu mineral rose and a comfy clam perch that the budgies (and cockatiels) like to gnaw on. I have no idea if they are ingesting it or just enjoying taking it apart, but either way I'm happy. One budgie I have who, like yours, is not much into toys, does like her insight sand swing and grinds her beak on it.
I agree with Faerybee that Pudge would definitely benefit from a male budgie friend. As far for the beak problem, some Budgies do need trimming, you should visit your Avian vet for that. I like to make sure I always have a cuttlebone and mineral block in the cage. Do you have either of those in there for Pudge? Either way, it sounds like Pudge is definitely coming around!