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How to make a new budgie comfortable & how to start taming

Mackenzie Gary

Budgies

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I get asked these questions all the time so I thought it was time to make a long informative post to help you guys out!

The first question is: How do I make my new budgie feel comfortable and safe once I bring it home?

And the second is: How do I tame my budgie & make it friendly?

These questions go hand in hand and you must work on making your budgie feel comfortable before you work on taming.

What should you expect when you bring your budgie home and how do you make it feel comfortable and safe?

What you should expect may be different depending on the individual budgie but generally most budgies will be quite scared when you bring them home.

You can expect your budgie to sit very quietly in its new cage, not moving, not eating, not chirping, and showing you that it’s uncomfortable and afraid.

This is perfectly normal and most budgies will act this way especially if they are young or if you’re bringing home a single budgie.

If you bring home two budgies your experience may be different as they feel safer in pairs and they have each other for support.

If you bring home a very young budgie it is also normal for them to sit on the bottom of their cage or even in their food dish as this reminds them of the safety of the nest box.

While all these behaviors may be of concern normally when you bring your budgie home they are perfectly normal ways for budgies to cope- but they should begin to settle into their new home in the next 24 hours.

You must give your budgie time to settle in and get used to its new surroundings.

Things you should do to help:

  • Make sure your budgie’s cage is up against a wall- not out in the middle of a room, this way they don’t have to keep watch all around them worrying about dangers and can feel safe against the back corners of their cage.
  • You can add a light sheet or towel over the back & top of their cage leaving the sides and front uncovered to help them feel more secure- this is especially helpful at night time.
  • Do sit quietly by their cage, talk to them, read to them & just spend time doing calm quiet things around them so they can get used to you.

Things you should NOT do while your budgie is settling in:

  • Do not try to get your budgie out of the cage to fly
  • Do not try to touch, pat, or hold your budgie
  • Do not speak loudly or move quickly around their cage
  • Do not play loud music

Over the next 24 hours to 1 week, your budgie should start showing signs of being more comfortable in its new surroundings.

If your budgie is now feeling more comfortable with your presence around the cage these are the things you will notice:

  • Your budgie will now eat & drink water with you in the room
  • Your budgie will fall asleep with you in the room
  • Your budgie will preen while you’re in the room.
  • Your budgie may play with toys & move around its cage without taking much notice of you

If your budgie is doing some or all of the above things you are now ready to move on to taming!

so how do you tame your budgie?

Before I talk about this process I want to make a quick very important note for you all to read and think about:

Taming your budgie is something that should be done for the purpose of improving your budgies life and building a good relationship and bond with them.

Taming can take weeks, months, or sometimes years and you must do this for the right reasons.

You should always respect your budgie and be patient when it comes to taming or you will not be successful and your budgie may become more afraid of you than it was to start with.

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I know many people buy a budgie and want it to immediately be tame, and be able to hold it and pat it. But I want you to know that this rarely happens. Taming takes time and patience.

I also want you to know that when your budget DOES become tame after all the work, effort, time and patience you have put in you’re going to feel SO HAPPY and so good about yourself!

Your relationship will be wonderful with your little companion so don’t give up, don’t rush things & remember to take the time to recognise how wonderful your little budgie is despite whether he or she is tame or not yet J

Okay onto taming!

Things you will need:

  1. A budgie
  2. Patience and time
  3. Millet, seeds, or a treat your budgie loves

First step:

Your very first step is to add your hand into your budgie’s cage. What you need to do is stick your hand right inside the doorway of your budgie’s cage and just sit there, nice and still. Do not try to move close to your budgie.

You want to sit with your hand inside the cage for at least 5-10 minute periods once a day or several times a day.

The aim of this is to get your budgie used to the fact that your hand is there and that you are not trying to grab it or do anything harmful- many budgies have been terrified of being in pet stores and their only knowledge of humans’ hands is them flying into the cage and grabbing budgies…

so the point of this is for them to have a new memory of hands & for them to realize your hand isn’t there to grab them.

Your budgie may become scared the first few times you put your hand in the cage, they may fly around or they may choose to sit as far away from you as possible!

After a while your budgie should calm down, realise you aren’t going near him/her and begin to care less that your hand is in the cage.

At this point, some budgies will decide to come and investigate your hand!

This is great if they do but it’s important you don’t flinch or move too quickly as you don’t want to undo the work you’ve already done.

When you feel your budgie is ready you can start slowly moving your hand closer to where they are sitting each day and hopefully your bird will become interested in your hand!

Second step:

Now your budgie is getting more used to you and hopefully not reacting in a negative way when your hand enters the cage. Now is when the treats come in!

Before you do this step you may want to make sure you have introduced your budgie to millet! As once budgies get a taste for it most will do anything for a nibble!

My suggestion is to leave some in their cage for a few days and when you’ve noticed they’ve eaten some or even better if you have seen them eat some you can then take it out!

So you’re now ready to start the second step. Begin by removing your budgie’s food dish at least 2-3 hours before you plan to start taming.

This will ensure your budgie is a little bit hungry and more likely that he/she will come to you for food.

Now holding your millet put your hand inside the cage as you usually do, slowly moving your hand close to where your budgie is.

If your budgie is scared and begins to fly around just keep your hand still and wait for them to calm down.

You now want to basically sit there still like you have been the other days, but hold the millet and hopefully your budgie will come up and have a little nibble of the millet.

Your budgie might not try the millet the first day you do this its okay!

See also  Do Budgies Like to Be Held?

Be patient and continue this step until they build up the confidence to come eat the millet from your hand.

I like to hold the millet so the budgie can get the millet without coming too close to my hand.

If you hold it in a way that they have to come very close to get the millet you’ll likely be less successful.

Third step:

Once your budgie has begun to eat the millet from your hand you can move on to the third step which is slowly positioning your millet so your budgie has to come closer to your hand to get to the millet.

Each day you should be aiming for your budgie to get closer to your hand.

Some budgies will fly through this first step and one day just jump onto your hand! Others will take time so don’t worry.

When your budgie is becoming very confident eating the millet you want to position your hand in a way that they have to step onto your finger to get the millet!

This again might take several days to get it right, and once your budgie has stepped onto your hand you want them to do it several more times with confidence!

By now your budgie should be feeling a LOT safer and happy around you.

They should know now that every time your hand goes into the cage some yummy millet comes with it there to add a positive link to you and your hand!

Fourth step:

Step number four- well done for getting this far J

Now is when you want to start adding your hand in without millet again… what?!

Yep so you want to start teaching your budgie to step up without a reward!

Keep adding your hand into the cage as usual, sometimes with millet and sometimes without.

so your budgie will happily come over and explore your hand.

At this point it’s normal if your budgie bites your fingers, rings, and jewelry and begins to explore your hands further (these bites should only be nibbles and shouldn’t hurt or draw blood!) he or she should just be exploring and using his/her beak as a third hand!.

 He or she may even start running up your arm a little and wanting to come out the door.

Always talk to your budgie and praise him or her when he/she comes onto your hand!

Fifth step:

By now you should be feeling pretty confident with your relationship with your budgie.

It’s time to take the final step of taking your bird outside of the cage.

It’s very important that before you do this step you feel confident with your abilities to handle your bird and that you have bird-proofed your room!

How to birdproof? The main thing is to:

  • Make sure all doors are closed so your budgie only has access to the room his/her cage is in.
  • Make sure any large mirrors are covered and that the blinds on your windows are down if possible to protect your budgie from flying straight into the window. (same goes for glass mirrors).
  • Make sure there is a place your budgie can safely land if he/she is fully flighted. Setting up some rope perches on the outside of the cage is a great idea, and buying a small play gym you can either place on top of the cage or a table somewhere in the room.
  • Make sure no little items are laying around that your budgie could chew on/choke on.

Always make sure you have PLENTY of time before you let your budgie out of the cage because you don’t know how long it will be before you can get them back into the cage or when they will go back in themselves!

What you should do:

Put your hand in the cage and get your budgie to step up, slowly start moving your hand towards the doorway, and bring them outside of the cage (This might take more than one try).

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Never grab your budgie to get them to come outside of the cage.

When you get them outside the cage have millet handy to give them a treat.

Your budgie may choose to stay close to you & be too afraid to fly around which is fine. If your budgie chooses to stay with you keep the session short & positive and end it by putting your bird back into the cage and giving a treat.

If your bird decides to fly:

Stay calm- it is VERY normal for birds flying outside their cage for the first time to fly a bit crazy, crash into things, and be scared/not know where to fly.

You must stay calm and STAY STILL. If you begin to move around trying to catch your bird or stop them from flying into something it will just make the situation worse as you’re a very large moving object when they are already scared.

Eventually, your bird will land somewhere- even possibly on the floor!

When your bird has landed you can go over and gently offer them your finger to step up onto if they are frightened.

Stay low to the ground if you can this way they are less likely to take off again and crash into something.

If your bird does step up, do give them a treat- make every situation positive. Then slowly take them back to their cage if you can. End the session there and keep each session short until they become more confident outside the cage.

If your budgie won’t step up when it’s outside the cage:

If you think your budgie knows how to get back to their cage/ if they are just having too much fun flying around and don’t want to go back just be patient and leave their cage door open so they can go back in when they’re hungry.

You must stay with them and supervise them at all times. While he/she is out of the cage try and get him/her to step up onto your finger and give some millet as a treat.

If your bird is refusing to step up, acting very frightened, or won’t let you near it and you need it to go back into the cage:

Get a normal dowel perch ready- use this to get your budgie to step up and slowly move them back towards their cage.

Hopefully doing this you may be able to get them back to their cage safely- they may even see their cage and go back in.

If you absolutely must get your bird back into the cage for some reason-

for example, if they won’t calm down and keep crashing into things.

Get a tea towel or some kind of light cloth and use this to pick them up and return them to the cage.

I don’t recommend grabbing your budgies but if you ever have to for safety reasons do it with a cloth or tea towel so they don’t associate it with your hand!

Sixth step:

The sixth step is up to you, I would suggest continuing to work on getting your bird to step up, come out of the cage with you & fly around, and land comfortably in your room.

The more you repeat steps four & five the more your bird will get to be very comfortable with you and everything will become effortless. Once you have developed this bond with your budgie it generally stays for life.

It’s now up to you whether you want to try and teach your budgie’s different tricks as some people do or whether you just want them to be able to step up, come out of the cage and spend some quality time with you!

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