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Budgie taming questions

Milly23

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So I have a newish budgie, have had him for 2 months, and he lets me come up to him with an outstretched finger, he is fairly confident, but when I touch the finger to him, in the step up way, nudging it against his chest, he completely freezes, and doesn't seem to understand. I'm worried that I will hurt or traumatise him, or make him mistrust me, by pushing too hard when he doesn't understand. Do you think that I should persist, or try some other training method? Any advice would be appreciated thanks :)
 

Vmax

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Maybe start by letting him step onto your hand to retrieve a favorite treat? 2 months may seem like a while, but I’ve found bird time to be right when they’re ready and not a minute before. Hopefully someone with more experience will respond. Do you have any pictures of your budgie? What’s his name?
 

Milly23

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Thanks for your advice!
His name is Mika, he's pretty small and so cute!! So small that he was squeezing through and escaping through gaps in his cage (I ziptied them up lol). Here's a picture:
View attachment 331512 Sorry it's pretty bad but he despises the camera. I have yet to find a treat that he will go crazy for, he won't take millet, barely nibbles spinach, he loves seed bell but I don't know if that would work, he'd probably be pretty terrified with a whole seed bell coming into the cage on my hand! I could try it when he's out though...
Also I am transitioning him to pellets, but it hasn't really worked, so I thought why not stay on a half and half mix of seeds and pellets, mixed with water, so the seeds get coated in pellet. This way he eats something he likes, but also gets the nutrients from pellets? Its super messy though, he flicks it everywhere!
 

Vmax

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Oh, the floors and walls near their cages get more food than my two birbs:rofl: they flick so much out! That made me laugh out loud. I had to transition Gus to pellets, when we adopted him. He’s still likely to give the stink side eye to anything other than seeds!
 

Vmax

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Sitting near his cage and reading to him or talking to him in a gentle voice helps to reassure him he can trust you. I sometimes sang to Gus....about as “pretty” as his squawking. I still sit and drink my coffee near their cages in the morning.
 

Monica

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Budgies shouldn't be on a completely seed free diet anyway.. 50/50 is fine!

Have you tried offering enough food to last through the day then try training first thing in the morning for 5-15 minutes before refreshing the food for the day? If a bird is full, they are less likely to work for food.

Please do not force him to step up. Pushing into his stomach or chest is force. Instead, work with him in such a way that it's *his* idea to step up! ;)
 

Milly23

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Hi, so I tried what you said, putting my hand with food on it in before giving him his food bowl. He didn't take the food, but he was considering it it seemed like, and he started preening, on one foot and everything, while my hand was about 10cm away, so that was pretty cool that he trusted me to be able to do that. I'll keep trying with this method!
 

Lady Jane

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Please do not force him to step up. Pushing into his stomach or chest is force. Instead, work with him in such a way that it's *his* idea to step up! ;)

Just what I was going to advise you. Make your hand/finger appealing by holding a small piece of millet spray. No budgie can refuse millet.
 

Milly23

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Hi, so I kept persisting, its been a week now and he still hasn't taken the food but we're getting there I think - he eyes it up and seems to give it thought each morning. However, he used to come out of his cage a lot which was good because it was a good environment to train him in, but he hasn't come out in ages, I'm worried he might gain weight or get health problems. The only change that has been made is that I've raised the height of his cage to make him feel safer, he's at eye level now. Should I just leave it and continue to tame him so that I can take him out, or are there any suggestions for coaxing him out? He has clipped wings, I'm going to let them grow back though, but it's sad because the pet shop clipped the wings of my last budgie and it really knocked his confidence when they grew back.
 

Miss_sj

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Keep talking to him softly, spend time reading to him, and offer him some millet. He will learn to trust you and to be your friend.

It may be an unpopular opinion, but I never really persisted with teaching my male budgie to step up. He wasn't interested. We are the best of friends, and he does enjoy sitting on my hand or shoulder and loves my company. To this day, he only steps up if HE wants to.
 

Milly23

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Progress!!! He just didn't seem that excited about the millet so I tried something he does get excited about - his food in the morning. He is now eating from his little food bowl which is in my hand, has done this twice now! In a week or two when he's gotten used to the food bowl in my hand, I'll switch hands so that he has to step onto my hand to eat. I also sat and hummed to him, and carried his cage down the hallway for family movie night which he enjoyed (he had to go to bed halfway through though lol). I'll keep you updated!
 

Gribouille

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About the pellets: My vet advised to give pellets in the morning, and seeds in the afternoon (better with sprouted seeds than dry ones though). It may take time before he realizes that pellets are food, but once he has eaten some he will get the idea and go back to them. Use the bowl he usually eats from and place it at the usual place, with only pellets in.
Once he has accepted pellets, you could start to offer chopped veggies too :)

As for the step up, it looks like you have made progress already! But I was wondering when you said you push his chest.. For step up you are supposed to place your finger in front of his feet parallel with the perch, and gently touch his belly just over the feet. Could it be that you touched him too high?
 

Milly23

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I hope I wasn't pushing too high... I have watched videos where I saw where they were pushing and tried to do that, but I don't know. But we have made progress again, today he put both feet on the dish so I was able to move the dish around the cage a little with him sitting on it, and he just kept eating!
 

Monica

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I don't recommend pushing into them at all.... we want to make it *their* idea to step up, not ours. By pushing into the stomach or chest, we're making it our idea which may cause some hand aversions or aggression.
 

Milly23

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More progress! Managed to take him on the food bowl a few metres away from the cage, sat there for 10 mins roughly, but when I tried to take him back to his cage he got scared and flew off, so we'll work on that. Still, heaps of progress in a week and a bit! After he flew away I played bop it which he likes to get him in a better mood, I have to put a sock over the speaker otherwise it's too loud and he gets scared lol!
 

Milly23

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Yay!!!!!
He has been stepping onto my hand while he eats for the last 3 days, pretty floofy and comfortable, he ate millet out of my hand while he sat there as a treat, but it is difficult to reward him for this. He comes out of the cage while sitting on my hand and eating from the food bowl, halfway through his eating I take the bowl and give him a treat of millet, but often when we have finished he goes straight to his bowl and eats. I worry that he sees our training as an obstruction from his breakfast, rather than it being positive and rewarding. Any thoughts on how I could fix this?
 

Monica

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Just keep working with him. If you'd like, you can start some actual training such as target training so he can gain trust and confidence.
 
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