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Building relationship with my budgies.

peesh

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35
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Ulyana
Hello everyone, I haven't posted on this forum in a while! Right now I have two budgies, Peeko and Reifa. Due to some circumstances, they have to share a cage right now (it originally belonged just to Peeko) and I'm planning on separating them this month. I wanted to ask for some advice on building my bond with both of them.
I've had Peeko since January 2021 and so far she has grown used to me (she isn't bothered in the slightest when I put my hand in the cage and she takes treats from my hands, as well as (sometimes hesistantly) steps up, but only for treats). It was a huge journey for us, I first had to teach her that spray millet was actually food, then she ended up cage bound after being outside two times and terrified both those times (until the point i brought Reifa home). She is overall pretty timid and shy.
In late 2021 I brought home Rei, she was just about 3 months old and I thought it would be easier to build a bond with her, and that maybe that would show Peeko that she can trust me as well. She first showed Peeko that she can leave the cage, so they started going outside together. She learned pretty quickly to step up onto my finger for treats and Peeko learned that from her as well. She still goes away from my hand when I put it in the cage, though. Right now Peeko and Reifa seem to share a certain bond, but recently Rei has been showing very clearly that she has claimed the cage territory all to herself (which was expected, honestly, because they are both females) so I'm separating them soon and leaving this cage to Rei.
My problem is, I interact with my birds regularly and try my best to read their body language, but they both only seem to want to interact with me when there's food involved. I'm not even talking about scritches/coming to me. Rei won't even sit on my finger for longer than she has food in reach and when i have no food for her she doesn't want to do anything with me and flies away immediately. Peeko is just okay with my presence and sometimes doesn't even want to interact with me for food. I want to know how I can show them they can trust me while not being pushy (because sometimes I feel so). I know patience is key, but there has been near zero progress the last few months and they've been with me for longer than that :[
And, another problem coming from this, when my birds are outside, they only sit on top of their cage and fly around the room without landing anywhere else. Because they don't trust me, they fly back to their cage whenever I try to put them from my finger onto a new surface (table, shelf etc.) I have put a playstand and their toys in various parts of the room but they never seem interested. Though they have had a weird couple of days once when they would sit in my lap eating millet and Rei even came to the other side of the room with me and sat on my bed but that was once and I have zero idea what that was.
Of course, as part of the bonding process I have trained them (so far it's only target training with both), they chatter when I talk or sing, they gladly eat veggies from my hands and all these things, so it's not like they're terrified of me. Sorry for the long post, but it's just like we've hit a dead end somewhere and I can't understand what I'm doing wrong.
 
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expressmailtome

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tka

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@Ripshod has a group of budgies and can offer advice. The key thing is to become a member of their flock. They have each other and another budgie is going to be better company than any human could be. What can you offer them? Why should they be interested in you? Ask yourself what you can bring to this relationship. Perhaps it is food. Perhaps it is treats and mental stimulation through training. Perhaps it's fun like singing and dancing together.
 

peesh

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Ulyana
@Ripshod has a group of budgies and can offer advice. The key thing is to become a member of their flock. They have each other and another budgie is going to be better company than any human could be. What can you offer them? Why should they be interested in you? Ask yourself what you can bring to this relationship. Perhaps it is food. Perhaps it is treats and mental stimulation through training. Perhaps it's fun like singing and dancing together.
Thank you for your reply! I have previously thought a lot about the concept of being part of their flock. And I usually notice many behaviours in them that indicate they do see me as a member of it. As I mentioned, they like singing together with me, and Rei likes to stare at me and come really close to my face when inside the cage. Also, Peeko only ever tried spray millet because I pretended to eat it and acted like I liked it. They are interested in training, too. So I think I surely play some role in their flock. Maybe they just don't like physical interaction at all (they rarely physically interact with each other too, besides sharing food, but it's been hard for them to share their cage lately, so maybe they just don't like each other). Anyway, I really don't want to force myself onto them, so if the way we interact with each other right now is enough for them, I don't mind. I just don't like that it means they really don't want to explore anywhere past their cage with me :[
 

Ripshod

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As already pointed out, if there's nothing for them to do outside the cage they'll prefer inside.
I made a conscious decision not to train my flock. I want them to behave naturally rather than do tricks. By spending all my available time with them I have become part of their flock, and though it's taken a while I can move freely amongst them. I whistle when I need to do something in their area (adjusting cage and toys or placing food) - they've come to understand my whistle as a sign that no matter what I do I'm no threat to them.
I share their lounge with them. They have a few stations round the room and I can predict where they're going to be at any time of the day.
Being a flock member I get all the attention from them a budgie would get. I'll get preened occasionally though they won't let me return the favour, and I'm happy with that.
I have a perch outside their cage right next to where I normally sit. They'll come down and sing to me while I whistle back.
The only time they will actually step up is either when they get into trouble or if I entice them with the millet. This gives me a good chance to check them over (nails, beak and butt).
This is enough for me, and I believe it's enough for them. All they want for is food and all I ask is for them to be budgies.
 
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scrape

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Hello everyone, I haven't posted on this forum in a while! Right now I have two budgies, Peeko and Reifa. Due to some circumstances, they have to share a cage right now (it originally belonged just to Peeko) and I'm planning on separating them this month. I wanted to ask for some advice on building my bond with both of them.
I've had Peeko since January 2021 and so far she has grown used to me (she isn't bothered in the slightest when I put my hand in the cage and she takes treats from my hands, as well as (sometimes hesistantly) steps up, but only for treats). It was a huge journey for us, I first had to teach her that spray millet was actually food, then she ended up cage bound after being outside two times and terrified both those times (until the point i brought Reifa home). She is overall pretty timid and shy.
In late 2021 I brought home Rei, she was just about 3 months old and I thought it would be easier to build a bond with her, and that maybe that would show Peeko that she can trust me as well. She first showed Peeko that she can leave the cage, so they started going outside together. She learned pretty quickly to step up onto my finger for treats and Peeko learned that from her as well. She still goes away from my hand when I put it in the cage, though. Right now Peeko and Reifa seem to share a certain bond, but recently Rei has been showing very clearly that she has claimed the cage territory all to herself (which was expected, honestly, because they are both females) so I'm separating them soon and leaving this cage to Rei.
My problem is, I interact with my birds regularly and try my best to read their body language, but they both only seem to want to interact with me when there's food involved. I'm not even talking about scritches/coming to me. Rei won't even sit on my finger for longer than she has food in reach and when i have no food for her she doesn't want to do anything with me and flies away immediately. Peeko is just okay with my presence and sometimes doesn't even want to interact with me for food. I want to know how I can show them they can trust me while not being pushy (because sometimes I feel so). I know patience is key, but there has been near zero progress the last few months and they've been with me for longer than that :[
And, another problem coming from this, when my birds are outside, they only sit on top of their cage and fly around the room without landing anywhere else. Because they don't trust me, they fly back to their cage whenever I try to put them from my finger onto a new surface (table, shelf etc.) I have put a playstand and their toys in various parts of the room but they never seem interested. Though they have had a weird couple of days once when they would sit in my lap eating millet and Rei even came to the other side of the room with me and sat on my bed but that was once and I have zero idea what that was.
Of course, as part of the bonding process I have trained them (so far it's only target training with both), they chatter when I talk or sing, they gladly eat veggies from my hands and all these things, so it's not like they're terrified of me. Sorry for the long post, but it's just like we've hit a dead end somewhere and I can't understand what I'm doing wrong.
My budgie Parker is like yours. In the past few months he has been a bit more social when the mood strikes him. If you really want one-on-one time with them I would remove their cage. I did this a bit when my birds were new. Bribe them to a playstand while you cover their cage with a blanket or move it into another room.
It might also be a good option to train them to your shoulder. They might be more comfortable with that.
Do you shower with them? My favorite thing is to take their cage in the bathroom so they can enjoy the steam and water. Parker has actually started joining me in the shower.
 

peesh

Meeting neighbors
Joined
2/4/21
Messages
35
Real Name
Ulyana
My budgie Parker is like yours. In the past few months he has been a bit more social when the mood strikes him. If you really want one-on-one time with them I would remove their cage. I did this a bit when my birds were new. Bribe them to a playstand while you cover their cage with a blanket or move it into another room.
It might also be a good option to train them to your shoulder. They might be more comfortable with that.
Do you shower with them? My favorite thing is to take their cage in the bathroom so they can enjoy the steam and water. Parker has actually started joining me in the shower.
Hi, thanks for replying! My birds also have their seemingly random more social days. Your method sounds interesting! And I think it's a pretty cool idea to let them choose to join you in the shower or a similar activity. I should try that sometime! I had some progress with my girls today, so I might as well share it here.
I usually feed my birds a seed mix, but I haven't been able to get any of it for a couple of days now so I've been feeding them another less nutritious one I had at home and tossing a couple buds of spray millet in there while I'm planning on compiling my own healthier seed mix in a couple of days (since it is literally impossible to get bird pellets in my country other than one brand of those artificially colorful ones). When I look in the bowls, I can see they do eat. They get their usual veggies too. But today Peeko was much more eager to come outside than usual, and she went to fly right onto my head when I let her out. She flew onto my hands too even when I had nothing in them. I understood right away that it was because she was hungry for some millet and I did give it to her, but she also flew onto my glasses and onto my head even when I was very far away from the cage (she is usually extremely hesistant to sit on my finger even when it's right next to her and I offer a lot of food). The change in Rei was also visible but much less drastic.
So I've been thinking that this might be a mix of how little millet they've been getting in their cage (they usually get the millet in the seed mix) and probably how much Peeko has been getting annoyed by Rei's company and seeking it from someone else (even as I'm typing this with the cage open and not having had any food near me for half an hour Peeko is still trying to fly to me). She's also been more interested in exploring the room and she's usually the timid one. So I think if I put less millet in my own seed mix (but still have some in it, just not as much as the commercial one had) and try to include then in my own activities more they might see me as someone whose company can benefit them. This certainly wasn't what I was expecting to get from this seed mix situation but this aligns well with what I've already heard about having less millet (and seeds overall) in your bird's ration. They start seeing it as a treat. Engagement is still super important in my opinion!! I think I should start encouraging foraging more too. There's certainly a lot of room for improvement.
 

scrape

Rollerblading along the road
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Hi, thanks for replying! My birds also have their seemingly random more social days. Your method sounds interesting! And I think it's a pretty cool idea to let them choose to join you in the shower or a similar activity. I should try that sometime! I had some progress with my girls today, so I might as well share it here.
I usually feed my birds a seed mix, but I haven't been able to get any of it for a couple of days now so I've been feeding them another less nutritious one I had at home and tossing a couple buds of spray millet in there while I'm planning on compiling my own healthier seed mix in a couple of days (since it is literally impossible to get bird pellets in my country other than one brand of those artificially colorful ones). When I look in the bowls, I can see they do eat. They get their usual veggies too. But today Peeko was much more eager to come outside than usual, and she went to fly right onto my head when I let her out. She flew onto my hands too even when I had nothing in them. I understood right away that it was because she was hungry for some millet and I did give it to her, but she also flew onto my glasses and onto my head even when I was very far away from the cage (she is usually extremely hesistant to sit on my finger even when it's right next to her and I offer a lot of food). The change in Rei was also visible but much less drastic.
So I've been thinking that this might be a mix of how little millet they've been getting in their cage (they usually get the millet in the seed mix) and probably how much Peeko has been getting annoyed by Rei's company and seeking it from someone else (even as I'm typing this with the cage open and not having had any food near me for half an hour Peeko is still trying to fly to me). She's also been more interested in exploring the room and she's usually the timid one. So I think if I put less millet in my own seed mix (but still have some in it, just not as much as the commercial one had) and try to include then in my own activities more they might see me as someone whose company can benefit them. This certainly wasn't what I was expecting to get from this seed mix situation but this aligns well with what I've already heard about having less millet (and seeds overall) in your bird's ration. They start seeing it as a treat. Engagement is still super important in my opinion!! I think I should start encouraging foraging more too. There's certainly a lot of room for improvement.
Well that's great! Sounds like you're figuring it out on your own! I am not a relationship expert, just offering ideas that I hope might help. I struggled with the relationship with my past cockatiel. I am really relaxed with Parker, I have a goal to teach him step up without luring, but I am happy giving Mark attention and letting Parker be himself. Sometimes he joins Mark on my shoulder, plays on my hand, and lets me boop his beak. Sometimes not. You sound like the perfect person to help them grow.
 
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