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How do I get my bird to accept scritches

FeatheredM

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All I want is for my budgie Quierido to accept some scritches on the neck and on the head without him feeling uncomfortable, how do I get him to warmup or at least see if he will warmup to it? I don't want to try this with my other budgie because she diffinetly isn't interested in it at all, but I quierido might eventually accept it, how do I do it though?
 

Shezbug

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You want your bird to want them from you by building up trust and a hands off relationship- proving you’re safe, interesting, a good friend who listens will get you far, if the bird doesn’t come to you for them then getting him to ‘accept’ being touched is basically flooding.
 

FeatheredM

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How do I start? Do I start by petting his beak his neck, his head? I know not to touch anywhere else, also how do I present my hand as non threatening? I won't touch him if he says no
 

Shezbug

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You can peg millet on your clothes for a start or just be there ready as a mobile perch but you reaching to touch him is what you want NOT what the bird wants.
If the bird wanted that you’d be able to do it easily.

I could touch our wild magpies but I don’t and they know they can always trust me enough to come get food from my hand and turn their backs on me to survey the area and call out to their flock. If I was to sneak a pat they’d have no reason to trust me anymore.

There are times where I’d get my fingers broken if I tried to touch Burt- he let’s me know when he’s happy to interact that way and I always ask him if he wants a scratch or a tickle before just going to do it, when he does he’ll put his head down or lean into me for it.

The only time I would force my hands onto a bird who didn’t instigate being touched would be for health or safety that needs taking care of right now.

The training court will give you tonnes of tips regarding this stuff.

I tend to do what I was always taught as a kid… look but don’t touch unless I’m asked/invited by the animal to. My grandad always had wild and often abused and terrified animals living in harmony with him wherever he lived and we were always taught to let them come to us or leave them alone- I’m much the same now.
 

AussieBird

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Agree with Shezbug.
It’s something that’ll take a long time, if ever. I have never scritched a parrot, and highly doubt my budgies will except any anytime soon. But I’ll live :)
 

FeatheredM

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Thank you, I'll listen to all you have said, I was asking because I have a feeling that Quierido might accept snuggles one day, I just didn't know on how to do it. So I'll just let the bird decide when it's time! Thank you so much @Shezbug, for going into so much depth on what to do!
 

Oscarbird

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It can take a while for birds to grow accustom to scritches and hands in general :)
My lovebird didn't accept scritches until he learned to step up, and even then he was wary. Take it slow and make sure that your bird feels comfortable with whatever you're doing.
So I'll just let the bird decide when it's time!
Great idea! It can take a while, but the waiting will be worth it :heart:
 

GreenThing

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I almost never approach Merlin and attempt to touch him with my fingers. I want to be able to hold my hand right next to him without him feeling the need to scoot away, and I practice this as often as step up or anything else (I wasn't able to do this with the little owls I worked with, and I wish I had, because ONLY approaching them to put them in a carrier taught them to hate me). He has started enjoying scritches in an odd sort of way-- he will fluff up and push his head against his favorite toy in the posture a budgie would adopt while another budgie is preening them. At first, I moved the toy a little to see if he liked it. Then I just started scratching his cheek myself! He goes back and forth between play and preening mode with his toy, and does the same to my fingers-- beak boxing and growling and preening. A few times he peeped when I stopped, as if to say "more!" and a few times I've misjudged and he gave me an (irritated? playful?) open-beaked little bump.

He seems to really enjoy when I stand close to his cage (reminds me of my extroverted little brother who hates doing anything alone-- "want to swim?" "no" "okay will you come watch me swim?")-- sings and becomes more playful-- and has recently started interacting with my hands more (best was a night ago when he stayed on my fingers and was singing! :sad11: I could feel all the notes and chortles buzzing out of his little body!) but he doesn't care to be on my shoulder or step up when he doesn't see a treat. For some reason, using the toy as an intermediary just made this odd connection in his brain; until that moment, I don't think he understood my few gentle touches as attempts to preen. And he still doesn't posture this way for me-- oooonly the toy.

I've read older threads on here where folks say some budgies accepts this kind of petting when they are juveniles, but are even more hands-off as adults, too. They can also have individual preferences about where on the head and cheek they are okay being touched.
 

Sweet Louise

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Louise loves to sit on a shoulder, have a quick beak rub, or pet her feet when she is in her cage. Other than that, she is a no touch bird. No scritches. I just leave it at that. I let her be her own bird. If she doesn’t want scritches, that is ok. If I try to push her for that, then it would be for me and not her- and if it isn’t liked or needed, I don’t bother. They have so few options for free will, I don’t push anything that isn’t needed or enjoyed.
 

scrape

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I have a little training tip that worked for my cockatiel. Get them used to taking a bite food from your hand. Slowly introduce another finger above their head. Lower it until one day you can tap their head while they eat the treat. This has to be their choice, so it is up to the bird if they want the treat. I usually pair it with a word like "scratch". I haven't tried it on my budgies, I don't think it would work for mine. Rarely, my budgie Mark will let me scratch his head. I can ask by touching or almost touching one of his cheeks (by his beak). Most the time it is a no, so I don't ask much. As long as it is force-free and you pay attention to your bird's reaction (don't push anything), it has worked for my tiel.:)
 
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