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My tips for taming and bonding with a shy bird

FeatheredM

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Many people ask about how to tame and bond with their bird, and I don’t blame them. Bonding with your bird can be hard sometimes. Some birds love you in a snap, while others decide that because you sneezed you must start your relationship all over again. This can happen in particular with smaller birds such as budgies, but can also occur with bigger birds. Remember every bird is an individual. There are so many things you can do to bond with your bird. I will use the term bonding instead of taming, because that is a much more lovable goal.

If you just got your bird, then I highly suggest that you let your bird adjust to his new environment. Which means that you should not let your bird out, reason being that he might freak out and fly everywhere, and take even longer to get used to his environment. If he is not comfortable with his environment, then he is likely not to be comfortable with you. Please do not scream, stomp around, run or do any crazy activities. Your bird will not see you as someone to trust. So please use your inside voice.

Now that doesn't mean you completely ignore your bird, if you leave your bird completely alone, he will get used to that and not want to ,leave that.
Here are a few ideas to start out with your bird:
Read a book out loud
Feed millet or any other seed from outside the bars
Just chat like old friends
Watch a movie together
Sit next to your bird and do something not focused on your bird

DO NOT STARE AT YOUR BIRD, this will make you look like a predator.

Once your bird is very comfortable being around you, you can offer seed in your hand. Don’t press against your birds chest, forcing your bird to do stuff is not the way to go. If your bird wants some seed move your hand closer. Your bird may start eating seed, but may not step-up. It is fine if your bird is not stepping up. Just keep offering seed. If you keep offering seed, but your bird still won’t step- up for a while, I suggest trying to get your bird to step-up onto a perch that you are holding and try to get the bird to move closer to your hand.

Once your bird steps up, you should let your bird out! Even if your bird doesn't step-up, but it’s time for your bird to come out, I suggest your bird come out because a bird should not be stuck inside a cage for too long.

This is when you start to truly bond with your bird. Here are multiple things you can do so that your bird loves you.
TREATS
Train recall
Train step-up
Train through the tunnel using your hands
Let your bird crawl all over you using treats
Watch something that will entertain both you and your bird with bird on your shoulder
Put bird on head
Take a shower with your bird
Give bird a treat every time your bird comes to you
Feel calm and happy around bird, birds can pick up on emotions
Give your bird a kiss
Offer your bird a scritch

STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING IF YOU NOTICE SIGNS OF DISCOMFORT IN YOUR BIRD

One thing that helped me immensely was to place the bird cage next to some place I work, read ect. Such as a desk or a table. And keep introducing your bird to that area so that your bird keeps on hopping over to see you.

You must be consistent, and patient in order to move forth in your relationship.

Every bird will be ready to move onto the next step at a different time, respect that. These are my tips, from expeirience, and I hope you find them useful.
 

scrape

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Good points. I try to mention to people they need to let their bird out, even if it isn't bonded. I like that you included that part.
 

sweetwillow

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Thank you for taking the time to pass on your tips on bonding with a shy bird. I have been doing a lot of the suggestions for over a year and have only gotten her to step up to return to the cage. Until yesterday that is, when she flat out refused to cooperate. "Some birds decide that because you sneezed, you have to start the relationship all over again." Too true. I hope I haven't eroded her trust.
I want her to continue to let her out daily and build upon that without having to force her back into the cage.
 

FeatheredM

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She'll come around! It is probably going to take a while, but I'm sure it's possible. I wonder if trying out different treats could help her be more food motivated. Different seed mixed, sunflower seeds, millit maybe even a vegetable. Some food has got to make her go crazy!
 

A.K

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Just a suggestion, but this should be made into a sticky. A lot of people ask this question.
 

FeatheredM

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Just a suggestion, but this should be made into a sticky. A lot of people ask this question.
I would first rather poeple put in their advice on this thread so it can be the best it can. I know there is information that I don't know that others do on here!
 
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sweetwillow

Meeting neighbors
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After three days, she decided to come out of the cage again and join the budgie in flight around the room again. She isn't displaying fear of me now, thank goodness. F.M.- Millet is the only treat so far that interests her, but she wont touch it until I place it down in front of her. The budgie doesn't take treats or seed from my hand either and the tiel clearly observes this. However, the budgie will hop on a stick when its extended to her and my main goal is to make the tiel comfortable with stepping up on the stick to and from the cage. I know this process will take a boatload of time and patience to move forward.
 

FeatheredM

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Monique
After three days, she decided to come out of the cage again and join the budgie in flight around the room again. She isn't displaying fear of me now, thank goodness. F.M.- Millet is the only treat so far that interests her, but she wont touch it until I place it down in front of her. The budgie doesn't take treats or seed from my hand either and the tiel clearly observes this. However, the budgie will hop on a stick when its extended to her and my main goal is to make the tiel comfortable with stepping up on the stick to and from the cage. I know this process will take a boatload of time and patience to move forward.
That's great news! I'm glad to hear you are moving a step forward!
 

Wardy

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Good points. I try to mention to people they need to let their bird out, even if it isn't bonded. I like that you included that part.
Imo you do need to be in a position to manage the bird outside the cage and be able to return the bird to the cage with minimal drama though.
 

Shannan

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I would like to add that you should always try to end your training time/ interactions on a good note. If you are struggling with a skill, then it's okay to pause on that skill and end doing something that they are good at. A very well renowned horse trainer once told me that it is not the cue that teaches but the release. I found this true with most animals. When they do something right, give them time to think about it before going on.
 

scrape

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Imo you do need to be in a position to manage the bird outside the cage and be able to return the bird to the cage with minimal drama though.
It's just some people think if their bird won't step up then they won't let it out. There are lots of ways to get them back in their cage.
When you say "manage" do you mean like setting boundaries. Boundaries like keeping them off undesirable places and getting them back in their cage are usually easy for most parrots. A little effort, sure.
My point is they should have a good quality of life, even if they aren't tame. And I think it isn't difficult to do what you said, without it being a big ordeal. Or at the very least, a goal.
I hope that makes some sort of sense, I retyped it a few times trying to make it clearer.
 

Wardy

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It's just some people think if their bird won't step up then they won't let it out. There are lots of ways to get them back in their cage.
When you say "manage" do you mean like setting boundaries. Boundaries like keeping them off undesirable places and getting them back in their cage are usually easy for most parrots. A little effort, sure.
My point is they should have a good quality of life, even if they aren't tame. And I think it isn't difficult to do what you said, without it being a big ordeal. Or at the very least, a goal.
I hope that makes some sort of sense, I retyped it a few times trying to make it clearer.
No simply meant getting the bird back in the cage without any drama or stress caused to the bird. Understand your pount of view however my thoughts where different i wanted Mojo comfortable with me initially and then a degree of interaction with me before she come out.
I wouldnt keep a bird caged for a lengthy period of time however for the time i spent interacting with her in her cage ( approx 1month ) i think this worked well in the long run for us.
I have seen people writing about having to towel birds to get them back into cages or netting them, for me the month spent gaining Mojos trust and allowing her to get to know me was well worth it.
 

scrape

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No simply meant getting the bird back in the cage without any drama or stress caused to the bird. Understand your pount of view however my thoughts where different i wanted Mojo comfortable with me initially and then a degree of interaction with me before she come out.
I wouldnt keep a bird caged for a lengthy period of time however for the time i spent interacting with her in her cage ( approx 1month ) i think this worked well in the long run for us.
I have seen people writing about having to towel birds to get them back into cages or netting them, for me the month spent gaining Mojos trust and allowing her to get to know me was well worth it.
If it worked for you then it was the right decision. It sounds like you planned to let her out, and that was worth it. Depending on the size of cage, I can completely understand.
I have let all of my birds out shortly after I get them, either a few days or less.
I think it depends on the situation. Being a rescue volunteer, I try to give every parrot a chance at playtime.
 

Wardy

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If it worked for you then it was the right decision. It sounds like you planned to let her out, and that was worth it. Depending on the size of cage, I can completely understand.
I have let all of my birds out shortly after I get them, either a few days or less.
I think it depends on the situation. Being a rescue volunteer, I try to give every parrot a chance at playtime.
Mojo was my first bird and i did plan everything as best i could and asked a lot of questions on here as i went along, given my lack of experience i think this was the right approach, i also took the same approach with KiKi she had come from a aviary and was lined up for breeding and had not much interaction with people.
I am more experienced now and may take another approach if i got another bird i do feel this was the right approach under the circumstances.
 
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