When you live with budgerigars, also called budgies or parakeets, you quickly find out where the expression “flightly” came from.
They are nervous creatures because quick reactions to any danger saved them from being eaten by predators. Budgies are best tamed when they are less than six months old.
No matter what the bird’s age is, you need unlimited patience to work with a bird every day until he or she is tamed.
How to Tame a Budgie?
The best time to tame a budgie or parakeet is when the bird is over six weeks old and less than six months old. Get to know the bird and get the bird used to you. Feed the bird to make hands seem like good things to go close to and even perch on. Work with the bird every day.
Let The Budgie Get Used to You
Don’t try to grab the bird whenever possible. Let a new budgie get used to its new home.
According to Pippa Elliot, MRCVS, give the bird anywhere from a few days to two weeks to adjust to the new sights and sounds, especially those of family members coming and going.
If the cage is small enough, carry it to wherever you happen to be to the bird gets used to seeing you.
If the cage is too large, spend time just sitting by the cage quietly, making no sudden noises or movements.
Make sure to talk softly to the budgie and turn on the TV and radio at low volumes. Just having you about not grabbing the bird helps him to realize that you are not a predator.
Only open the cage to bring food and water or to clean the cage. Avoid staring directly into the bird’s eyes, since this is considered threatening behavior.
Signs of a Happy Parakeet
Get to know your bird’s normal. How does the bird normally eat, drink, defecate and sleep?
How does the budgie normally vocalize? How long do they perform these activities? Scared birds often fly against the sides of a cage, trying to get out.
It’s also good to let your budgie try different treats to see which one it wants the most. Use this treat for training.
Hopefully, you will soon see signs of a happy bird, curious about his or her surroundings. These signs include:
- Often vocalizes in tweets, chirps, whistles, or even mimics sounds often heard, such as the ringing of a telephone. These vocalizations will not include screeches.
- Beak grinding: Often seen when a bird is about to go to sleep, it is a comforting action.
- Wing flapping while on a perch. They flap their wings but not fly. This is often a way of trying to get attention.
- Being active: Budgies are quite playful when they are relaxed and happy. They need toys to keep them busy.
- Bobbing head: Parakeets often do this when they are happy to see bird friends or people they like.
- Puffing up feathers
- Wagging tail: This is also a sign of greeting.
Once your new parakeet shows these signs, it’s time to take taming to the next level.
Make Your Hand Your Budgie’s Friend
You want your budgie to not be afraid of your hands. Slowly open the cage door. Place your hand at the bottom of the cage to let him or her get used to seeing it there.
Do not try to touch the bird. If the bird has a history of biting, then place a washcloth or small towel over your hand.
When the bird seems relaxed with your hand in the cage, remove the hand and place a great treat in between your fingers or on your palm.
Many people like to use spray millet, but not all budgies like it. Some may prefer a slice of cucumber or a piece of fruit.
Use the treat that your bird likes the best. Let the bird take all the time he or she needs to feed on the treat in your hand.
Keep your hand still and the bird may perch on it to get better access to the treat. If not, let the bird feed perches where the bird chooses.
With the treat gone, stick your index finger out and place it at the feet of the bird. Gently touch the feet.
Over time, the bird will get the idea to perch on your finger. Each bird is different, however. Some will always hate perching on fingers but will perch on a stick you hold.
Things Not to Do When Trying to Tame a Budgie
Parakeets can, with a little luck, live up to 20 years. Taming a bird helps make that time go by smoother.
Avoid these common mistakes people make when trying to tame a parakeet:
- Avoid making any sudden noises when working with a bird. Sudden noises are sure to give the bird a bad fright. Never yell at a bird. Turn off the phone and TV. Pick a quiet time for taming sessions when the neighbors are not apt to honk horns or slam doors.
- Avoid making any sudden moves. Like sudden noises, sudden movements will also scare the bird. The hand not touching the bird or trying to get the bird to perch on it should be still.
- Do not try to tame the bird when he or she is molting. The bird will be irritated enough and trying to force attention on the bird then will only make things worse. Parakeets usually molt for two or three weeks once a year.
- Don’t make training sessions too long or the bird may get fearful or distracted. About ten minutes a day is enough.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Tame a Budgie
How Long Does It Take to Tame a Budgie?
Each budgie is different in how he or she will react to you. Depending on the bird’s personality and past experiences with people, taming the budgie can take a few weeks to a few months. Never try to rush taming a bird.
Why Won’t My Budgie Perch on My Finger?
Tame parakeets will often perch on their owner’s fingers or hand. However, some refuse to do it. For these birds, try getting them to perch on a small round stick or a perch loose from the cage. Hold it at the bird’s feet and not any higher, so the bird is more inclined to climb onto it.
Can Parakeets Be Too Old to Tame?
Any budgie or parakeet over six months old that has had very little experience with people will be very difficult to tame. It’s not impossible, but it will take many months or even years for the bird to be tamed in any way.
The Least You Need to Know
The best time to tame a budgie is when the bird is over six weeks old but under six months. Older birds can be tamed, but it takes time.
All birds learn at their own rate. Let a new bird get used to your home.
Allow the budgie to get used to you and your home routine. Use treats to help your bird associate your hand with good things.