5 year old budgie

by Angel
(Cape cod, mass)

I recently was given a 5 year old female budgie, named Carla. She was fed for 5 years on a hartz seed diet, with no fresh foods. Her first owner kept her caged and was afraid to tame her because she was bitten, she then left her with someone and never came back for her.

When I got her, her cage was gross and was told she had been kept in a bathroom for a month because it smelled. She has had little interaction with people and was never allowed to fly. Shockingly she is healthy both physically and mentally. She did not come with food so I got her some kaytee fortified mix from petsmart just so she has something close to what she had while she adjusts.

I scrubbed her cage tossed the poo covered toys and perches and got her nice natural wood ones and some new toys. It took her 2 days to eat or make any noise. I assume this is normal. She is my first "rescue" bird, my last one came from a pet shop and was friendly from the start.

It has been 4 days and she is now eating and singing. She sits on my hand and seems to enjoy it when I sing to her. I clipped her wings, and trimmed her nails and she has fluttered from person to person in my living room (me 4 kids & my fiance). She must have been starved for attention because she is training faster than any bird I have seen.

Now that you have the back story, sorry for the length, here are my questions:

1) How do I go about switching her to a pellet diet, or is it to late? If it is to late what is the best kind of seed mix for her. My old bird,sky, ate and tons of fresh greens and fruits and lived to be 15. Sky also took vitamins and I want to avoid that with Carla if I can.

2) I have been offering her fresh and well washed strawberries, cantaloupe, romaine, parsley, and carrots. I have tried everything from shredding, steaming, clipping on sides of the cage, switching the food bowl and the fresh food bowl, and dipping the fresh in millet to get her to try it. I even had her watch me eat it and offered it with my mouth. She seemed to be interested but wouldn't try it. Are there any tricks to get her to eat her fresh food? Also what else can I try her on?

3) she doesn't seem to want to play with her toys. She sleeps in her swing, and climbs all over the cage (she's getting a wider one when taxes come as hers is barely wide enough for her to flutter) and chirps at me quite actively, but she won't play. She has a mirror that she ignores, a little drum thing with a string and a few large beads, and a spinning bell thing. I plan on getting more when I get paid, any suggestions on what to get to entice her to play?

4) I have had her out of the cage 4 times in the past day for about 30 min each time. The first time we stayed close to the cage and me and the kids took turns singing her our fav songs until she wanted to go home. The second time she came out on her own when offered my finger and decided to explore. She fluttered from person to person but she became spooked when the baby giggled and flew into the tv. I cuddled her and she does not seem injured and seemed to want to stay out so I allowed her too. She then flew into a wall on her way back to the cage. She is not hurt, but I was wondering if it is normal. I know she never got to fly so could it be because she needs practice without her wings clipped? I felt guilty for doing it but I know they tame easier that way. The other time she came out I kept her closer to me and far from the walls because I don't want her hurt.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate any input I can get so my baby bird can be happy and healthy and grow old with me. :)

Comments for 5 year old budgie

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Oct 30, 2011
5 year old budgie
by: Linda

Hi there! Tracie said all there is to say about taking care of your sweet Budgie girl.

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for being so good with these birds. Rescues are the hardest birds to work with, and you and your family are doing a wonderful job. We need many more people interested in the rescue birds because there are hundreds if not thousands out there in the US alone. They have been starved, abused, neglected, kept in small cages and put in dark sheds and basements because they make too much noise asking for food and companionship. These birds live and die in pain and lonliness, so hopefully more people will read your letter and feel the need to help out with this problem. Too many birds being bred, so people who should not have pets, get them and them grow tired of them in a week or two. It's heartbreaking, and for the larger parrots with long lifespans, it is a tragedy that can be helped by people not breeding their birds and being willing, instead, to take in the ones who need them the most. Experience is required for most of them because some of them are in very bad, ugly condition. A willingness to feed high quality diet and take them to Avian Vet is also part of the commitment. The rest is patience, love and understanding by putting yourself in the bird's place and seeing what YOU feel about all of this. Lots of you out there, so take the leap of faith and rescue a bird or two.

Keep up the great work, and know that you and your family have found friends for life here. Write in anytime. We are honored to have received your letter and to know there are people like you out there trying to be part of the solution instead of the problem.

Love to You and Your Family from Ours!

Oct 30, 2011
Rescue budgie
by: Tracie

Dr B suggests you read his Switching Birds To Pellets article and not worry if the bird doesn't eat fresh food. Keep doing what you are doing, but not all birds learn to like fresh food. Once on pellets, fresh food is not necessary.

Never give your bird vitamins, unless prescribed specifically for your bird by an avian veterinarian. They are toxic, I personally killed my first bird by putting vitamins in the water.

Different birds like different toys. You will need to try toys the bird can shred, ones with bells, mirrors, Popsicle sticks etc.

We have one budgie that loves to chew Popsicle sticks and the other bird in the same cage never touches wood toys. The other budgie prefers toys made from paper and materials that can be shredded. One likes bells, the other mirrors.

Trimming the wings is the best solution to keep the bird from hurting itself. You also must be careful it doesn't land on anything that might not be bird safe and chew it.

Dr B suggests that you Find an Avian Vet to examine the bird to make sure it is healthy and get vaccinated. You can bring disease to the bird and the bird can pass some things on to your family. Most avian vets take payments, so you should be able to find an avian vet that will allow you to pay monthly for the visit.

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