Odd contradictions and complications

by Tyler Puorro
(Clifford, PA)

Some odd problems have come up. This morning, the millet spray i've been using reached the point where it is almost nothing. My budgie ate most of it, and very little is left. When I tried getting him(when he sees birds outside, he may rub his beak on his perch, which research claims to be an attempt to woo a female) on my finger, he hopped off almost immediately. When I looked on google for an answer, I noticed that a link that led to this website held the opinion of another vet that I should not be using millet as a reward. Is this true?

Also, I have been trying to pet my little budgie friend. However, no matter where I pet my budgie, he runs away like i'm trying to kill him. When I held out my finger to be held on, he even tripped over it trying to escape. Do budgies like to be pet, or is mine unpettable?

And when i'm not playing with him, he never plays with his toys. How do I get him to understand the use of his toys?

Another question. I've checked multiple sources, and they disagree most of the time. How often should I clean my budgie's cage and perches?

One last question. I know that a seed only diet is bad for my budgie. The food we use is a hartz mixture, which claims to have vitamins in it. I have also started adding liquid vitamin supplements sold at walmart to his water. I once tried feeding wet lettuce to my budgie, but he refused. Are these good enough for him, and if not, what should I do?

If you can, I would really appreciate it if Tracie could answer me. I say this because if I could(and I have tried), I would have posted this as a continuation of my last question, which I had thought had led to an answer to all my problems.
With immense gratitude,
Tyler Puorro

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Sep 03, 2011
more questions
by: Guess who(me again)

About trimming the wings, If I can find a good breeder I will do it, but out of curiosity, is it a psychological thing, or is it that they just can't fly? If it is the latter, then I don't think I quite need to trim the budgie's wings just yet, because I really don't take it out of the cage. However, 2 days ago, my budgie was in a very great mood. It would jump right to the perch closest to me, and it seemed like it wanted to go out. I tried bringing it to another room(a room without cats), but it didn't want to come out.

My little sister, against my objections, got the budgie on her finger and quickly brought it out. It flew back to its cage before my sister brought it out of reach(the budgie can't fly very well yet) of its cage. Once I was able to get the budgie back in the cage, I brought it back to its usual spot, and after a while, just to see if I could, I tried again. I got it out of the cage, but it flew right back to it, so I let it back in.

How should I get our budgie out of its cage? Also, I tried petting it while it was eating millet. At first, it was fine, but after a couple different sessions, when I touch the edge of its wing, it walked away from my finger, and whenever I touched it in any way(other than it sitting on my other finger), it brought its wings out a little and its wings started shaking a little. I stopped because I don't want to scare the poor thing, but I want to know if I can continue these sessions without scaring the little fellow.

Also, I've read that there are a couple of spots on parrots where you shouldn't pet because it may be "stimulating". I would like to know where this spot is so I can avoid it. Also, on the night of the budgie's good mood, about every other time it was on my finger, it started biting parts of my hand, even though it could've gone on another perch. It seemed like the fellow just wanted to bite me for the fun of it. What happened? Thank you once again,
Tyler Puorro

Aug 31, 2011
Budgie questions
by: Tracie

Yes, you could break up the Roudybush pellets, but it would probably be better to return them to the store and get the proper size.

Only you can tell how much millet the bird is eating, so I can't really answer this. Your bird probably only eats about a teaspoon of pellets, so the bird should only eat a few seeds a day.

Make sure the perch is thoroughly rinsed, and then put it back in the cage. You just don't want the bird to ingest any chemicals.

Our budgies do not like swings either.

None of our budgies have ever regurgitated on us. They DO mess up all their toys and even the wall behind the cage. Personally, I am thankful they don't throw up on us. LOL

Look for, or make your own, bird bonding necklace that your bird may enjoy staying on and thus stay with you.

Aug 31, 2011
new questions
by: Tyler Puorro

Dear Tracie,
I'm sorry I didn't write back quickly. I needed to get some things straight. As for getting another budgie, I would do it as soon as I found out what gender our budgie is, but its not my decision. We have a large amount of animals in our house, and the head of the house does not want any more animals. I hope she changes her mind.
I bought Roudybush food for my budgie, but I was with a friend, and in my rush, I didn't notice that it was medium sized, as in for birds like cockatoos. My grandmother suggested crushing them up, would that work? Also, When I feed the budgie millet, I usually let it eat as much as it wants until it steps off my finger. Being that only 10% of its diet should be millet and treats, how many times a day would you guess it is ok to feed it millet like this? Also, I was not able to obtain a bird-safe cleaner yet. I told my little sister not to do this, but she did it anyway. She cleaned two of the perches with liquid soap and water. The perches are not in the cage at the moment, but I'm wondering if they'll still be ok for our budgie, if we have to clean it again with a bird-safe cleaner, or if these perches are done for good now. Our budgie is still pretty young(its head has faint black stripes on it), so I'm thinking I might be able to teach it that petting is good. However, I don't want to scare the poor thing, so how do I tell when I have enough of its confidence to start petting it while feeding millet? We also have a swing that the budgie does not seem to want to go on. I know budgies usually love these, so what's wrong?
I'm about to sound really whiny, I know, so I apologize in advance. I've read that when a budgie bobs its head, its trying to regurgitate food, which is a sign of high affection. The budgie has done this to multiple wild birds, such as goldfinches, and especially to mourning doves. When I put my hand in the cage, the budgie walks a couple of steps to the side before letting me pick it up. I feel like a month of love and affection for this budgie means nothing, as only five seconds of walking on the ground as a bird wins this budgie's dying affection. I know we've only had this budgie for about a month, but I feel that the budgie would be safer and happier somewhere else and that we're stuck at just willing to go on a finger. Again, I'm sorry for being such a whiny crybaby, but sometimes I really do feel this way. Again, thanks for listening.
Thank you very much,
Tyler Puorro

Aug 23, 2011
Budgie toys and help
by: Tracie

Our budgies and bourke's parakeets enjoy toys with thin wood, paper, and straw to chew and destroy. We have examples that you can look at and purchase elsewhere or purchase from our Discount Parrot Supply Store here.

Budgies do best in cages that are wide more than tall, but boy are those hard to find! Just make sure you have several perches and budgie toys around the cage to encourage hopping around. Put the food dish in one place and the water bottle on the other side of the cage, if you feel the bird needs to be encouraged to move around.

If you only have wooden dowel perches in the cage, throw them out and get some natural wood branches, maybe a "boing" rope perch and possibly even a polly's perch to keep the nails trim. We keep the Polly's Pastel Pedicure Perch at the food dishes so our birds will keep their nails trimmed.

Yes, you are correct about not letting them out with the cats. They will be dead fast if the cats are in the room. Also, budgies pretty much have to be held every day to stay hand tame, so you will need to spend time with them almost every day to keep them tame. Trimming the wings is about the only way you are going to get the bird to stay with you. You might see if there is a good breeder near you that can trim the wings for you.

If you come to a time where you don't have time to spend with the bird, please purchase another cage and bird so it will have company. It is possible that eventually the two birds could live in the same cage, but some birds just don't get along.

Aug 23, 2011
writing again lol
by: Tyler Puorro

Dear Tracie,
I am so grateful to you. Multiple sources disagreeing is one of my worst pet peeves. Having a professional to ask is very relieving. I do have some other questions.
The cage we use for the budgie is one we used to use for zebra finches. It has decent horizontal space, but also has immense height. I've noticed that our budgie is ok with traversing the entire cage(when he hears or sees birds outside, he jumps all over the place), but unless he notices birds, he usually seems pretty bored. We have toys in there for him, but being that they were originally for zebra finches, they may not be right for him. Is there something I can do to show my budgie that these are toys? Another budgie is(for reasons I much rather not go into) unfortunately not an option, and I'm hoping that the large amount of birds on the feeders and the toys will keep the budgie busy while I'm in school. However, I've read that budgies like to come out of their cages. I tried slowly bringing our budgie out, but he hops right back on the nearest perch. It may be for the best, as we have 5 cats. I really only have to worry about 3, as one stays outside all the time, and I would bet good money that the other would run and hide from the budgie(she's scared of everything unfamiliar). I could take him up to my room(which I have always kept animal free), but there are risks. I read different opinions about wing clipping, and our budgie's wings are currently not clipped. I wouldn't like to clip them if I don't have to, but even if I do, sadly enough the nearest avian vet is about 2 hours from here, and I can't take him myself. One last thing. I know that budgies are very social birds, and they require much attention. I usually stay in the same room very often, but when I get him on my finger without millet, he doesn't stay interested for very long(I do talk softly to him too, so it can't be silence). He hops off and runs away from my finger. I know that budgie's like attention, but mine doesn't seem to like being held on my finger. Is this normal?
Once again, I apologize for the extreme length of this question, but this budgie is a possible companion I thought I would never have. The peak of satisfaction of my love of birds used to be seeing a blue jay(my favorite bird) walking around our feeder, but now I have the opportunity to befriend a bird and become its companion, even if only for a year. Thank you so much for your understanding and deep knowledge.
With an ocean of gratitude,
Tyler Puorro

Aug 23, 2011
Budgie care questions
by: Tracie

Thank you for caring so much about your budgie to write me. :-)

I don't know about budgies rubbing perches to attract a female. All our birds enjoy rubbing their beaks on their perches.

A little millet as a treat is fine for your budgie. Budgies should eat about 70% healthy pellets and 30% treats and that can be seed for budgies. When you look at how few pellets you feed the bird, 30% seed is not much. If you feed all seeds, your bird will die of fatty liver disease and live many years less than if on a pellet diet.

Do NOT put vitamins in the water any more. I actually killed a budgie doing that, because it made the bird toxic from too much vitamins. If your bird is eating healthy, it doesn't need vitamins anyway. Feed Harrison's or Roudybush pellets and not any colored pellets, ZuPreem or Lefaber because they have too much sugar and chemicals.

Here is our Switching Birds To Pellets article written by an avian vet. Please be patient, it might take a year to get the bird to even accept a pellet as food. It may take a day or a week too. Pretend to eat them yourself, like sitting with a couple on your plate. Then offer one to your bird, sometimes this works too.

Our bourkes parakeets don't like to be pet either. They are so powdery soft, it is disappointing. LOL They are hand tame, they love to be with us and they love to run around on the floor in the bird room, supervised of course. But they simply do not like to be pet.

I think if we spent time training the bird with treats, we could get the birds to allow us to pet them, it would be like teaching the bird a trick. We have training articles on our Parrot Training page if you want to take the time to train the bird.

Cleaning the perches and cage is an individual thing. We change the paper once a week and basically clean the perches and ropes as we see poop on them because we don't want them standing on poop. It is quick and easy to spray the cage bottom bars with Pet Focus and do a wipe down before we change the paper.

We have lots of information on this site, and I hope I answered all your questions. If not, feel free to write again. :-)

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