unique budgie bonding situation

by Tyler Puorro
(Clifford, PA)

2 weeks ago we adopted a budgie from PetSmart. Miracuously, my little sister was able to get the budgie on her finger on the first day. Since then, i've been trying to get him/her (the budgie is not even 4 months old yet) to bond with me, and while it seems to be working ok, I would like some advice on how to bond with it.

The biggest reason I need to know now is becuase I do not have much time left with the budgie. I am going into my senior year in high school, and I have 2 advanced placement classes, so I will most likely have much homework, not to mention going to college in about a year.

I was wondering if I should put a mirror in when school starts, because there will be times when it will be all alone. Will this ruin the bond with me? Also, we have a bird feeder outside on a tree. The budgie is able to see this feeder, and becomes excited when it sees birds there. It has bobbed its head at them, screeched when they didn't respond, and usually hops around its perches when they come. Can the budgie bond with me if it can see and sing with these birds?

For bonding, I know that I am a few steps far. It is already very comfortable with my finger(it yawns, stretches, and grinds its beak while on my finger). I hold a millet spray in one hand and get the budgie to go on the index finger of my other hand. It will usually step up on my finger if I put it in front of the budgie. It will proceed to eat the millet, and when it no longer wishes to eat, it hops down onto a perch and I take my hands away. WIll this help the budgie to bond with me? Also, the budgie does not play with its toys; what can remedy this situation?

One last question. Whenever I try to slowly take it out of the cage, it hops onto another perch. Whenever I try to pet it anywhere, it panics. Will persisting in these cause the budgie to accept them, or will it traumatize it?

I really want this bird to like me. I absolutely love birds, and I want to make this budgie as comfortable as possible so I can bond with it and be a good friend. I am sorry about the length of this post and I know you are busy. Thank you for your time.

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Aug 23, 2011
odd contradictions and complications
by: Tyler Puorro

Dear Tracie,
This morning, the millet spray became very thin. 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? 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?
With immense gratitude,
Tyler Puorro

Aug 23, 2011
annoying contradictions complications
by: Tyler Puorro

Dear Tracie,
some complications have appeared. While browsing budgie information, I noticed that a link on this very site said that I should not reward my budgie with millet like I have been doing. The millet sprays I have are becoming very thin, and I tried holding the budgie on my finger. She stood on for only a few seconds and hopped off. Also, I tried petting the budgie in a few different places, and every time, it hops off and runs away from my finger like i'm some kind of monster. The budgie even tripped over my finger trying to escape from it. I read from a budgie book that budgies feel comfort when touched, but online I read most budgies don't like being pet. Is my budgie unpettable, or are there specific areas where I can pet my budgie? One last question. How often should I clean my budgie's cage and perches(most sources disagree)?
With immense gratitude,
Tyler Puorro

Aug 20, 2011
one last thing...
by: Tyler Puorro

Thank you very much. I am relieved to know that everything is ok. Thank you.

Aug 20, 2011
Bonding with your budgie
by: Tracie

Sorry, I was not clear before. The 10 - 14 years is about how long the budgie may live, if it is on a healthy pellet diet and not a seed diet. If on a seed diet, then the bird will not live but a few years, in my experience.

My birds have never "bonded" with a mirror but enjoyed talking to them, but some say that it keeps the bird from bonding with humans.

Make sure your sister continues to play with the bird every day, to keep the bond. Birds choose who they like, and they don't even always choose the one that loves them and takes care of them. My silly green cheek conure decided it liked my husband the best, and he only sees the bird a couple of hours a day.

Hopefully your bird will enjoy both you and your sister and you all will enjoy each other for years to come. My 24 year old daughter still enjoys her two budgies after 7 or 8 years of time with them. Fortunately, she was able to take them with her when she married and moved away.

Aug 20, 2011
re:
by: Tyler Puorro

Thank you so much Tracie. When you talk about the next 10-14 years, do you mean that it will take much longer to bond with the budgie because of the birds? Also, my little sister will hopefully take my place as the budgie's playmate, but would a mirror let the budgie be fine on its own while I am at school and it is lonely, or will the mirror take away any chance for friendship? Again, thanks so much for responding.

Aug 20, 2011
Bonding with budgie
by: Tracie

I moved this to Parrot Questions, because Dr B is not a parrot trainer and answers health questions.

Most budgies have to be handled every day to stay tame. Your budgie will probably enjoy your company and maybe even learn to repeat words and phrases you say to it all the time. Having a cage mate, since you will not be around for the rest of it's life, would really be the best solution for your bird.

Having birds outside will not keep your bird from bonding with you, if you decide to spend time with the bird every day for the next 10 - 14 years. Again, if you are not planning on being it's best buddy for the rest of it's life, then the kindest thing for the bird is for you to find it a buddy so it won't be sitting lonely for the rest of it's life. (Imagine us putting you out in the forest without human interaction for the rest of your life, for instance.)

It sounds like you are doing a great job of bonding with your bird so far. Holding it every day, keeping its wings trimmed and feeding it a healthy pellet diet, like Harrison's or Roudybush will insure a long happy life. Birds that eat a seed diet usually die of fatty liver disease within a few short years.

We have some training material and interesting articles on our Parrot Training page if you wish to read more.

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