7. Warn your bird
Even though they are quite small, parakeets are still parrots. Parrots as a rule are very smart, and can learn patterns easily. Like the tiger example above, you wouldn’t trust a large, scary predator that runs into your room without warning. Similarly, you should give your bird some small courtesies.
Before you place your hand into the cage, or in any way intrude into the bird’s personal space or territory… announce yourself! It’s as simple as that. When you walk into the room, make some noise or say “I’m here!”. That way the bird hears you coming and isn’t surprised by you appearing suddenly in the room. When you open the cage door to change the food, say “I’m opening the door”. When you are about the hand feed spray millet, ask “want a treat?”
Later on when your bird is more tame and can come out to play, always ask your bird “want to step up?” before you stick your hand into the cage. Practice this consistently and with the same words every time and your bird will grow to trust and love you in no time!
8. Give your bird a security blanket
All birds are creatures of the sky, and as such they absolutely hate things looming over them. If given the choice of a low perch or a high perch, all birds would choose the high perch. That means that if you stand taller than your parakeet’s cage, cover the top of the cage so that they can feel safe. It is preferred to cover all sides of the cage except the front when your budgie first comes home.
When you do this, your budgie will naturally face front towards you all the time, because they feel safe turning their back on the back wall (which is covered). Doing this gives you two added benefits: your budgie is paying attention when it is time for taming, and it is more convenient to cover them at night for sleep.
Parakeets are birds with good eyesight during the daytime, however, at night they cannot see. If you leave the cage uncovered at night, they may experience “night frights”. When a bird sees a shadow or a flicker of light (like you’re going to the bathroom, or a passing car from the window), they can be terrified into flapping wildly in their cage. And since they can’t see, they have a high potential for injury.
Unclipped budgerigars are more likely to be injured, because they can get up to a faster speed. The have been many budgies that broke their legs or wings and are disabled for the rest of their lives because of smashing into an obstacle. Please be careful with your budgies, cover their cage at night so it blocks the light and they can sleep knowing that they are safe. Make sure that your budgies get 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness every day for a restful sleep.
Here is an example of cage covering:
9. Don’t starve your bird
Some new parakeet owners are not aware of how budgies eat their seed. These birds always hull their seed before they eat it. That means that the hull, or papery covering of the seed is sometimes deposited on top of the uneaten seed. There are novice owners who see a full bowl of seed and think that their budgie hasn’t been eating from it. The owners will let their budgie sit in a cage with no food, and the bird will starve to death. Always check if the bowl has food or if it is only hulls.
Also, do not try to convert your bird to pellets right away. Birds are suspicious of any new food item, because in the wild, eating the wrong food could kill you quickly. Pet stores may try to sell you pellets, citing that they are better for the budgie’s overall nutrition. This is true, but there are some birds that would rather starve to death than eat pellets. Sometimes, in the case of baby birds, they do not recognize the pellets as food at all!
When you first bring your bird home, place a piece of spray millet through the bars of the cage from the outside. Make sure it is close to where they are perching. Many parakeets will be so deathly scared of the new cage, they will not move an inch to eat or to drink. By placing the food near them, you make it more likely that they will eat.
Then when your bird gets settled in, feed them only what they need for the day (about 2 tablespoons of seed mix). Throw away the contents of the bowl each day and replace with new seed. By doing this, you can prevent obesity related diseases in your parakeets and keep the food clean each day.
10. Think before you pick up a roommate
Pet stores will try to sell two parakeets to a new owner, saying that they need the company of other birds or will die of loneliness. This is simply not true! Budgies will be sad if they do not get any attention, as they are social birds, but there are many birds that do perfectly well with a human companion. If you are going to be away from home for most of the day, it may be a good idea to get two birds. Keep in mind though, that two birds will bond with each other and you will have a harder time taming them.
One bird is ideal to work with, and if you want more in the future, you can buy another bird. It is always better to have an even number of birds. If you have an odd number, one bird will feel left out when they pair up to play. If you purchase two birds, it is not always a good idea to place them in the same cage. And definitely do not put a new bird in your old bird’s cage suddenly!
That would be like a stranger breaking into your house and announcing that they are now going to live in your room with you! Keep your birds in separate cages and take them out to play in neutral territory together to curb any aggression.
That’s it folks! I hope this series of articles helped you out, please return to the home page for more budgie goodness!
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