How to get a budgie to trust you

Earning a budgie’s trust is a very rewarding process. In this article, I will walk you through the steps you need to take to get your budgie to trust you.

1. Get your budgie comfortable in their (new) environment.

2. Get your budgie used to your presence.

3. Teach your budgie that your hand is not a threat.

4. Let your budgie eat from your hand.

5. Teach your budgie to step onto a stick.

6. Teach your budgie to perch on your finger.

1. Get your budgie comfortable in their (new) environment

When your budgie is new to your house, it will likely feel very stressed. They’ve just entered a new surrounding that’s unfamiliar to them. Give them at least 4-5 days to settle in and get used to this new environment with all these new sounds and movements. Don’t disturb your budgie unless you have to change their food and water. This is one of the MOST IMPORTANT steps in earning your budgie’s trust. If you start taming right away it will view you as a predator, which will start your training process with a huge disadvantage. Playing budgie sounds on your phone or computer will help your bird settle in. Budgies sing to each other to let flock members know everyone is safe. Recreating this for your bird will give them a false sense of security until the actual sense of security is achieved.

2. Get your budgie used to your presence

Once your budgie has gotten used to their new surroundings, it’s time to get them used to your presence. Keep in mind: budgies are prey birds so they will view any living creature larger than them as a predator, including you. To ensure your budgie that you are not a predator who’s trying to eat them you can talk to them. Talking to your bird is a way to mimic their natural flock behavior of singing to each other to signal that everything is safe. Your bird might not understand what you are saying, but they will be able to pick up on the intonation of your voice. You can read children’s books to your budgie to help them get used to you. Why a children’s book? These books are short and meant to be read in a calm, soothing voice. They are also very short. It’s important to keep your sessions between 10 and 15 minutes so your bird doesn’t get overstimulated.

3. Teach your budgie that your hand is not a threat.

By now your budgie is used to your presence in the room and around their cage. Your hand is still very scary to them though. Get them used to it by repeating step 2 for a few more days while putting your hand on the outside of the cage. Also, take your sweet time as you switch out their food and water, so they will see that even when the hand is in the cage, it’s not trying to get them.

4. Let your budgie eat from your hand.

Now, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for: your first real interaction with your bird. If the previous steps have been executed well and you’ve had plenty of patience with your bird this next step will be easy. Offer your bird a millet spray by holding the end of it so your bird can come over and eat from the other side. Your bird might try to get away from you at first, but if you stay calm your budgie will calm down too. Once your budgie is comfortable eating the millet while you hold it by the end you can start offering it to them with your hand a little closer to their end of the millet. Keep repeating this step until your budgie is comfortable enough with eating it from your fingertips. Then you can crumble some of the millet spray onto your hand and offer your flat palm to your bird. It’s important to keep a flat palm so your budgie doesn’t feel threatened by your fingers surrounding it.

5. Teach your budgie to step onto a stick.

Once your budgie is comfortable with eating from your hand and maybe even standing onto it, it’s time to teach them how to step up. This is a very easy trick that can be done in one of two ways. The first one is to present a perch to your bird by holding it in front of their feet. Then try to lure them onto the perch by holding a treat behind the stick. As soon as your bird steps onto the perch you say ‘up’ and reward them. Practice this a few times a day and your budgie will soon realize that they get a treat when done what you asked them to do.

6. Teach your budgie to perch on your finger.

This is definitely the easiest step in the process. All you need to do is replace the perch you used for step 5 with your finger. Ask your budgie to step up by saying up and see what happens. Your budgie might ‘bite’ your finger softly at first. This is known as beaking and there’s no need to worry about it. It’s a method birds use to determine whether or not a surface is sturdy enough to step on. 

Now your budgie should be comfortable enough to sit on your finger, maybe even your head or shoulder. From this point on you can start improving the bond you have with your bird by doing trick training or just simply hanging out with them.

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