How to Tame Your Budgie

Budgerigars better known as budgies are similar to humans in the sense that they need companionship and personal interaction. Alone in a cage, your budgies is more likely to suffer from depression and fall ill because of it. That is why we recommend you tame your budgie as this will allow for a bond to be made between you and your budgie.

At what age, on how many days can you start training  budgerigars?

Some people, especially breeders, will opt to separate babies from their parents to better take charge of them and accelerate their taming. We recommend this method if you are willing to hand rear and tame them for the purpose of rehoming them to their future caretakers or for yourself.

Getting Started

To be able to successfully tame your budgie you must first be able to have a positive attitude. take a few seconds to relax and breathe before coming calmly closer to the cage. Move gently, without sudden movements, without unnecessary excitement.

Watch the reactions if you approach your hand slowly. A panicked Budgie, too fearful, will be difficult to familiarize and more difficult to tame. A curious bird will be more interesting. Ideally, he should be reactive and calm.

“The first impression is the right one” is an old saying. Some even claim that the first 30 seconds of a meeting leave an almost final impression for the continuation of a relationship. This is certainly less true in birds, especially in budgies, at least for the long term.

The following are some training methods to tame a young budgerigar:

In the beginning you have to avoid touching them or get too close to them right away, but after letting them get used to their environment for one or two days, spend time in their presence without imposing yourself, for example: by peacefully reading a book in the same room you are letting your budgie know that you are not a threat to them.

Once they become familiar to you, be a little more active, but always stay calm. After a few days, they will understand that you are not hurting them, that you are feeding them, and they will be less afraid.

Get them used to your presence: Day by day, bring your seat closer, gradually while observing how far they tolerate you without flinching when you are changing their feed or water. Speak softly to them; if you feel them to be disturbed, they will not drink and will not eat normally. If this occurs, simply move away from the cage a little before coming back. With a little patience for a few days. They should let you approach the cage without stress.

Objects or elements foreign to their environment can sometimes frighten them. This is also the case for unusual clothes, and some prefer to keep the same outfit, at least at the beginning.

Taming A Mature Budgie

Generally, it is a little more difficult to tame if the budgie was raised by its parents (especially if they are not completely familiar to you) or if it they are already a mature. The budgie must be isolated in a quiet place: limit the amount of noise or distractions when attempting to tame a mature budgie.

Every following day try to make contact as you approach the cage, speak softly. Do not change your attitude when he whistles or protests. A hint: use spray millet when taming any budgie, they cannot resist the millet. Repeat this step as often as possible.

After a few days, if you notice that there is no reaction of fear or anger and that your budgie remains calm in your presence, try to put your hand gently in the cage by presenting him a little food, a nut between your fingers. Avoid any sudden movement and if possible do not respond to excessive reactions on his part, otherwise, your budgie will be fearful.

Repeat several times a day, in short sessions of 10-15 minutes. Do not exceed 20 or 30 minutes per session even for English budgies, otherwise, the Budgies will become agitated and react badly. If the bird takes the food you offer it,  try to discern his tastes by presenting him repeatedly with different foods.

At this point, the birds must be already familiar, used to your proximity, not be scared of you. Proceed by gently tucking your hand into the cage, they must grab the food you offer them with your fingers or in the palm, otherwise repeat the previous steps patiently.

It is recommended that you work with only one bird at a time. If necessary, isolate it so that it does not see and hear its fellows who could easily be a distraction from what you are trying to accomplish. Next, try the step up routine by using your hand or your index finger, held horizontally: approach the hand slowly, slightly to the side so that it does not feel attacked; try to place it against his chest or belly without scaring him, he should climb sooner or later. It is a reflex linked to the balance which makes that the birds tend to climb on a close and higher perch which prevents them from moving freely.

Present him with a stable seat: if you tremble or bend your perch finger too much your budgie will avoid going up there. The contact and the suppleness of the skin are not usual and the budgie is often surprised the first time, start again and if it does not remain on your finger, try with the side of the hand. If it still does not work, repeat the same operation with a treat between the thumb and forefinger. Again this is an important point and necessary to practice as much as possible before you can continue further.

If you are following every piece of instruction presented in this article but after several weeks your budgie still refuses to land on your hand, use a stable perch adapted to its size, which will feel more natural to them. Have a perch that will be only used for taming and training. The perch used must be stable and preferably made of wood in order to bring a more natural sense to the taming process. Our recommendation is that the budgie is able to grip well, and have a diameter such that the fingers are gripping half or three-quarters of the circumference of the perch.

The next step is to take it out slowly from the cage, perched on your hand. Warning! Avoid taking out a budgie that has just eaten (this also applies to training in general). This change of situation can frighten him and if his wings are intact he will fly away to go around the room. To avoid this, offer treats with your free hand to grab his attention. If your budgie flies away repeatedly, then approach it carefully and bring it up on your hand by placing it in front of its chest or by attracting it with its favorite nut or fruit if it is out of reach.

Hint: A budgie that has its wings clipped will be easier to tame or train, use a knowledgeable person such as a veterinarian or breeder when trimming your budgies wing feathers.

This first excursion in the room is also almost inevitable, but it will allow you to see if your budgie is really tamed. It is up to you to prepare them well beforehand and not to lose your calmness, to avoid frightening them. This may be necessary for them to reassure themselves and feel comfortable in this new environment. Try to understand if their reaction seems rather motivated by curiosity (movements of the head, he observes from all sides), fear (more nervous, agitated, hasty flights) or even the need for space.

You will, therefore, take great care to seal off all exits from the room BEFORE removing it, and to eliminate all possible dangers. Once the Budgie has taken off and perched too high for your size, the only risk will be some small droppings, and rather than panicking and trying to catch it immediately, leave it alone for a moment so that it regains confidence in this new landscape. Come back and try it with a very attractive treat a quarter of an hour later and if you are not more successful, place water and clearly visible food in its cage, door open (another reason to work with a bird alone), and wait until it decides. For desperate cases, a suitable net will allow you to recover the fugitive.

Use the same perch-next method to lower it from your hand or return it to its cage. When a Budgie no longer flies without reason or comes back to you regularly, you can try to repeat the operation in a nearby room, still unknown to it, to study its reactions.

In summation

  1. Act gradually: repeat the gestures until an improvement occurs, before going further in the exercise.
  2. If you start from scratch, respect the following order: proximity – hand/perch – return.
  3. With each success the reward must be immediate and therefore already in hand (even discreetly), it is essential even with budgies already trained.
  4. Multiply short sessions (10-20 min. depending on size) rather than spending several successive hours on the same day: the budgies then lack concentration.
  5. Try to make your budgie associate an order, a word or a short sentence or a gesture, a precise sign, always similar, with each of these variants: perch on you, go into the cage, etc. (but beware, it doesn’t work like with a dog).
  6. Avoid traumatic situations at all costs, they can destroy all the patiently established trust.          
  7. To go further, you and your budgie will need to be sufficiently gifted and somewhat artistic. Not all animals are suitable for training, and depending on the species and the individual, the results vary greatly.
  8. If it is not yet the case, accustom it gradually and always gently to let you scratch his head. If your budgie is embarrassed, advance your finger without touching it, then day after day touch it gently, etc. This gesture is often appreciated because budgies do it naturally between them.
  9. Then try to gently stroke the plumage, as if to smooth it, which is already less natural and often less appreciated.
  10. Finally, if your Budgie gets caught in the hand, it is a sign of great confidence, and it can be of service to you during visits to the veterinarian for example, where it will be easier to inspect it.