Starting in 2007 this blog documents the multiple attempts to write a book about Leonardo da Vinci, with random thoughts and posts along the way. In early 2016 I finally gave up (or in?) on that and it was the most free'ing decision I've ever made. Maybe i'll go back to it eventually but now i'm able to focus on my other passions. The things I wanted to do "Once I finish, someday." I learned what I didn't like and what didn't work. Now it's time to figure out what I do want and what does.
Taming of the Budgies
Danny looking back on the day I brought her home.
I've gotten a few questions on Danny's tumblr about how I tamed her or why she is so friendly. I thought it would be easier to explain in a single post so I could be more detailed and add more info and resources later.
Danny was probably hand raise and I got her really young so she came pretty tame already. You can see in the GIF above that from day 01 she would go right up on my finger. I also pretty much spend 24/7 with her and she gets a lot of attention.
It's 10x's harder to tame a budgie when you have more than one because they will bond with each other instead of you. So they get anxious and want to go back to their friends when you try to interact with them separately. I'll probably get Danny a boy-budgie when she is about a year old. I purposely only got one so that I could bond with her first. I also have the time to spend with her and she is never alone. Once I start traveling or am away more I would get her company.
From what I've experienced and read:
When you want to interact with them do it out of view of their cage/ area or they will try to get back to it. Depending on if they can fly either the bathroom or another smaller room that they can't fly into glass or hurt themselves. Danny turns into a little spoiled brat when she is in her area and if I go near it even to give her food or a new toy she'll yell at me and act like she'll bite me (and does but not hard at all) but as soon as she is away from it she's a sweet heart. That's supposedly a female budgie thing - they are very territorial. I've learned to just not take it personally and accept that she is going to be that way and to either respect her or just do what I was going to do and let her bite at me. If I stop or pull away then it will only encourage her to keep doing it.
Start with getting them used to your hands. They show each other affection by giving each other food so when you do they'll associate you with good things. They like millet a lot and I only use it for 'special treats' once a day or less. Give them a little so they know what it is and that they like it. Then only give it to them by hand through the cage. Then work you way to giving it to them while they are on your finger.
Finger training is fairly easy. I've had budgies store bough and untamed budgies that would go on a finger first thing. Others took a few tries. Of course it depends on if they can fly or not. I've always made a point that if they go on my finger that they are not going to be able to get down until I put them down. So if they jump or fly away - i'll just make them get back on every single time. Then they'll learn that if they are on your finger and try and get away - it won't work - they'll just have to go back on. Even if it's only for 20 seconds - always make them go back on if they jump off. It's for their safety.
Shoulder training is similar. Make sure you are wearing something they can grip - skin is too slippery for them. Put some millet up there and keep the first couple rides short and sweet. Then you can work your way up to doing more things. Be steady and slow at first so they don't lose their balance and jump off. Eventually you can do most things with them on there but be careful if you bend down too fast. If I bend down with Danny on my shoulder she will run down my back and then climb back up to my shoulder when I get back up. If you have a chair you sit at you can also let them perch on the back of it.
Another thing you can do is put their cage close to your bed at night so they get used to being close to you for long periods of time. It's like training them for 8hrs a night. Just make sure they are not on the bed or close enough that their cage will shake if you move on the bed.
The most important aspect to interacting with all birds is your confidence. Birds are very flighty and sensitive to fear. If you are afraid of them it makes them afraid of you. They can sense your intention and if you think to yourself "They are going to be afraid and they are going to bite me!" Then that is exactly what they will do. Thats why there are birds that are tame and "bird people" can go up to them - and they'll jump right up on their finger or even let them pet them. Then someone else who doesn't know about birds will go up and even though they are doing the EXACT same thing - the bird will run away or bite at them. They confuse an unsteady hand with a stalking hand. Think of it like a cat trying to sneak up on something vs a friendly puppy walking up to something.
There is another thing you can do that may sound a little strange but works. Find videos on youtube of other people handling friendly budgies and let yours watch them. It's possible that they have never seen or even know it was a thing that birds and people could be friends. Then they will realize that hands can be good things. Then show them your hands while they are watching the video and they'll start to make the connection. It's not much different than if you brought home a tame budgie and it was on your finger and not afraid - then they would realize that it's possible for a bird (them) to do that and not get hurt. Kinda like a "If they can do it then I can do it."
Another thing with budgies is they are funny and like to be entertained. They like to listen to music and play so when you are not interacting with them physically you can sing (or hummm) basically treat them like you would a baby - make funny faces, play peak-a-boo. They
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