How to Get My Pet Bird to Like Me
Budgies are highly intelligent, relatively low maintenance, and are renowned for their hilarious personalities! And with their beautiful, striking appearance too, it’s hardly surprising that budgies are the world’s most popular pet bird. As with any pet, building a good relationship between you and your feathered friend can take time, so ensuring your budgie feels safe and comfortable around you is key to building a long-lasting friendship. So, you may now be asking the question of how to get my parakeet or budgie to like me?
Step 1 – Make Sure They’re Comfortable
The first step to getting your budgie to like you is to make sure that they’re comfortable in your presence and their environment. Providing them with a safe and secure cage is a great place to start. The Omlet Geo Bird Cage is the perfect space for budgies, with a geodesic, spacious design, offering plenty of room for perching and flying! Furthermore, the Omlet Geo Bird Cage has a choice of Omlet Geo Bird Cage Night Covers to choose from, that not only look great but most importantly, help to protect your bird from any loud noises and provide them with a feeling of security at night when you are not there.
Maintaining your bird’s space is another important step to take to make your budgie feel comfortable. Just as we wouldn’t feel happy in an unclean, cluttered environment, unsurprisingly nor do our pets. Fortunately, the Omlet Geo Bird Cage is incredibly practical and easy to clean. With a no-spill feeder that catches food and a wipe clean plastic base, your budgie’s cage will remain in top condition with very little work from you!
Once your bird feels settled and comfortable in its home, you should begin to make them feel comfortable in your presence. It’s important not to forget that parakeets/budgies are prey animals, so can be on high alert until they have perceived that you are not a threat.
You should begin by sitting down by their cage, making sure not to make any sudden noises that could potentially scare your bird. Talk to them in a quiet voice, gently repeating their name and introducing them to everyone in the household. You can also perhaps read them a book (even if it makes you feel a bit silly!). Patience is key here, but your budgie getting comfortable around you is the beginning of creating a beautiful bond.
Step 2 – Start to Bond with Them
Once your bird feels comfortable and settled in their home, you can begin to strengthen your bond with them. Generally speaking, it will only take around two weeks for a budgie to become used to their home, although bonding with your bird could take months. Don’t let that put you off though, as since these brainy birds all come with their own personalities, bonding time really does vary from bird to bird.
When talking to your budgie, you can provide them with bird treats at the same time to start bonding. If you notice that your budgie is fearful of your hands, you’ll find it helpful to do some hand training, which we’ll learn about later. Alternatively, you can also place a bird treat holder in their cage for them to enjoy. Not only will a treat holder keep your bird entertained, it will also help to create a positive association with being in their cage. Being present during this time will also help show your budgie affection. After the initial getting to know each other phase, budgies tend to really love their owners, so you can be assured that your affection doesn’t go unreciprocated. Just be mindful that budgies should only be fed occasional treats, alongside a balanced diet of good-quality seed, fruit and greens, and a mineral supplement block.
While parakeets are relatively low maintenance, you’ll still need to dedicate enough time to them to develop your desired bond. Ideally, parakeets need at least an hour of your time, spent solely focusing on them and their needs. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be with them for an hour in one sitting, so you can split this up into short sessions where you can provide your bird with your direct attention. During this time, continue to talk to them before starting to play.
Step 3 – Start to Play with Them
Playing with your budgie is the next step to getting them to like you. You’ll be able to notice when your budgie is becoming more comfortable around you from their body language, which will let you know that they’re starting to trust you and are feeling content. A happy budgie will have a relaxed posture and slightly open wings. You may also notice your budgie bobbing their head, or even their entire body. A comfortable and happy budgie will also let you know how they’re feeling with their vocalizations. If your budgie is chirping and chattering away, then this is another indicator that you have a happy bird on your hands! Read more about keeping your budgie happy on our5 Ways to Keep Your Birds Happy and Healthyblog!
Budgie toys are great for providing birds with the physical and mental stimulation they require. To initiate play with your bird, it’s a good idea to get a selection of budgie toys to see which they enjoy best.
A firm favorite amongst a lot of birds, however, is the mirror game. It’s the perfect interactive game that both you and your pet can get involved in and only requires, you guessed it… a small mirror! All you have to do is simply hold a mirror in front of your parakeet, to begin with. As your budgie moves closer to the mirror, switch the mirror to face another direction, until your budgie eventually ends up chasing their reflection! Alternatively, using a parakeet mirror in their cage will keep them entertained, even when you’re not around.
Step 4 – Handle them Gently
Now that you’ve started to build a bond with your bird, you may wish to start handling them. Before doing so, along with of course talking to and providing your budgie with toys and treats, raise your hand to your budgie’s cage. Within a few days, your hand will also become familiar to your bird, which is the first step towards handling them.
Now it’s time to put your hand inside the cage. Most importantly here is to not make any sudden movements to potentially frighten your bird. While remaining calm is essential when first having physical contact with your budgie, you should be confident in your approach. Slowly placing your hand inside the cage should get your bird familiar with being close to you, before they are fully comfortable with sitting on your finger. You should keep your hand in your budgie’s cage for five minutes at a time and practice this during your sessions with your budgie throughout the day. Use millet on your finger, so that your bird will eventually get used to having to go between your thumb and index finger to get their reward.
It is important to point out that your bird may initially peck at your fingers when you reach for them. Although this won’t be hard enough to draw any blood, it’s worth noting. As a whole, however, budgies are rarely aggressive by nature, and if anything, they may clash with each other over food and territory, but this temper is often short-lived.
Step 5 – Start to Train Them with Commands
Tricks may look impressive, but they’re also fantastic for helping to build up a lasting bond between you and your parakeet!
One of the first commands you can teach your bird is to hop on and off your finger, also known as finger training, as we briefly touched on earlier. Once your budgie has this initial move down, you’ll be able to move on a few more complicated tricks! However, to finger train your budgie they’ll need to be confident around your hands, as you would have been practicing with step 4 hand training.
After your budgie has eventually perched on your finger with your hand in their cage, you can begin using “step up” and “step down” commands, as they move on and off your finger. Repetition is important, so be consistent with the commands you’re using and reward your budgie when they successfully follow what you’re asking of them. Soon enough, with a bit of patience, your bird should be able to hop on and off your finger when offered it as you open their cage.
As your bird advances, you can spend some more one on one time with them and teach them some more basic commands with a few short sessions. Read our previous blog Four Easy Tricks to Teach your Parakeet and our Teaching Parakeets Tricks guide for a bit more inspiration!
Step 6 – Tame Your Parakeet
If you followed all of the steps above, you should’ve been able to tame your parakeet. This is all about having your bird’s trust, which would have been built over several training sessions and time spent together. At this point, you can practice letting your budgie out of their cage to roam free. They may initially again need treats and encouragement to entice them out of their comfort zone, so continue to use a soothing tone you’ve used throughout the process to help them. If they immediately fly back into their cage, it’s nothing to be concerned about. As with every step of bird training, patience is key!
So, now you’ve got a tame bird and have created a wonderful, affectionate bond, you’ve got years of great fun ahead. Even after your bird is tamed, you should continue to spend time with them, so that they can live a fulfilled life as the happy, sociable animals they are meant to be!
This entry was posted in Birds