Ask Lafeber

Question:

April 20, 2021

How long will it take for my budgie to like me after scaring her


I recently got a pet budgie. She looks to be hand tame as she was not that frightened when my hand was near her. I haven’t cared for a budgie before so i didn’t know the do’s and don’ts. On the first day i picked her up and started to handle him because the pet shop owner told me that this is how i will get her use to me, later i read online that i shouldn’t do this as it frightens them to death and they will only dislike you more 🙁
I have also handled her again recently because i cleaned her cage and needed to put her back inside so i had no other way but to chase her with my hand slowly, which i know is wrong.
I hope that she does not hate me and will never be tamed
I do not want my budgie to be scared of me. I have made a couple mistakes as the ones i mentioned above. How long do you think it will take until she is not frightened anymore and until she will want to come to me.


Answer:

Hi Samuel,

Taming a bird is all about being patient and building trust. It is true that your budgie will not like being picked up by her body, because she feels like a predator is grabbing her. Budgies are prey animals, so anything coming from above or behind can be alarming. If you were able to pick her up this way and she didn’t bite you, then it sounds like she may have already been tamed or at least worked with some. I don’t think you did anything to cause her not to trust you. She is going to be wary, but it sounds like you moved slowly. If you need to remove her from the cage again, before she is hand tamed, you should use a light towel to cover your hand. This way she will associate being caught with the towel, not your hand. Do not ever use a glove.

I’m going to give you the links to our taming, training and behavior pages. Read everything on these pages and you will have a good understanding of behavior and how to work with her. Always keep your movements slow, and talk gently to her. You can sit by her cage and talk to her, with your hands out of view. Then you can start resting your hand next to the cage. This will help her get used to your hands and learn that hands aren’t going to grab her anymore. It will take time, but this is just how it is – it has nothing to do with you already picking her up. Don’t expect a lot of progress to happen quickly. This could be a project that takes all summer or even longer. But if you put the time into it, you can earn her trust and have a good companion after all of your work and patience.

Teaching Your Bird

Pet Bird and Parrot Behavior

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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