Starting the Socialization Process My method for socializing Budgies begins with the following assumptions:
The Budgie is an aware being. It will process its experiences and build a
mode of behavior consistent with its observations.
It is wired by nature to seek flight as insurance of safety. If uncertain,
it tends to act conservatively and will defend itself by flying away from
Accept that you are much bigger than the bird and it is
very aware of that inequity.
Unless imprinted by hand-rearing, it knows you are a different kind of being
from itself and the flock.
My methods retain
the bird’s identification with its own kind. This is important for an effectively
My reasons for socializing Budgies are consistent with the following aims:
To have a breeding colony that is relatively accepting of my presence in their
daily life. This allows me to check the nest where the hen will often stay in the
box and will nibble my fingers to signal her expectation that we are friends.
It allows me to have birds alight on my hands in the hope of being let out of the
cage for exercise.
It builds trust and the rich variety of interaction that is a source of apparent
fun for the birds, and one of satisfaction for me.
Be aware of body language. You can tell when a bird is
ready to fly away or ready to stay when your hand approaches. Whether they want
to playfully nibble your hand or let you hand wrestle, or even let you wrap
fingers around it.
Types of body language:
Gentle tasting or nibbling, “Let’s shake
hands on this”
Flattened feathers, “I’m not so sure about this.”
As close to you as the perch allows, “I think you’re OK, interesting.”
Hanging on the bars near you, “Let me out!”
Be aware of action and reaction, cause and effect.
You and the bird will be doing this dance:
The bird pulls back or tightens as you extend your hand. You need to go slower or be more benign.
The bird lowers his head toward you extended hand. Give him a chance to nibble it or hold it with his foot.
You do this by:
gaining a reputation of being
a “nice guy,”
making your actions and
motives transparent to them,
being respectful of their being,
giving them an option
before employing a more forceful means when necessary,
Make a habit of the following:
Announce your presence before they
jump to the conclusion you are sneaking around. They
are suspicious of silence. Talk to them pleasantly as much as possible.
It is part of their enjoyment of sound. Your talk can also release your own
Before you approach them, stretch out a little.
Imagine them stretching their wings.
Be considerate of protocol. If after he
steps up to your hand, he stretches his wings, allow him to compose himself
before taking another step.
Make your hand a platform not just a perch.
If one refuses to go on your hand when
you want to escort them back to their cages
forget it and work on the ones that are more tractable first. When the others are
in, give him another chance to go in before resorting to the net. Sometimes after
a couple sweeps with the net, it will realize the hand is nicer than the net and
it will comply.
When you have to net a recalcitrant one,
never do it angrily. This is an
opportunity to show that the hand never hurts and is kind. Stroke him
gently while talking, using the barest amount of control and the lightest
touch. Sometimes if you delay the release while stroking him and open your
hand calmly, he will stand in your hand, look around, nibble you, and then
go to a perch. That is a very rewarding success!
The more they trust that good things will
come from interacting with you, the more
they will alight on you and be amenable to suggestion. Let cooperation and
reward be as one.Your presence brings pleasure.
When you present your hand and they
alight on it, you let them out for flight
exercise and a chance to carouse with playmates.
When you approach them with a newly
filled seed cup or a millet spray, it they
accept your presence they get a welcome treat.
Leave the interaction simple and
without ambivalent hooks, such as trying to grab
them when their guard is down. When you have to, be direct about attempting a grab,
doing it without subterfuge: “I
have to grab you”, and do stroke them affectionately. They won’t like it but they
will not bite because they trust the