how to tame and bond with your budgie
One of the most beautiful things to accomplish with your budgie, is when you form a special bond with him or her.
When your parakeet is not afraid of you anymore, and considers you one of his or her family members.
It’s important to know, that bonding and taming your budgie, comes with a lot of patience and has different levels of bonding.
The FPFCT scale, which has 5 levels of bonding each with a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your budgie.
The Scale consists of 5 levels
- F = Friendly
- P = Partner / Provider
- F = Flock member
- C = Cuddle
- T = Tricks / Talk.
When you first get your budgie, you start with level 0.
Which means you have no points on the FPFCT scale.
Most people are looking to reach level 5 on that scale, because it means, not only you have accomplished a very deep bond.
But also it is so much fun and you can actually brag about it in front of your friends.
And show them what a beautiful relationship you have with your bird.
As mentioned before, you always start with level 0.
Which means your budgie doesn’t know who you are yet.
It could be because you have just got your budgie from the pet store, breeder, or it was born at your place.
If you are at level 0 because you have just bought your budgie from somewhere
That means it wasn’t born at your place.
Then you have to give your budgie, 10 to 20 days to settle in, and get used to the new environment.
Put the cage next to a wall, and of course you want the cage to be rectangle, in this way your bird feels safer.
All you need to do, is changing your birds food and water during this period.
For more about what cage should you get for your budgie click here.
It is also worth mentioning that the younger your budgie is , the easier it will be to get fast and higher levels on the bonding FPFCT scale.
If you don’t know if your budgie is young, click here to learn more about budgie’s age.
If you are at level 0 because your budgie was born in your place
That means you don’t need to wait for your budgie to settle in.
And you can directly move forward, and start climbing the FPFCT Scale.
The less budgies you have, the easier it will be.
Imagine having 1 budgie vs 10 budgies.
The 10 budgies will interact with each other, all day long.
So when you come along to bond with one or multiple budgies, they would have already formed bonds with other.
And you won’t be as much needed addition to their flock.
Now, let’s start climbing the FPFCT scale. shall we?
Level 1 – Friendly
The purpose of level 1, is to become friendly.
Which means, you reach level 1 of bonding with your budgie, when he is not afraid of you anymore.
To elaborate, when you change his food bowl and water, he doesn’t fly around in the cage trying to hide from you.
You can accomplish this level by being calm, and move slowly when you are changing his food or cleaning his cage.
When you are doing that, try to make very slow movements.
And when you change the food, keep your hand in the cage for 5 to 15 minutes every time, keep it motionless without moving.
So your budgie, gets used to your hand around.
And when you keep your hand in the cage for longer time, he will get used to it, and understands that it is not something that wants to hurt him.
Keep the cage in a kind of busy area, where your bird can see you most of the time.
So he or she gets used to people as well.
Whenever you walk beside his cage, walk slowly, and try to talk with him in a calm soothing voice.
The more you interact with your bird, the faster you can accomplish level 1.
Now I know a lot of you are wondering, how long does it take to reach level 1?
Well , I can’t give you a time frame, because it all depends on how old your budgie is, how much time did you spend with him, his past and personality.
But it is definitely reachable within the first month, specially if your bird is younger than 5 months.
Now after reaching level 1.
Take the time to congratulate your self, it is huge accomplishment.
Give your bird and yourself a treat, as a lot of people haven’t even reached level 1 with their budgies.
Level 2 – Partner / Provider
It is when your budgie starts eating something you hold in your hand.
After you have reached level 1, the next step is offering your bird a treat he likes, or whatever you know he would want.
After spending some time with your budgie, you should be able to know , what he likes and what he doesn’t like.
So start by offering something he likes a lot.
For a lot of people they start with millet, it is a very common treat.
Fortunately for me, my budgies love fruits and veggies, so I offer them that.
All you need to do is come close to your budgie and wait and wait and wait..
Keep coming closer as long as you see your budgie is still comfortable and is not trying to fly away.
If you see he is trying to flee, then stop moving any closer.
You can keep talking with him as you used to in the past month.
If you see your budgie showing any signs of fear
Stop doing whatever you are doing.
And if you see that he is not comfortable at all.
Then remove your hand from there, and try again another time.
What I found most helpful, is to come to your budgies when you know it’s their eating time.
I usually do it, when I first turn the lights on, after they have been sleeping.
I know for me at 9 o’clock at night, it would have been dark for 3 hours already in the winter time.
So when I turn the lights on, after coming home, and they usually go to eat.
That’s when I offer them their most delicious food with my hand,
If I Was taming them during the summer, I’m pretty sure, they would have different hours they eat at.
Because in the summer it has longer days than nights.
Now just keep repeating this process every day.
Until when you offer the treat, you will actually see them interested and they won’t even try to flee from you .
Actually I could do it with their regular seed mix, Why?
Because I have chosen the right time during the day to do it.
When they start eating whatever you offer them, that’s even a bigger accomplishment.
Because from level 2 to level 3, it is way easier and takes less time than what you had to go through from level 1 to 2.
level 3 – flock member
It is when your budgie eats from your hand while standing on your hand.
You become a flock member, and can interact with him, while he is inside the cage.
In order to achieve that, you need to try and put 1 finger between you and his treat.
So he has to step up in order to eat from your hand.
You can actually say a word to signal your budgie to hop on your finger like “up”
And you want to make sure that you don’t move your hand and it is not shaky.
So when your budgie hops on your hand or finger he can feel it is safe and he won’t fall off your hand.
In my case, I just offered their usual food, with an open hand, and he just jumps right on my hand.
All you need to do, is just make him come to his treat.
After he becomes comfortable with level 2 eating the treats you offer, now it’s time for him to come and get the treat.
Although you can accomplish this step relatively fast
But it has a lot of work. because you want to prepare him for level 4. which is cuddling.
By that I mean:
you will be able to touch him, he would groom you, or just cuddle and sleep in your hand.
For that to happen, you need your budgie to really trust you, and get out of the cage.
Which is his home and the most comfortable zone for him.
What you need to do, when he is eating from your hand, you want to start slowly moving it towards the cage’s door.
You will find that when you are getting closer and closer to the cage’s door, he will most likely start feeling uncomfortable.
That’s when you want to pause, and to stop moving further to the cage’s door.
Each time, try to move a bit closer to the cage’s door.
To the point where he doesn’t care anymore, and can keep eating from your hand outside his cage.
It might take you a while to make him feel comfortable doing that.
But when he feels safe on your hand, then it would make it really easy for you to try and interact with him more.
Like if he lets you touch him with the other hand, give him a treat.
level 4 – Cuddle
Since this level your budgie is out of the cage.
Don’t forget to make your house safe for budgies before letting your bird out.
Click here to learn how to budgie proof your home
At this stage your budgie is more comfortable with you.
You can start grooming him and sleep together.
Take him with you while he’s on your shoulder or hand.
This level alone is magical.
However, the next step is the hardest one.
Enjoy the time with your budgie in preparation for the next step!
Level 5 – Tricks / Talk
Although not all budgies talk, but doing tricks is also one of the deepest levels of bonding and taming you can reach with your budgie.
If you want to teach your budgie to talk
You need to keep repeating the same sentence for him.
And you can see if he is listening to you, by the way he is looking at you quietly.
He might be chirping and when you start to talk, he gets quite, that means he is listening to you.
Of course make sure that he isn’t silent because he is scared.
You want him to be listening and not fearful.
If you want your budgie to do tricks
You want to focus on one trick and divide the trick into steps.
With every step he accomplishes you give him a treat until he finally does the whole trick.
Just remember, always divide your trick into milestones.
Let’s say you want your bird to put a ball in a basket.
- when your bird carries the ball you give him a treat.
- when he brings you the ball you give him a treat, don’t give him a treat until he brings you the ball.
- After he brings you the ball you put it in the basket and give him a treat.
It’s important to show him you want the ball in the basket.
- And of course finally, give him treat only after he puts the ball in!
This trick takes a lot of time, but I have given you an amazing one!
You can start with simpler tricks
Like if your bird makes a certain sound you give him a treat.
Or when he lands on your hand give him a treat.
Level 5 is huge!
And it could be from your budgie doing 1 simple trick to doing 50 different complicated tricks.
It all depends on how much time are you willing to spend with your lovely feathered friend.
And how deep of a relationship you have built with him or her.