The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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There are many, many things that you are going to want to make sure of when you choose to adopt budgies. After all, because budgies are not particularly common animals to have as pets, finding information on how to care for them can be difficult.
This means that you will have to put in more effort to make sure that you are fully informed about how to care for your brand-new bird friend. Thankfully, caring for budgies is fairly easy, in terms of caring for birds, and it can be incredibly rewarding as well.
Budgies are one of the most common birds that one can adopt as a pet, although it can be somewhat difficult to find a place that offers healthy, happy budgies to adopt. For this reason, you should always opt to try and take care of a budgie from someone who breeds them, rather than a pet store.
More often than not, breeders focus on the health and happiness of the birds they have, making them far better and far healthier as pets. If you have never owned a budgie, or any other bird for that matter, you may not know what to expect in terms of behavior and how friendly the birds might be.
With you being so much larger than the bird, you might be worried about the idea of it being scared of you, and while this can be a concern when you are first getting to know the bird, the good news is that as long as you are mindful of what you are doing, your budgie will likely love to be friends with you.
One of the favorite traits of the budgie is the fact that they are quite lovable, especially compared to other exotic animals. While budgies may not be as overtly affectionate as a golden retriever might be, they show their affection in their own way once they have bonded with you, and this comes across in the form of “cuddling,” or as close to it as a bird can get with you.
“Cuddling” from your budgie can be quite different than cuddling from another larger animal, so it is important to make sure that you have a firm understanding of what your budgie’s affectionate behavior looks like so that you don’t misinterpret it as something else.
However, before you can begin to look into how budgies show their affection, you will first want to understand how to get your budgie to be comfortable enough with you that it will want to cuddle with you.
Budgies and Affection
Budgies are surprisingly affectionate birds. Once they properly bond with someone, and assuming they are raised right from a young age, they will want to spend as much time with you as possible and will often sing songs of all the sounds it enjoys to you as a form of communication.
The trick to this is both making sure that you provide the opportunity for the budgie to bond with you at its own pace and making sure that you adopt a budgie from a reputable place that raises them from a young age.
As with most animals that haven’t been fully domesticated in the way that dogs and cats have, there is a period of socialization that budgies have to go through when they are very young and still growing up.
This is often taken care of by the breeder or handler of the animal, as they will be spending the most time around freshly born budgies. The overall goal of this socialization period is to teach the budgie that humans are not creatures to be feared, despite the size difference.
Socialization starts at a very young age, as it is important to teach the young budgie that people are not necessarily predators and that it can trust them. You don’t have to worry too much about this process aside from making sure that you adopt your budgie from someone who is experienced in bringing up budgies.
The most important parts of this process take place at such a young age that the budgie would not reasonably be up for adoption yet, or if it is, it won’t be ready to take home quite yet.
The next step is up to you, and that is the bonding process. Once the budgie has effectively learned that humans are not automatic predators and the budgie is old enough to be adopted and taken into your home, the budgie is likely going to be stressed and afraid. This is the beginning of the bonding process.
One way to think about it is that if socialization is the process of getting the budgie used to humans and other people in general, then the bonding process is getting the budgie used to you specifically.
Bonding with your budgie is as simple as spending time with it so that it can associate your presence with not being one that incites danger. Budgies do not necessarily have a “pack mentality,” but they do have a “flock mentality.” In the wild, budgies will fly around in a group with hundreds of others.
Instinctively, budgies know that being alone is bad, and once it has been socialized enough to be able to see humans as a possible member of their “flock,” it will likely want to be able to bond with you, even if it is scared at first.
To bond with your budgie, you will essentially want to treat it as a flock member so that it feels accepted. Of course, you aren’t a budgie, so some parts of this may be more difficult than others, but being able to bond successfully with your budgie is going to be key to making sure that you can have a cuddly companion later on.
Bonding with Budgie
Bonding with your budgie is a crucial step to reaching that goal of being able to “cuddle” with your pet friend. The first step of bonding with your new bird friend is to do as it would do for other flock members: sing.
Budgies love singing and are incredibly communicative birds, and as you will find when you raise your budgie, they will develop favorite sounds that they will sing to you and themselves. Naturally, with as much as budgies love singing, it would make sense that singing to your budgie can help it bond with you.
You don’t have to belt out into song, but whenever you are spending time with your budgie (which should be frequently if you are trying to bond with it), you should talk to it. They enjoy hearing noises and can understand the idea that you are speaking to it.
You should make a point to greet your budgie every morning and to pass by the budgie throughout the day. If you have to leave your budgie alone for an extended period of time, you should play the radio or leave the TV on, as to a budgie’s perspective, this can come across as speech too.
Hand-taming is the next step of bonding, and it is arguably one of the most crucial steps. It is as straightforward as it sounds too, especially if you want to cuddle it. At the start, you won’t be doing too much with the budgie, as your overall goal is going to be to familiarize the budgie with your hand and show it that you do not mean it any harm.
To begin, you will want to simply introduce your hand to its environment on a gradual basis. This could begin by placing your hand near the bars of the cage when your budgie is near one of the sides, but not yet touching the budgie.
Remember to act slowly, deliberately, and in a nonthreatening manner, as from your budgie’s perspective, you are a giant. You can also consider speaking calmly and quietly to help with this process, as budgies enjoy hearing speech.
Once your budgie is comfortable with this level of “handling,” you will want to slowly become more intrusive into its environment. Start poking your fingers between the bars so it has a chance to investigate your hand.
Eventually, you can even put your hand in the cage, offering it treats in the process so it can associate this encounter with positive thoughts (much like you would do with dogs). As time passes, you may want to begin luring the budgie onto your hand with the treats so that it can learn that it is okay to ride your hand.
This is a lengthy process, and it can take almost a full month of daily, committed training. At minimum, you should be spending at least 15 minutes twice a day doing this with your budgie so it can slowly get used to you. Once you are able to do this, you will open the road to having a cuddly budgie.
Do Budgies Cuddle?
The answer to this question can be a little bit unclear. Budgies are absolutely cuddly, but in their own sense. You have to remember that budgies are quite the different creature than people are, and even most mammals. A budgie’s definition of “cuddling” may not be what you expect.
Budgies, to put it one way, show their affection through all forms of physical touch. They love to be able to perch on your shoulder, nudging against you throughout the day. They will often nuzzle their head against your neck as their form of “cuddling.”
In addition to this, it will also nuzzle your hand and climb all over your body. You may find it trying to groom your hair, as this is probably the closest part of you that resembles feathers to your budgie.
A budgie that is willing to cuddle you is a budgie that shows no fear of showing its physical affection. It can take quite a bit of time and patience to get to this point, and you always have to be mindful of their delicate size when you are taking them for a ride on your shoulder. Because of this, no matter how sweet budgies are, they are not the best pets for younger children.
If you want to adopt a budgie for your children, the best time for this will be when your children are old enough for them to solidly grasp the idea that bonding with the budgie and being able to play with it means at least a month of dedicated patience and calm bonding sessions.
Younger children can stress your budgie out with their unexpected screaming and/or crying, and children a little bit older may not understand the patience or delicacy required to be able to handle the budgie.
In a sense, budgies are better for older children not because the budgie is violent or could overpower the child, but quite the opposite. A young child can inadvertently stress your budgie out and accidentally harm it if it tries to pick it up a little too harshly, no matter how much the young child may mean well.
Budgies and Children
Budgies are not animals that are suitable for younger children, simply because younger children lack the tact to be able to handle and care for budgies, even with supervision.
Younger children are loud, and may not have the sense to control their volume around animals, especially ones that are as sensitive as the budgie can be. Younger children also may not fully grasp just how fragile and thin a budgie’s skeleton is, and when trying to grab the budgie, may cause it harm by mistake.
On top of this, budgies do not appreciate being grabbed. They prefer to trust you and come to you on their own terms, which is why the bonding process is so important as it encourages those terms that your budgie feels comfortable with you.
Younger children may not understand this need for patience, even if they are being fully well-meaning, and a child’s eagerness to meet and hold a budgie can easily come across as aggression.
This can lead to the budgie acting defensively, pecking or biting at the hands of a young child. Depending on the child’s personality, he or she may either react in fear or pain, physically lashing out at the bird, or may cry out in pain, which will only startle the budgie more.
For the most part, budgies are an animal that should be taken care of by older children, at the latest. Consider a middle teenager as the right age to begin caring for a budgie, again, with a fair amount of supervision to ensure that the budgie is safe, even if your child means well.