Step-by-Step Guide for Taming and Finger-Training Budgie Parakeets
Like us, each bird has it’s own unique personality. Some are extraverts who seem drawn toward exploration and human interaction, others are more introverted and may prefer your company from a slight distance. Regardless, with consistency and positive reinforcement, you can train budgies to do what you want. Budgies are small parrots with big brains! Learn to read their body language and take your time. In the end, you will be rewarded with a bonded, trusting, feathered friendship.
Above all, keep in mind these very important things:
- Your bird is very aware that WE are predator animals and THEY are prey. Trust is essential for her to bond to you. Be patient — trust is earned, but so is mistrust — so go slowly and gently. Patience and small doses of daily handling are the key. The overall goal is to EARN (not force) her trust over time.
- If your bird flies off, follow her slowly until she settles, then offer your finger as a perch in front of her and say “step up”. When she does, reward her immediately by becoming her elevator — raise your hand up high into the air. This is rewarding because birds like being high where they feel safe. Secondarily, you can also offer her a bite of millet. Avoid chasing, catching or restraining her in your hand. This can make a prey animal feel trapped and cause her to feel afraid and want to escape. The goal is for her to want to come to you, even if that means just an inch or two towards your waiting finger perch.
- Move her cage around to various parts of the house (wherever you want her to eventually hang out with you) so she gets used to the various areas from the safety of her cage environment.
- A reward must immediately follow the behavior you are trying to increase or strengthen.
The following outlines an intensive, effective finger-training program. I highly recommend completing this training BEFORE you remove your budgie from the cage!
- When you bring your new budgie home, let her rest in her cage for a couple of hours. If it’s dark outside, let her sleep until morning.
- When you have some uninterrupted time, remove the food from her cage and set a timer alarm for 30 minutes.
- When the timer alarm goes off, hold a millet spray or put some loose millet seed in the cup of your hand. Talk softly with your budgie for 1 minute before opening the cage door and tell her what you are about to do. She won’t understand your words; the point is that you are moving slowly and politely, accustoming her to your non-threatening approach into the cage.
- Then open the door and put your hand, holding the millet treat, just below the level of her perch and 1 inch to the side. In other words, don’t force the millet on her, just put it within her reach.
- Wait quietly — without moving your hand or the millet — and talk to her for 2 minutes. If she eats the millet, great!, let her eat it for 2 minutes. If she doesn’t eat it, no worries, you’ll try again soon. After 2 minutes, whether she has eaten the millet or not, say “goodbye” and remove your hand and the millet from her cage.
- Set the timer alarm for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat the above steps again.
- Set the timer alarm for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat the above steps again.
- Continue this procedure as many times, every 30 minutes, as you have the time and patience for.
- At least 1 hour before the lights will be turned off in your house for the night, put your bird’s food dish back into her cage so she can fill up her crop (belly) before bedtime.
Day Two: Follow the same steps as Day One but this time, place your hand with the millet 3 inches to the side of her, along the perch she’s standing on, and at the same level as her feet. This way she has to take a couple steps towards your hand to reach it.
Day Three: Same as Day One, but hold the millet 4 inches away from her.
Day Four: Same as Day One, but hold the millet 5 inches away from her.
Day Five: Same as Day One, but hold the millet 6 inches away from her.
Day Six: Same as Day One, but hold the millet 7 inches away from her. By now, she should be happy to hear and see you approach her cage. She should be coming up to your hand with the millet. You will have made great strides in earning the bird’s trust!
When your bird is comfortable enough to be removed from the cage on your hand, allow her to perch on your shoulder. This will allow her time to check you out — she might preen or play with your hair or earlobe, climb on top of your head, or cozy up to your warm neck and take a nap. This is how your relationship will grow.
Tame budgerigars can be taught to speak, whistle tunes, and play with humans. Both males and females sing and can learn to mimic sounds and words and do simple tricks although both singing and mimicry are more pronounced and better perfected in males. Male specimens of budgerigars are considered one of the top five talking champions amongst parrot species! Males can easily acquire vocabularies ranging between a few dozen to a hundred words. Pet males, especially those that are hand-raised, are generally the best speakers. A budgerigar named Puck holds the world record for the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words. Puck, a male budgerigar owned by American Camille Jordan, died in 1994, with the record first appearing in the 1995 edition of Guinness World Records.
Talking Budgie Parakeet Video:
Duke the budgerigar waves, turns around, fetches and flies to owner on cue.
More Budgie Parakeet Pages:
Nutrition and Food Recommendations: Birds fed seed-only diets have a much shorter life span. We provide lists of healthy foods and show you how to grow your own sprouts.
Colors, Varieties, Mutations, Genetics: Budgie Parakeets come in a rainbow of colors. This page has beautiful photos with variety and mutation descriptions.
How To Care For Your Budgie Parakeet: What is the best cage and how should I set it up? How do I keep my budgie healthy and safe? What are the best toys and playtime activities? How do I trim their wing feathers?
FAQ (frequently asked questions): What is a budgie parakeet’s personality like? What are the differences between American parakeets and English budgies? How do you tell a male from a female? Should you keep one, two or more? How long do they live? Where did the species originate?
Training, Tricks, Talking: A step-by-step guide for finger-training, trust-building, and bonding. Watch informative and entertaining video demonstrations. Find out how many words they can learn to say.
Play gyms, Stands and Perches: How to make your own (or order a custom one from us).
Homemade Aviaries and Flight Cages: How to converted used furniture into large flight cages and beautiful indoor aviaries.
Parakeet Food and Supplies Market: We offer organic, homemade bird food plus other essential bird supplies.
Budgie Parakeet Breeder in Colorado: Our family raises, hand-feeds, trains and adores budgie parakeets! Learn more about our selective breeding program and view our gorgeous, tame birds.
Inside Our Aviary: See where our birds live — flight enclosures, breeding room, play gyms.
Our Flock of Budgie Parakeets: Take a peek at our gorgeous feathered friends. Lots of photos with color mutations listed!
Adorable Pictures of Our Hand-fed Babies: Come ooh and aahh over all the cuteness and watch them grow up!
Pre-Adoption Questionnaire: If you are interested in adopting one (or more) of our parakeets, please respond to these questions.
Budgie Baby Waiting List: I know how hard it is to wait when you’re excited but I promise you, the wait is worth it!
10 comments… add one
I really enjoyed your website. We are looking for adult birds but you do not say when you will return for getting them from you.
If you check these comments could you let us know when you will be back in business and if you will have any adult birds available?
We are impressed that you can supply everything needed and that your prices are most reasonable.
We are in Buena Vista, Colorado.
Hi I live here in Colorado and have had parakeets for many years but have never really trained them so I am now wanting to have a closer bond with my sweet birds. My Birdies have now had their own babies who are about 4 weeks old now. I want to have the relationship you do but do not know where to start. The parents are very wild and i am not sure if i should remove babies etc, in other word I am scared and need you’re expertise help.
Thanks new mommy in Aurora
I love your website and have been following your advice for raising my parakeets. Now I have 2 chicks from 1 couple of my lovely parakeets. The babies are 3 weeks old and look ready to fly !
Pls help me with further steps to be taken to raise and train the chicks. I also want to train them for talking and for playing with toys etc. Your guidance will be very helpful to me.
In India (Mumbai), we do not get parakeet toys and stuff easily. Pls help.
Thanks a ton !!
I bought a budgie from petsmart and was surprised how they took hold of it from the cage. I was angry because I knew that the budgie was terrified. I took my little budgie home and sure enough his fear of hands was pure terror. I have been working with him for almost 3 months now and he is a little bit better but I have a feeling it is going to take a long time. We are leaving for a two week vacation and the only person I can leave him with has a couple of dogs. This worries me. Any suggestions?
You have explained Budgie outstandingly!! My baby is almost 3 months old, named Nibbles. He is so delightful to teach, play with and just watch to understand him. He gives me so much joy. He does try to bite, but; is actually learning the words: NO BITE Should he continue biting by the 3rd time I will remove his favorite toy. When teaching time has completed it is placed back in the cage only in a different area. This works like a charm. He soaks each word in as a sponge!! Speaking in complete sentences, asking questions as I learn daily understang everything thus far adds to his sparkling personality. I want to thank you for the time you devote to us, your readers but mostly taking time to impeccably teach methods to handle, train and hand feed my little guy. Blessings to you and yours plus your devoted fanclub. Now you have 1 more addition (actually 2) with who has signed-up for your Newsletter. Signed: Jaynie & Nibbles (my adorable Budgie)
Hello, my mame is marie amd i wonder if you could help me or could recomend a trainer around me, who does private training for parakeets .. Pease, contact me
I have been an animal lover all my life now 70 years old, I have a small 11 year old dog use to all animals, I save a 5 year old cat, still afraid a little but very gentle and loves me to brush her but cannot pick her up, my big concern is will I ever be able to let my budgies out of the cage, they are babies and have been hand fed.
thank you very much
i have a pair of budgies who are wild i bought them two months ago i have them in a small cage it seems like they hate me and i am not even sure whether they both are male and female or both male
pls help me i need your advice
I have a new budgie and he seems totally relaxed. Should I start training him. This is the first day I have had him. His name is Mr. Pickles.
my budgie won’t eat millet spray and how can I introduce the millet in the right way