A bird in the hand...would be really good.
August 20, 2006 5:09 PM Subscribe
Gentle bird-folk of metafilter, help me get ahold of my birdie. I want to be able to gently pick him up and pop him back inside his cage. There's plenty [More Inside]
posted by t0astie to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My boy budgerigar is tame and will eat out of my hand, hop on my shoulder, nibble my ear, and perch on my finger. But... on his own terms. Which is fine except for getting him to return to his cage.
The only way I can reliably get him back into his cage is to take away his seed, let him fly around for a couple of hours, and then lure him back inside with more seed. It takes houuuuurs before he's hungry enough for this to work.
I don't have hours every day. If I could get him to let me pick him up and put him back he could rack up daily frequent flyer points.
So far I've tried…
The hunger/lure thing. Works about 98 percent of the time, but takes aaaages.
Leaving my hand in the cage and talking to him gently while I change his food and water so he learns (hopefully) not to fear the fingers. Nibbling ensues which sometimes escalates to nipping.
Practicing gently pressing my finger into his tummy and saying 'up'. He goes up on my finger, but won't stay up. And I can't actually put my hand *around* him.
Using a small cloth or my hands to grab him. Does not work at all. Can't sneak up behind him or corner him. He's off before I have a chance to grab him and he's plenty quicker than me.
Birdie background briefing
He's an escapee--or refugee?--who appeared in my parents' garden about two months ago. He hopped onto my dad's arm, then his head, and let dad carry him into the house.
His cage is longer than it is wide and big enough for him to fly in, a bit. He has lots (but not too much) of stuff to play with in there, gum twigs to perch on, plenty of seed, water, cuttlefish and fresh greens. He has a mirror-friend he talks to constantly. He also has doting visitors (my folks) who coo and whistle and talk to him regularly. If no-one's home we leave the radio on to keep him company. I clean the cage every morning and change his water and food twice a day. As far as caged birds go, I think he's got it pretty good.
The only health problems he's shown were mites, treated successfully with Avispot. No beak or claw problems. He seems pretty happy and full of pep.
I'm guessing the secret(s) is/are consistency, rewarding him every time he lets me touch him and working gradually up to putting my hand around him.
The mechanics of actually doing this are a complete mystery to me.
How the hell do I go about it?