New Budgies: The First Weeks

Both Robin and Tuck were much older than Giacomo was when we brought them home. Robin (green budgie) is the oldest having hatched April 2013. Tuck (grey pied budgie) is nearly three months old and hatched December 29, 2013. When we got Giacomo I believe he was newly weaned.

In a room full of budgies, I think we both noticed Tuck right away. Something about him grabbed our attention more than the other young birds in his cage. Despite a million distractions, he seemed to notice us.  He was plucky and clearly had attitude. Scrappy, even.

Robin was in  larger aviary with older birds. To be honest, I thought he was younger than he was, and that was a big reason I expressed interest in him. But he was big and beautiful, with that regal English budgie profile. I said I wanted him.

As we loaded our new charges into their carriers and made our way out the door, I couldn’t help wondering at the sanity of our decision. These were older birds, both parent raised and hardly handled by humans. Going on my previous experiences with American budgies, I assumed we would be bit frequently and often in the coming days.

Perhaps we should have waited longer to test the waters, but impatience won out. The next day after bringing Robin and Tuck home we decided to try some human/budgie interaction. They were wary at first and clearly did not know that fingers were for stepping up on, but putting millet in my hand helped, and for the first time in weeks I got to feel budgie feet on my hand again. We kept the session brief. No one was bitten and the budgies didn’t panic. I thanked God and considered our first “meeting” a success, mentally noting that work on step-ups was needed.

The next two days I spent some quiet time with each budgie alone. They were not used to being offered a finger to step up on, so that was what we worked on. Robin grasped the concept a bit more quickly than Tuck, which surprised me considering his age. With Tuck I had to worm my finger under his toes a few times while saying “Step up” for him to get the idea. But it didn’t take long. As of right now, both budgies are, if some what reluctantly, stepping up to come out of their cage… and it turns out my fears of being savaged by two little beaks were completely unfounded. The worst we’ve experienced has been Tuck making some warning pecks/light nips when he seems annoyed. Robin is even more docile, preferring to snooze on your finger rather than lunge.

The budgies are learning to cohabitate. As far as I know, they had never met each other before we brought them home, something I wish I was more sensitive to before putting them in the same cage. Not thinking, I assumed they would just be comforted by the presence of another bird after being moved to a strange place. But there has been very little aggression, none of it dangerous, and most of their confrontations are strictly verbal. When they aren’t arguing or competing over a food dish (they have two to choose from), they sleep very peacefully side by side.

So now we are all  in the process of getting to know each other, learning to trust, and learning to gain trust. It will be a slow process, but I am thankful for the answered prayers and how well things are going thus far.

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