Advice / All / Avian / Behavior, Training, & Modification / Ethology / Pets / Questions & Answers

How do you show a budgie that it has done something wrong?

One of my budgies, let’s call him Blue, because that’s his color, is a little troublemaker. He always bullies the other bird, Green, which doesn’t help with Green’s foot injury. Also, sometimes I let them out of their cage to fly and play around the living room, and Green goes back in the cage without hesitation, but Blue just flies around to avoid going back inside. How should I discipline him?

A:

1) Separate the cages so that Blue cannot get to Green through the cage and harass/stress him out. They can still see each other, just not up close.

Let them out at separate times for now. Getting outside is super important for their minds, wings, everything…let them experience it on their own if they’re going to be fussy outside together. (you may want to get them sexed, it could be a territorial thing).

2) Try to observe what exactly is triggering Blue o act aggressive towards Green. Is he feeling territorial? Is it a sound? A jealousy? A courtship?.

3) Some pent up energy and really not want to go in yet. Thats to say he should totally dismiss you. But maybe just letting them out for 45 mins to an hour, with toys nearby, loosely supervised.

4) Disciplining birds doesnt exist unfortunately in the way you might be thinking. Remember-you never want to punish a bird! they will not understand that kind of reaction and can hold long grudges.

Really the only way for a bird to learn to stop a bad behavior is through positive and negative reinforcement. So when a bird displays a bad behavior stop responding to it. Altogether.
For example, if your bird is screaming for attention, you don’t say “NO!” like you would to a dog. Your bird just sees that as a form of attention and will do it again.

Instead you can calmly turn your back and ignore them. This teaches, and reinforces, the idea that they won’t get anything they want from making that noise.

This works the same same with training your bird to go back in the cage.

Your bird thinks of flying around as fun. You can make it fun with him. Play with him, each him tricks, let him feel you’re not going to immediately want him to go back in. Make the cage fun too. Put some new items in there he wants to investigate, but don’t lock her in there, let her just go in and out as she pleases.

Reward reward reward! Every time he shows interest in you or going to the cage with you or on his own.

Are you doing step up training, and fly-to-me training? This helps a lot. I wont go into it now but look it up online if you haven’t already seen it. Basically, when you’re training blue to go into the cage, you might start by having him fly to you. give him a treat. He might fly away immediately thinking you’re going to put him back in–let him fly away. Just reward and wait until he comes back to you.
Build this up until he perches on you and you can carry him closer and closer to the cage, while rewarding him and playing with him.
Be patient. Being pushy is the worst thing you can do—it will break trust. If you almost get him in and then he climbs out and flies around again, ignore than behavior. Don’t act mad or force him. Just let him see you are waiting and he gets no treats, no rewards, until he comes back to you.And then back to the cage.

As you do this, slowly move towards the cage and let him hang out near by. Let him fly and come back to you if he needs to. Then i usually guide them into the cage with a special, extra large treat in my palm. They follow my hand to the perch, and eat happily. This “closes” the session with the bird, and makes her realize she is doing something extra good/accomplished by listening to you and going inside.

 

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