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B.j's Step By Step To Easy Bird Bonding

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B.J's STEP BY STEP TO EASY BIRD BONDING

 

The following suggestions are the result of a lifetime of experience, training many hundreds of birds of all kinds for performers, both professional & amateurs.

The main problems when compiling what really amounts to a list of instructions, is the diversity of bird personalities.

Some are naturally curious & quick to learn, while others are slow & more reserved.

For their own safety birds should be confined to their cages until the bonding process is complete & step-up has been mastered.

Chasing & catching a bird can undermine any bond already built up between an owner & bird. Allow 2 or 3 days of practice after the first successful outcome of each step, in the bonding process. If your bird is a little slow please keep practising until your bird is 100% before moving onto the next stage. You will be more than amply rewarded for your patience.

It is just as easy to bond with several birds, as it is a single bird. The slow birds soon learn to follow the lead of their more forward flock companions.

Those who find a flock difficult to train, are too impatient to allow the slower birds to catch up, befor moving on to the next stage.

Whilst on the subject of impatience, don't be tempted to take short cuts.

Just because your bird does what you want at the very first attempt.

Does not mean he has actually learned thats what you want him to do.

As I said before, a 100% success rate is what a good trainer aims for.

Anything less is a setback waiting to happen.

 

(1) TAMING BIRDS with a FEAR of PEOPLE.

 

The best cage position for fearful birds is a quiet corner of a room, with 3/4 of the top covered to provide a greater feeling of security for the bird.

In the cage provide plain seed or pellets, water, cuttlebone & an iodine block.

Both containers are better if they can be refilled without opening the cage door, this will prevent further upset to an already fearful bird.

The remaining foods such as, fruit/veg. hard boiled egg, millet spray etc. are to be fed in small portions as treat foods.

This will show the birds that your arrival, means nice things to eat & by giving small amounts your visits can be much more frequent. Hard boiled egg should be sliced & fed 1/2 a slice at a time while fruit & veg can be cut up into small pieces & clipped into a clothes peg to prevent it falling through the bars.

Each piece of treat food should be placed on the cage top, you should then retire to a distance the birds are comfortable with, to allow them to settle down & eat.

At each treat feed, stand or sit a little closer. Don't be in a hurry take your time. Show them by going slow & easy that people are nice & not at all frightening.

When the time finally arrives that you can sit quietly by their cage as they eat their treat food, they are ready for the next step in the bonding process.

From now on you should talk softly to your birds at every opportunity.

(2) BITERS & BIRDS with a FEAR of HANDS

 

Prepare the cage as for (1). These birds are best fed the treat foods in small portions through the bars of the cage, with a pair of tweezers or chopsticks. As the birds get used to this, gradually over the next few days, move your fingers closer to the treat food as you slowly build up the bond of trust. As before the treats are fed little & often.

If your bird is a biter or even attempts to bite, remove the treat food immediately for a count of 10, then re-offer it. Any longer & the bird may not link the two actions, do this as often as it takes, don't be in a hurry.

Only when your birds are 100% happy to eat from your fingertips for several days, are they ready for the next stage.

This stage is not complete until the birds stop any biting behavour.

 

(3) HAND FEEDING SEMI-TAME BIRDS INSIDE THE CAGE

 

Young birds recently weaned are the most trusting & ready to eat from your fingers.

This stage will lead automatically to step-up. When working inside the cage use a hanky fixed to the bar above the door with clothes pegs to act as a safety curtain to prevent a bird from escaping via the open door.

Offer the birds a treat food by holding a small piece between the fingers of your upturned palm & close to a perch. So the birds can reach the treat.

You will notice the birds will be thinking about the situation. If they appear in anyway disturbed or attempt to bite, resenting your intrusion as a trespass into their personal space. Remove your hand & allow them to calm down.

When they are calm & curious, hold your hand still so they can eat the food treat.

Remember offer it don't try to force it on them, If no bird approaches wait a few minutes, withdraw & try again a later, repeat until they eat.

Keep offering them different small treats as often as you can over the next few days. Until all the birds are happy to eat from your hand.

As before, your aim is to build up a strong bond of friendship & trust, talk softly to your birds. It matters little what you say, just be aware that rude words & the sound of a clicker (as in clicker training) will come back to haunt you if you birds develope into good mimics.

 

(4) STEP UP

 

After a day or two of successful hand feeding, hold your treat filled hand just far enough away from the perch so the birds have step onto your hand to reach the food. Say "up or come on", or whatever you like just be consistent. Do not poke a reluctant bird. You want to invite not bully your bird into stepping up.

A poked bird has two options. A shy nervous bird will retreat, as you probably would if it happened to you. A more confident bird will step-up to show you he isn't backing down. Not because he thinks, poke means step-up.

A layed back bird who goes through life taking the easy road, will step up only to regain his balance. Poking will not guarantee 100% Step-up.

If trust has been established, the birds will step up without any hesitation at every treat feed.

Step up is the most important part of the whole bonding, befriending process so be sure your bird will step up every time before moving on.

 

(5) OUT TIME

 

Prepare by first bird proofing the room. Curtains shut etc, put together a portable perch on wooden blocks, raised a few inches off the table top.

Make or buy a bird gym. For their own safety birds should be discouraged from perching anywhere except on a cloth covered table or your hands.

Out time, this is better done some in the early evening or late afternoon. After the birds have had a fly & play for an hour or so & will be ready to return to their cage for supper & sleep. Food is the most powerful tool you have. If they can get food outside of the cage they have no incentive to return.

With a little treat in hand open the cage door. Put your hand in & allow the birds to step up & eat, slowly take your hand & bird out of the cage.

Let them stay on your hand until they realise they're out. Let them explore & encourage them to use the gym or play with their favourite toy, YOU.

 

(6) THE RETURN TO CAGE

 

Fix the cage door open & put in one of their other favourite treat foods.

Offer your birds a small food treat, when they step up for a taste, return them to their cage. You are now a fully fledged, 'BIRD BUDDY'.

 

A FEW TIPS

 

Save a favourite treat to be fed only as an educational treat. With my birds it was Peanut Butter or Cottage Cheese with salt free chopped up peanuts or a crumb or two of Sponge cake.

 

Most professional entertainers use a hand perching stick. It keeps their clothes clean & the birds enjoy the swaying motion. It's also handy for getting birds down from curtain rails.

 

You offer a bird a treat for a wanted action. If when it's learnt it you stop giving the treat. Can you really blame the bird for non compliance?

 

You have to convince your birds that you are the most interesting thing in the world, not just a lump of wood to perch on while watching telly.

 

It is your job to entertain your bird, not his job to keep you amused.

 

The surest way to achieve anything is with bribery. It works on every living creature on earth including human beings. Yours B.J.

PS.

Check out my posts on tricks & games to keep, you & your birds happy & active.

Edited by Finnie

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This is great. I'm going to follow these steps! Thanks :)

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Thank you so much for writing this, BJ. I am going to link it to my website. It is one of the most common questions I am asked by customers, when they hit any trouble in taming their birds.

 

One thing I would point out, though, is that birds are very smart, and they will learn quickly to avoid stepping up onto your hand if they know it always means "back in the cage". So it's a good idea to practice the "out of cage step-up" frequently during their play time, and not only at the end, when it's time to go back in the cage.

 

I really appreciate the amount of time you spend typing up these articles for us. :)

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Hi Glad you mentioned that. The last line of (5) OUT TIME. Should have read.

.'their favourite toy, YOU.' ...B.J.

Edited by Bird Junky

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Hi Glad you mentioned that. The last line of (5) OUT TIME. Should have read.

.'their favourite toy, YOU.' ...B.J.

 

I can edit that in for you. :)

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Hi Glad you mentioned that. The last line of (5) OUT TIME. Should have read.

.'their favourite toy, YOU.' ...B.J.

 

I can edit that in for you. :)

 

 

Thanks Finnie. XXX

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Step 1 are you really putting the fresh food on TOP of the cage? They climb up to eat it?

 

I've been taking a piece of apple and putting it right under their beak... George doesn't like this technique, he hasn't forgiven me for moving him from one cage to the other... but Gracie will usually bite AT the apple, then realize it's tasty and take a few nibbles.

 

Today I added 2 new ones... and everyone is pretty flighty. I'll have to back off for awhile. Give everyone some time to settle in. The food on top of the cage might be the solution...

 

Diana

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Step 1 are you really putting the fresh food on TOP of the cage? They climb up to eat it?

 

I've been taking a piece of apple and putting it right under their beak... George doesn't like this technique, he hasn't forgiven me for moving him from one cage to the other... but Gracie will usually bite AT the apple, then realize it's tasty and take a few nibbles.

 

Today I added 2 new ones... and everyone is pretty flighty. I'll have to back off for awhile. Give everyone some time to settle in. The food on top of the cage might be the solution...

 

Diana

 

BJ might mean clipping the food inside the cage,near the top. Setting it on the top of the cage would work if the cage top is flat enough, as long as they can reach through the bars to nibble at the treat. But I think you could probably clip the treat anywhere you want. The point is for them to enjoy a treat while you watch from nearby, so they associate you with the treat, but that you don't scare them away from eating it.

 

It sounds like Gracie is further along in her progress than George, so you may need to back up a step or two for him.

 

By the way, did you quarantine the two new birds before you introduced them to the cage?

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im trying this but not being sucessful, he not intrested in food, even the good stuff!! bit worried he not eating at all

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Hi Jane90,

 

Is this the bird you just purchased? It can take a little while to settle in and often don't eat due to stress from the move to a new house. I would give it a few days and everything should be fine to start B.Js training once it has settled :)

Edited by Nadene

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I have had one budgie for eight months now, Jimmy, which we tamed so well that he's like a little dog now, follows me around the house, flies to me as soon as I call him, he's a lovely little soul! But Ive started having to work out of the house a lot, and I could see he was getting lonely being left along all day. So this week we got another little baby budgie, he's only a week out of the nest, Rico, and we have clipped his wings. I didn't follow the quarantine for putting them in another cage or anything like that (simply because i didn't have another cage, nor enough room for one). And little Rico and Jimmy seem to get along really well, and Rico has just immediately tamed, he jumps onto my hand, and comes out of the cage with Jimmy no problems. I love how affectionate Jimmy is, and I was really worried that he might lose that, but he seems to be just the same as always, and because he is so tame, Rico is just following his lead and shows no fear. Both let me kiss them on their bellies, pat them and hold them together. Jimmy seems a little jealous when I grab Rico tho, so Im making sure I shower him in attention and love too. Will Jimmy still continue to be as bonded to us, or can I expect things to go backwards from here?

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