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Bird Junky

B. J's Taming Blog

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If your new to birdkeeping, Please aquaint yourself with the knowledge you need to look after your bird before you attempt any taming or training. Wing clipping makes the job of taming easier & is safer for a bird being introduced into a new family environment. The feathers will regrow at the next moult.


B. J.'s Easy Taming, Step-up, & Hand feeding.


Remove all food from the cage except the water. If you have more than one bird per cage to be tamed move a perch close to & parallel to the bars so that all the birds can eat at the same time.

From now on you feed your bird or birds by hand through the bars. Use as normal a diet as possible, ie. seed, fruit, veg, eggfood etc, & talk softly to the birds at all times.

If your bird is a biter or afraid of hands, use tweezers & gradually move your fingers closer to the bird. Use the birds reaction to gauge the timing of this. With small birds use a millet

spray for the seed part of their diet. Canary seed is too fiddly to feed through the bars, unless you have a mustard spoon. Keep feeding as long as the birds will take it.

If you have to go out, then feed by hand before you go & leave the birds with enough food in their cage until you return. Remove it & continue the feeding through the bars. Take your time. Don't be in a hurry. Offer food several times throughout the day & only when the birds are happy to eat from your fingertips, are they ready for


STEP-UP, inc feeding from the hand.


When working inside the cage always 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.

Feed the birds by holding a spoonful of loose seed on the palm of your hand & a small piece of millet spray or fruit/veg, held by your thumb so you don't drop it. Open the curtained cage door & put your food filled hand slowly inside.

Hold your hand close to the perch so the birds can reach the food. Offer the food, don't try to force it on them, If no bird approches & eats after a few minutes, withdraw & try again 30min later, repeat until they eat.

Keep filling your hand until they've all been fed. Gradually over the next few days hold your hand further away from the perch so the birds have to step onto your hand to reach the food.

If your bird bites withdraw your food filled hand & try again 10min later. Don't wait for the bird to bite you, learn to anticipate the birds actions.

When you have them happily feeding by hand, offer them all their usual foods. Offer small titbits to individual birds & talk softly to them as they eat.

Hide a small treat under your thumb & reveal it to show that a hand that looks empty is still worth investigating.When they perch on your fingers take this opportunity to gently stroke their toes wth your thumb, occasionally pressing lightly so they get used to it.

This will come in handy at a later date, to keep a bird on your finger should it want to take flight at an inappropriate moment..

When your happy, they have completed step-up to your satisfaction.Your ready for 'OUT TIME'.

Take your time, it may take a week to get to this stage.




Prepare by first bird proofing the room. Put together a portable perch on wood blocks, raised a few inches off the table top. Birds should be discouraged from perching anywhere except on a cloth covered table or your hands. So other family members, friends etc. don't have to worry about where the birds are.

Before the birds are hand fed either their morning or if your busy their evening meal.

Sit at their table with just a little seed or millet in hand & open the cage door. Put your hand in & allow them to step up & eat, slowly take it out of the cage, let them stay on your hand until they realise they're out & can walk off.

Let them explore & have a taste from a plate of treats while you enjoy a cup of tea. If you have a bird gym encourage them to play on it.




Fix the cage door open & fill the cage seed pots & add fruit or veg. Remove all food from the table.

Hold a treat & as each bird comes over for a taste, teach them to run around the table, luring them with the treat. A short distance the first time, gradually increase this to right round the table. onto your home made perch & give them the treat & return them to their cage.

Never chase & catch a bird it is better to let him go than ruin the trust already built up. don't let a mishap turn into a catastrophe.

Encourage the bird to step onto your hand with the aid of a treat & put him away with it.

Feed all foods in the cage as normal, but save a couple of treats as specials only to be fed by hand as training treats.......Yours B.J. laugh.gif

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Hi BJ,



I have been trying to follow your taming suggestions. I am working with a very young budgie, 2 weeks out of the nest. He is cracking seed by himself but he doesn't seem to realise that there are other types of food, ie millet spray, fruit, etc. He shows no interest at all even if I peg it to the cage and leave it there.


I have tried putting the loose seed in the palm of my hand and getting him to eat that way but he is still not interested. If I put the seed on the floor of the cage he is straight there eating it. I am worried about starving him. Is he too young or do I just need to perservere with him?


Thanks for such a detailed guideline, hopefully I can get it to work! :-)



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