If you own a budgie, then you know the tremendous amount of joy this can bring. I have a budgie in my house and I love being greeted by my budgie every morning. Perhaps he just wants to be fed; however, I still love seeing him!
Even my cat has come to love my budgie but he’s still not getting in the cage! When I first got my budgie, I remember him being scared. He always seemed to squeeze himself in the back of the cage and, after a while, I started to become offended.
At the same time, I simply placed myself in the shoes (or claws!) of my budgie and asked myself why this was taking place! After I imagined a huge hand coming into my cage, I started to get the idea. What are some of the most common reasons why budgies might be afraid?
Some of the most common reasons why budgies are afraid include coming from an abusive home, a fear of predators, changes that take place in the cage, hands that are present in the cage, the presence of earthquakes, and certain clothing colors.
Identifying the Cause of the Fear
If you are wondering why your budgie might seem to be a bit reticent to interact with you, then don’t do what I did. Do not assume that it is something that you did that makes your budgie scared. The reality is that it might have nothing to do with you. Some of the most common reasons why your budgie might be scared include:
- New Clothing: Our pet birds see a wider range of colors than we do. While we cannot see UV colors and rays, birds can. If we wear clothing that is shockingly bright, this might be blinding for budgies. This could lead to a frightened or startled reaction if you come to the cage with new clothing. Bland, consistent clothing can help your budgie calm down.
- Earthquakes: Now, this is something that truly has nothing to do with you; however, just as we are scared of earthquakes, budgies are scared as well. Birds are incredibly sensitive to quakes and will react with a terrifying demeanor. First, make sure that the property is safe. Then, take a few minutes to check on your budgie and make sure that he or she is calm. If there are any injuries present, treat them.
- Hands: This is a big one. This is also one that is in your control. Hands are scary for birds and when they enter their spaces, they react with fear. You need to teach your budgie that hands are good. Therefore, use your hands to extend treats to your budgie from time to time. Eventually, your budgie will calm down and become used to hands gradually moving him or her away from the cage.
- Predators: If you own dogs or cats, budgies are going to be scared of them. Never leave your budgie alone outside of the cage with your dog or cat. No matter how well they seem to get along, your budgie might end up as dinner. While it is fine for dogs, cats, and budgies to be friendly with the budgie inside the cage, they need to be supervised.
So, these are a few of the most common reasons why your budgie might be afraid. The next step is to figure out which fears your budgie has and how they can be addressed.
Determining the Fears of Your Budgie
In order to determine the fears of your budgie, you first have to be able to pick up on them. If this is your first time owning a budgie, then you might be overlooking a scared bird because you simply do not know the signs.
There are a few physical signs that you should keep in mind in order to keep up with how your budgie is doing. Some of the most common signs of stress and fear include:
- Flapping: If you notice that your budgie is flapping around like crazy, particularly when you stick your hand inside the cage, then you have your answer. Unless your budgie was raised in an area where hands were constantly present, hands are predators. In this case, make sure that your budgie sees your hands readily from the other side of the bars. Do not move your hand and let them take in your appearance. Then, use your hands to offer treats. Eventually, budgies will learn that hands mean well. Then, you can handle cage maintenance with ease.
- Panting: If you find that your budgie is panting all the time, then your budgie is scared. Budgies pant with their beak opens slightly. While they might look adorable, there is a reason why there is no sound coming out. Make sure that you notice panting budgies and provide them with food and water.
- Liquid Poo: If you find that your budgie appears to be having diarrhea, such as liquid poops, this is a sign of stress. Of course, you need to make sure that there isn’t an infectious or dietary cause of your budgie’s liquid poops; however, if other causes have been ruled out, then the culprit is stress. If you startle your budgie, then he or she might let out an immediate poop which appears to be liquidy.
- Wide-Eyes and Slicked Feathers: Similar to dogs and cats, budgies can dramatically alter their appearance when they are startled. You might notice that your budgie’s eyes get as wide as dinner plates. Then, they will flatten their feathers. They might also retreat to a spot in their cage and stand there until they feel like it is safe to come out. This is another common sign that your budgie is scared.
If you notice these signs, then your budgie is terrified of something. You need to take a few minutes to sit back, give your budgie time to relax, and then think about what the culprit is.
Then, you can alleviate your budgie’s fears and build a stronger relationship with your bird.
Alleviate Your Budgie’s Fears
There are a lot of great ways that you can get your budgie to calm down. Then, your budgie will feel safe and happy around you.
Working with birds that are scared requires a lot of patience and empathy but they will eventually calm down as long as you put in the effort.
First, you need to assess the fear. If your budgie is freaking out when you are on the other side of the room, then the culprit is not your hand. It is probably something else.
If you own a dog or a cat, then this might be the issue. It could also be something you are wearing or something you changed in the cage recently. You need to be a detective and change one thing at a time to figure out what the culprit is.
If you are wearing a bright shirt, this is probably the issue. If there is a cat right outside the cage, then that could be the problem. If you performed maintenance on the cage recently, then this is the likely cause of your budgie’s fears. Put on your detective hat and figure out what the issue is.
Once you have figured out what the issue is, it is time to desensitize your budgie. This means that you have to expose your budgie to the cause of the fear for short segments at a time.
Gradually, these segments will get longer until your budgie realizes that the cause of his or her fears is not a threat. Push the limit day by day and train your budgie that some of their fears might actually lead to treats.
For example, you want to make sure that your budgie associates your hands with good things. That is why we always recommend that your budgie receive treats via your hands.
This will also make it easier for you to clean his or her cage. He or she will get comfortable having your hands around, which will make life easier for you! I actually tried out numerous types of treats to see which ones my budgie would like the best!
At the same time, you have to put on your bird hat as well. Pay attention to how your budgie is reacting to certain things. If you find that there are certain things that your budgie simply does not like, then try to avoid them if possible.
While cleaning the cage is something that has to happen, try to find an order to the process that keeps your budgie comfortable. Take a look at his or her body language and be considerate of his or her feelings. Be respectful of the boundaries of your budgie.
This will help you and your budgie build a strong relationship that is built on trust. This will help your budgie feel more comfortable in your home.