This morning we set off to visit a budgie breeder who had three young cock birds to show us, all blues. One was still in the nest, one was about 6 weeks old and the other was going through his first moult. While we were chatting we watched him handle the birds. They obviously weren’t used to having so many people around, but they were fairly happy to hop onto his hand or be picked up. He also pointed out the mother in the breeding cages and the father in the aviary. Aaron chose the middle bird and we brought him home in a cardboard box, driving very carefully and playing music to help calm him down.
Once we had transferred the budgie into the cage, we left him alone for about an hour to settle in and recover from the car journey. He stayed absolutely still on the perch where we had put him. On closer inspection, I think that “he” may actually be a hen. The cere is light blue with white around the nostril, whereas a young cock’s cere would probably be more of a pink or purple colour. So we adjusted our list of names to unisex ones and eventually settled on Pixel.
After a while, we went over to the cage, talked to her and slowly put our hands inside the cage. Suddenly she seemed to realise that we were not a threat, and began to climb around and explore the cage. She nibbled at the pot of bird grass, hung upside down from the roof and investigated the toys.
Half on hour later, I held out some spray millet for her and she was happy to eat some. Then I held it a little further away to entice her onto my hand. She stepped up and stayed on my hand for quite a while!
We have the Hagen Vision cage, which has a transparent plastic section at the bottom to help contain mess. However, Pixel seemed to struggle getting back up from the floor of the cage. I removed a few perches and toys from the cage to give her more space, but she still found it difficult to get back up onto the perches. I had to remove the ladder until she’s bigger as she kept getting stuck between the rungs and the side of the cage. However, when I offered my hand, she gladly used it to help her climb up. After that she was much more confident near our hands.
I wasn’t sure about letting her out of the cage today, but Colin decided to. She seems to like him, she’ll happily sit on his hand or shoulder. Her first free flying session was very clumsy as she is young and hasn’t had much chance to practice yet. However, she seemed quite comfortable around us and happily preened Aaron’s hair!
After her first free flying session she kept stepping up on our hands and then trying to walk up our arms and squeeze out of the cage door! As she seemed to enjoy it so much, we had her out several more times throughout the afternoon and evening, and by the last time she had mostly figured out how to navigate the room and land safely instead of crashing. She likes the curtain rail and the picture frames.
She has been tucking into her seeds, but she doesn’t seem to have touched any of the fresh fruit or veggies. I’m not sure if she’s found the water bottle yet so I put some water in a dish as well. We covered the cage for the night when the children went to bed around 8. Pixel is still very young and has had a stressful day, so I thought she’d appreciate an early night. I checked back a little later and she was fast asleep on the perch with her head under her wing.