The key to making friends with your parakeet? Patience. Birdie will be naturally suspicious of the giant thing hanging around his cage, so you need to give him time to get used to you. Friendship will come if you are persistent and very, very gentle.
Spend time near the cage for a few days. Bring a chair and a book and read your parakeet a story. That's right --read him a story. Or just talk non-stop about the weather, your day at work or how awful the neighbor is. You want Birdie to get used to your voice and to having you around.
Open the cage and place your hand inside after a few days. If Birdie goes into a frenzy, remove your hand and go back to reading and talking for a few more days. Once you're able to put your hand inside, resist the fluffiness and cuteness of your parakeet and don't try to touch him. Instead, just leave your hand steady on the bottom of the cage or near the door. This will allow Birdie to get used to you.
Move the hand closer and closer every couple of days. Again, patience is key. If you go from having the hand at the bottom of the cage to trying to touch Birdie, chaos will follow. Always make small, gentle movements. It might take several weeks before you can get your hand inches away from your parakeet without a lot of screaming and wing flapping.
Bend your finger and offer it as a perch. Don't point the finger straight towards your parakeet --as this can be intimidating. Get into a comfortable position and just hold the finger there. If you're very lucky, Birdie will get on it right away. Or you might need to wait for hours or days until he feels comfortable enough to try it.
Get him out of the cage once he's comfortable sitting on your finger. You just won the major battle. You can then spend days and weeks learning to bond, playing together and having fun, but the first step is to get Birdie to trust you enough to sit on your finger.
Give Birdie plenty of opportunities to bond with you once he's learned to trust you. You can set up a small perch for him near your desk so he can spend time with you while you're online. Or create an impromptu Birdie bath in the kitchen sink after you're done with the dishes.
- Before opening the cage and allowing your parakeet to come out, make sure the room is safe. Close all windows, turn off fans and put the cat in the other room. A frightened parakeet can easily injure himself just flying around.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.