Birds don’t always want to fly free and a parakeet may be reluctant to leave the security of his cage. However, he can’t live there all the time -- he needs exercise. Unless you have a massive aviary, a cage is much too small to be a permanent full-time residence.
Accustom the parakeet to your presence by spending time near the cage talking to him. Don’t open the door or put your hand in yet -- just chat quietly. Ask other members of the household to avoid making sudden loud noises in the vicinity of the cage and keep any other pets away.
Close all windows and doors leading to the room in which you have the cage. Closing external exits is basic safety for a pet bird and at this stage you also want to ensure that he doesn’t go exploring the rest of your home, scaring himself senseless in the process.
Draw the curtains or pull the shutters. A clear glass window is a hazard to a bird. Later, fit a screen over or apply transfers to the window so that it is clearly visible to the parakeet. Do the same for any other rooms to which your pet will have access.
Open the cage door when you are talking to your pet. He might be curious enough to see where it leads.
Start putting your hand and arm into the cage, perhaps offering a treat. Don’t grab at the bird and withdraw if he starts moving away. Repeat daily until he’s comfortable enough to sit on your hand or arm.
Wait until he perches on your hand and move your hand and arm out of the cage. Putting a finger under his chest might encourage him to hop up. Stay near the cage and let him explore as he wishes. He’ll go back to the cage in his own time. Alternatively get him to sit on your hand again and put him back.
- Cover mirrors as well as windows.
- Once your parakeet is happy to leave the cage, spend at least an hour a day with him outside the cage. He needs the company and the exercise.
- Some parakeets might be toilet trained, but this is not a natural behavior for birds. If you are worried about your flooring or furnishings getting ruined with parakeet poop, cover them with old sheets or newspapers.
- Don’t chase and catch your parakeet to put him back in the cage. That would only scare him.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.