Training a new parakeet to perch on your finger requires patience, especially if your parakeet's wings aren't clipped. Though wing-clipping makes training easier and faster, it isn't necessary. A parakeet without clipped wings can learn to perch on your finger so long as you get her trust.
Make Your Parakeet Comfortable
Parakeets are easily stressed out and bewildered by new homes. Some parakeets react to strange surroundings and new families by flying around wildly in an apparent attempt to escape. Prevent this from happening by bringing your parakeet in a covered cage right away to a quiet, low-traffic area of your home. Let her get used to these surroundings without taking her from the cage. Move the bird into the room it will occupy full-time and acclimate her to that room, then begin regular training. Letting your bird fly free before she's accustomed to her new home could get her hurt.
Gain Her Trust
As soon as you've gotten your parakeet home, you should start spending time with her. Don't touch her or get too close to her at first except for cage maintenance and feeding. Start off doing quiet activity like reading in her presence for an hour or two a day. She'll relax a little, loosen up and eat in front of you. When your parakeet starts calmly eating in front of you, that's a positive sign of trust. Now's the time you can move the bird to another room if your intent is to keep the bird elsewhere in your home.
Step Up Training
When your parakeet is eating, napping and actively chirping in your presence, she's relaxed around you. You can train her to step up on an inanimate object. You can start by attaching a piece of food to a small stick and coaxing her to take a bite. Once she's put a foot up on the stick a few times, remove the food. Press the stick gently against her belly until she steps up on it. Be persistent, but don't scare her.
After a while of practice, your parakeet will readily step up on the stick. At this point, replace the stick with your outstretched hand or a finger. As you did with the stick, gently nudge against the base of her belly. It make take several tries before she's comfortable stepping up. When she does step up, try to keep her on your finger for as long as possible. Since she can fly, do all of this training in her cage.
Taking Your Parakeet out of the Cage
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Early on in finger-training, your parakeet may step onto your finger and immediately step down out of fear. Make sure she's willing to stay on your finger for an extended period of time without trying to escape. When she's clearly comfortable sitting on your finger for a long time, slowly bring her out of her cage on your finger. She might fly off, but you can now easily retrieve her with the step-up method once she lands.
June Mebei is a Virginia-based writer who earned her B.A. in English at Georgia State University. She began writing professionally in 2008, and has published narrative essays, editorial articles, short stories and poetry.