Hand-feeding is a special treat for both you and your budgie. However, it can also be difficult if you have an adult 'keet who's not used to it. Get your little guy used to your hands and you shouldn't have a problem being able to give him special treats.
Start off slow by going up to your parakeet's cage and talking to him through the bars. Talk in a kind, fun, parental voice, much like you would use with an infant or toddler. Do this several times a day for a few minutes. Once your 'keet has stopped trying to fly to the other side of the cage or freaking out, you're ready to start with some hands-on activities.
Offer up some tasty treats, such as bite-sized pieces of fruit, from the outside of the cage through the bars. Keep your fingers on the outside of the cage and the treats just through the bars. Talk to your little guy in the same voice you've been using. Don't worry if your bird doesn't immediately accept your gift, this will take some time. If he doesn't grab the treat after a minute or so, drop it into the cage and allow your bird to eat it there. This helps get your feathered friend used to the idea that your hands equal yummy treats. Again, do this a few times a day until he starts graciously accepting the treats from your fingers.
Offer treats with your hand inside the cage once your parakeet has begun taking them from outside. This will more than likely freak your 'keet out at first, but hold your hand steady and don't move it towards your bird. Allow your little friend to take the treats on his own time rather than forcing the action. Keep talking in the fun, kind, soothing voice you've been using.
Open the cage and have your bird come to you for the food and treats once he has gotten used to eating from your hand inside the cage.
- The keys to hand-taming and hand-feeding are consistency, repetition and patience. Even if your adult 'keet is hand-tamed, it could take some time for him to get used to eating out of your hand.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.