Budgies are intelligent birds, capable of learning new things quickly. This makes them some of the easiest birds to domesticate, particularly when young.
However, if you’ve recently acquired an older budgie, you may be wondering if it’s too old to tame.
Old budgies can be tamed, but the taming process can be time-consuming and frustrating since they’ll have developed deep-rooted behaviors.
While taming a senior budgie is more difficult, continuing the process will be satisfying. With practice and consistency, your senior budgie will adapt to its new life and imprint on you.
Budgies can be tamed and trained at any age.
Of course, young budgies are easier to tame since they haven’t yet developed a fixed set of behaviors and expectations of what is normal.
By contrast, older budgies can be harder to tame, as they already have certain habits and tendencies that can be difficult to change.
There’s no way to speed up the taming process. Keep up your soft words and unthreatening hand-in-cage routine, as this will allow your budgie to accept you and its new environment at its own pace.
Ideally, you should start training your budgie at 2-3 months since that’s the age when it begins talking. However, even if your budgie is older, you can train it and develop an emotional bond with it.
Ideally, hand training should begin when the budgie is young, at about 1-2 months old.
Budgies older than 6 months are far more difficult to hand train, and the process can be time-consuming. However, it is still achievable with patience and consistency. After all, Scientific Reports volume found budgies to have high cognitive abilities.
While hand training older budgies can be more difficult than training younger ones, it’s worth the effort. When it’s time to go back into the cage, your budgie will jump onto your hand.
How To Tame An Older Budgie
Here is a simple guide on how to hand tame an older budgie:
1/ Allow The Budgie To Settle In
If you’ve recently purchased a new budgie, it can be tempting to begin the taming process immediately.
Most new owners are excited and want to play with their budgie right away. However, this isn’t advised since it’ll likely be feeling insecure in its new environment and may act aggressively.
So, before you begin the process of taming your budgie, give it some time to settle in. A few days will alleviate the stress of being relocated from its previous home. Meanwhile, focus your attention on ensuring your budgie is well fed and alert.
2/ Clip The Budgie’s Wings
Before you begin the hand training process, it’s critical to trim your budgie’s wing feathers to prevent them from flying away.
Budgie’s feathers regenerate quickly, but a one-time trim should give you enough time to hand train your pet. After that, you can determine whether or not to continue trimming the budgie’s feathers.
3/ Lure The Budgie Out of Its Cage
About 2-3 days after bringing your budgie home, you can get it out of its cage.
Start by opening the cage and taking a step back to see if your budgie emerges. If it comes out on its own, you’ve already won half the battle.
If it doesn’t, try holding a treat (such as a piece of millet) next to your finger so that your budgie can climb onto your finger to get the treat.
If your pet still refuses to step out of its cage, darken the room, then gently take the budgie out with a small, light towel or glove. Next, switch on the lights and place your budgie on top of its cage.
4/ Coax The Budgie To Climb Onto Your Finger
If your budgie takes a step back, slowly follow it with your finger extended towards it.
If the bird flies into the room, it’ll likely land on the floor or somewhere else where you can reach it, assuming you’ve trimmed its wing feathers.
If the budgie lands on the floor, duck down and follow it with your finger, keeping your hand close to its feet. At this point, the budgie might be scared and even attempt to defend itself, but don’t give up.
Try coaxing the budgie to a location where the only way to escape is to jump over your hand or onto your finger. One possibility is an isolated corner of the room or the top of its cage.
5/ Move To Your Other Finger
Continue to coax your budgie until it climbs onto your hand. You can offer your pet some millet or another treat, but don’t force it to eat if it doesn’t want to.
Take your other hand and get the budgie to move from one finger to another. You may need to push at the base of its feet to get it to move.
Remember that your budgie may be scared and try to bite you, so stay alert and don’t yank your hand away. If possible, wear gloves to protect your fingers from bites and scratches.
If your budgie flies away, repeat the previous step until it starts moving from one finger to the next.
6/ Repeat The Training Daily
You’ll need to be consistent with training every day if you hope to see meaningful results.
Keep training sessions brief, no more than 15 minutes every day.
Taming an old female budgie is achievable, although it can be harder than with males.
Female budgies bite more than males, which can be a problem if you’re just starting out. They also bite harder, and while a male nip is usually not a problem, a female bite can be quite painful.
According to Avian Biology, during the mating season, a female budgie can be aggressive. This makes them more difficult to handle, and even a tamed female bird can revert to an untamed state.
She can become territorial and skittish, perceiving any attempt to touch her as a threat. However, hormonal outbursts will eventually pass as long as you persevere with the training.
If your budgie is especially nervous or aggressive, try training with a millet-loaded stick instead of using your fingers. You should also minimize the amount of protein as it can stimulate the mating urge.
Old budgies can be tamed, but it takes patience and consistency. As long as you can hold out, even elderly budgies can be well-behaved, pleasing avian companions.