Untame bird teaching baby to be scared


New member
Jan 15, 2021
It's so hard to find good information about this! Someone please help.

I have one female budgie about 6-7 months old, she is from a pet shop and pretty scared. I sat by her cage 24/7 first 5 weeks she lived with me and she got pretty comfortable with me being around. She will eat millet from my hand but other than that wants nothing to do with me and is scared of my hand even tho during those 5 weeks I sat with my hand inside her cage or outside the cage for hours every single day reading to her and singing to her. Idk what i've been doing wrong.

I got another male budgie now about 3 months old and he is from a breeder. He didn't come to me hand tame but he came without a sense that humans are scary and he was used to being around people. He was in quarantine in a different room for almost 2 months until I put his cage next to the female where they stayed for about a week while letting them out together during the day.

I've been working hard on taming the male and he is now sometimes interested in playing with my fingers when I stick them through the cage and comes and sits on my hand outside the cage if I have millet or broccoli.

Problem is I feel the female is having a negative effect on the male. I hoped since they are so young and the male is learning to trust that the female will too but I kinda feel her getting more stuck in her routine and that she is teaching him to do the same. She also has this weird thing were she will only climb on the bars of the cage and not use perches to move around. She will mostly sit on a perch at the top of the cage at not move at all. In the beginning, the male was all over, bottom of cage, middle cage playing with things not being scared.

Now he is getting more glued to the female and they sit together. I feel she is teaching him to be scared and that the only safe place is up top. And when they are out of the cage I used to do target training with the male with millet but now he just sits with the female watching me like I'm this big threat. He used to come down no problem. (come down means from on top of the cage down to a play station I have built that's about the height of my shoulder)

I also kinda feel they don't like each other that much. No fighting but the male is always trying to talk to her and kiss her but she just bites him to go away and will sometimes chase him away from all the top perches. Like properly follow him around and bite him until he falls or is far away. I don't see much love between them. I do have a really big cage so two budgies should have plenty of space.

I had a super tame budgie a few years back who died and he was the kind who would run around on the floor and play with toys. I was hoping I could get these comfortable enough too, but I suppose it is just more work? Like how many months do I have to do this every day before they will get interested in me?

My previous budgie who was already tame when he came to me and he LOVED humans and would always choose a human over a budgie and I never had to do any work with him. He always trusted me 100% and was the best budgie ever. It's tough to face this much rejection and setbacks and watch the budgies grow up without wanting to play with me much when I know how wonderful it could be if they only would trust me.

I work from home so I spend a lot of time with the budgies and I try to interact with them as often as possible always having a treat in my hand being super gentle and slow movements. I have them out of the cage for a few hours every day as well.

Could it be causing issues that the budgies are of different ages? Or is it just what happens when the older budgie is the scared one? The younger willl learn from the older sorta.

I am seeing progress but I was progressing a lot faster with the male when he was in a different room. It's been a huge setback with him after he moved in with the female and it just makes me sad. What should I do?
Just focus on taming the male and hope it will be ok? Or should I give more attention to the female? It has crossed my mind that she might be jealous as well because the male ofc is getting a lot more attention when he actually interacts with me.

I just feel like I'm failing as a bird mom hehe. I just want to love them and they won't let me. The male used to take baths in a bowl with water and salad all the time when he lived separate. I've been trying now for two weeks to get them to take a bath but the female is terrified of the bowl and so the male won't bathe either. I've tried everything I can think of to encourage him but he just flies back to the female immediately and she bites him to go away. Hope someone has some tips or just want to share an experience that is similar.

There is a part of me that wants to give up and try to find another home for the female so I can work more on the male and maybe get another baby that is already hand tame. At the same time I don't want to give up on her, and I see people getting their pet shop bird tame all over the internet so why can't I. I'm against clipping wings but maybe it's something I should consider for the female? It would force them down on a lower level and I could show them that it is perfectly safe. Idk.. I'm against trimming their wings really so idk. Also I'd have to grab her in order to do it so that would be a huge setback as well.

Ok if anyone can make sense of this, please advise me :p


Jan 11, 2021
A galaxy far far away
MelloYello-Pineapple Green Cheek Conure
I understand how you feel. I was in the same situation too. We rescued two budgies. One was a younger male and the other an extremely skittish male. The younger male tended to bully the skittish one. The younger one was not nearly as afraid of people as the skittish one.
Budgies (and parrots in general) do like to copy traits they see in others. It is very likely that he is acting afraid because he’s copying the female. It may help to separate them and focus individually on their training.
As for the female, I’m very sorry you’re having trouble with her. While pet store budgies can be taught to not fear humans, it’s extremely hard. It mostly depends on how long they were in the pet shop and how they were treated. Trust me, birds can hold a grudge. ;) Climbing only on the bars is a sign that she is scared and very uncomfortable. Don’t worry, you aren’t doing anything wrong! Just keep trying and remain patient! Asking for advice shows how much you care, you’re doing great. Good luck!


Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
Western, Michigan
DYH Amazon
"Birds of a feather flock together!" is a reality and it is as common that a younger bird will watch and learn from an older bird. Anytime one has more than one Parrot, it is not uncommon for the Human to be the odd person out.

Clearly, your efforts need to be with the Parrot that is most scared of you and you can assure that the younger Parrot will follow the older one.

- Only Good Things Happen When Humans are around!!!

- Change Your Vantage Point!
It is never the fault of the Parrot!
It is always the fault of the Human!
When you change your vantage point, you more quickly see what you are doing wrong and can correct it faster.


Well-known member
Mar 28, 2019
New England
Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
Hopefully you have a variety of perches, and not just the dowel-stick ones.

It sounds to me like, along with having a partial-tame and a non-tame budgie, you are also looking at just basic personality differences, as well as one really big Budgie Trait.

It is quite common for Budgies to Really Not Like Hands. Yes, some do, but even amongst tame ones, many doN't. In that case, it does Not mean they don't like you. My budgies are quite happy to interact with my face, but Not with my hands.

And, more specifically, it's my green budgie that drives this. IF i had brought home the white budgie first, she probably would have been my only bird ever. (I'm so glad that's not what happened!)

So yes my less-tame budgie has defintiely ifluenced my more-docile budgie, away from being tame.

You could try separating them. That is my first thought on reading your post.

I don't think wing-clipping would help that much in this case. Note, I am *not* against wing-clipping, as many are, as long as it is useful. But my own thought is that it probably would not help much in this regard. You are dealing with personality.

Budgies are often skittish of hands. Now, my green budgie is a little control-freak, and once I realized he just wants to be in charge, AND don't try to touch him, we get along quite well. I love to enjoy their huge little personalities.

Right now your boy is just enamored of his new lady. Yes she is probably un-taming him Somehwat. Separating could help. But. Would it break his heart? (Or, not?) Maybe try partial separations and see.

Sorry - I've been interrupted a few times. If my reply seems a little unclear that's why. My biggest point here is just that, Not Liking Hands does NOT equal, dislike or non-bonding with you.



New member
Jan 15, 2021
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Thank you all for your replies. It really helped calm my frustrations a bit. As the night went on they started fighting over the food even more and the female was getting more aggressive so it really felt like the right thing to separate them. It went really well in the beginning as the male seemed thrilled to have freedom to move around the cage and play with whatever toy he wanted without getting chased. The female seemed extremely offended to be taken out of the big cage and didn't move much the first couple of days which gave me some good time with the male.

I only separated them into different cages next to each other and not a different room as I don't have a very big apartment and I think they would call for each other non stop. He does really well coming to my hand now and plays with my fingers a lot if I put my hand in the cage. It's been some good progress. Now I'm seeing some steps back tho.. The female is getting bored of being away from the big cage and she spends a lot of time just climbing around the ceiling trying to get out. Like, "why is my home right there, and I have to sit here?!" It seems that the male is picking up on this energy and it's really distracting him and I can't get contact with any of them. Also if I take him out of the cage, he just sits with the female on her cage and won't fly around much. So we're not much further a long on the outside of the cage.

Honestly, my biggest help in getting him to like my hands has been looking at budgies on instagram on my phone. He absolutely loves looking at them and will come sit on my phone immediately. I've tried taking the female out of the cage, she is pretty good at stepping up on a perch and letting me take her out, but she does not want out now she's in the other cage which I find odd since she is constantly trying to get out. I'm guessing she is too stressed. She gets on the perch, but jumps off before I can get her out. So i'm worried if she is not getting enough exercise and that it will just make her more frustrated.

I feel it was a good call to separate them at first and now I feel like i'm just navigating really confusing waters. Taking every day step by step. I'm also trying to convert them to pellets. The male is eating them but I have to trick him a bit, mix the pellets with fruit and putting them on a mirror making them more interested. If there is only a bowl of the pellets he goes to the bottom of the cage to look for scraps instead. The female however, won't eat them at all. I've mixed pellets into her food since she came to me in September but I don't think she has tried them yet. I tried feeding only meals of fruit, vegetables and pellets yesterday and I got the impression she was starving herself. I hate that they hate pellets haha.

Any tips on getting the male more happy about eating them? I was so thrilled when I saw him starting to eat them I thought I had converted him already. But he will literally chose anything over them and it seems to be a last minute solution. Thank you all again for replies, it really helps to feel not so alone about all of this :)

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