I have finger trained many parakeets over the years and I enjoy giving training tips to others.
Parakeets as Pets
Parakeets, otherwise known as budgerigars, are energetic little birds that adapt quickly to new environments and are very sociable. This often makes them perfect as pets since they make little mess and are otherwise easy to care for.
This article will discuss one method on how to finger train a parakeet that still bites your finger or does not want to come out of its cage.
How to Hand Train a New Parakeet
Parakeets that are bred and raised by hand should not have trouble adjusting to humans and by the time these budgies can fly, they are already tame. However, parakeets which are purchased from large commercial pet stores are not hand raised are often still wild and afraid when you get them. The article will discuss how to train a store purchased parakeet.
Step 1: Clip the Wings and Acclimate to the New Environment
Before you bring a parakeet home, ask the store associate to trim both its wing feathers so the bird can not fly away for some time. Feathers grow back fairly quickly but a one-time trim should be able to give you enough time to train the bird. Afterwards you can decide if you want to continue trimming the bird's feathers (for example, if you are going to play with it outside, it is recommended you do so).
Once you bring a parakeet home from the pet store, it is important to let it get accustomed to the house. It is best if it is kept in a quiet room that is only occasionally walked in, such as a guest bedroom.
Leave the parakeet in its new cage in the room and visit it a couple of times that day but do not open the cage. I recommend leaving the bird alone for at least one day, two days is even better.
Step 2: Take the Bird Out
At the end of the second day, begin by opening your parakeet's cage. If it comes out on its own, that's half the battle. If it does not, try holding a piece of millet next to your finger so that the bird has to step on your finger to get to the treat.
If it still does not come, then darken the room so that you can see the parakeet, then use a small, light towel or a glove to gently take the parakeet out. Place it on top of the cage and turn on the lights.
Note: Before you do this, you must make sure your parakeet's wing feathers are trimmed so that they cannot fly too far.
Step 3: Be Ready for Bites
Have some treats nearby, but leave them aside for now. The parakeet will probably be too terrified to eat at this point so have patience with the next steps.
Have a light glove on your hand if you think you may not be able to handle a parakeet bite. It hurts if it bites, but it is not as unbearable as you may think. It is important NOT to jerk you hand away if the bird does bite you as it will teach it that biting you is effective in making the danger (your hand) go away.
Slowly extend your finger toward the parakeet.
Step 4: Coax the Bird Onto a Finger
If the bird backs away, follow it slowly with your finger extended. If the bird flies somewhere into the room, it should land on the floor or somewhere you can reach it (if you had its wing feathers trimmed).
If the bird is on the floor, get on the floor as well and follow it slowly with your finger keeping your hand near its feet. The bird will be scared and try to defend itself, but do not get discouraged.
Try leading the bird somewhere in which the only way out of that spot is if it jumps over your hand or onto your finger. A corner of the room is one option, or the corner of the top of their cage.
Extend your finger to the base of its feet and push lightly since the bird will not automatically jump on your finger just because you are touching it.
Step 5: Move to the Other Finger
Keep trying until the bird is on your hand. Offer some millet or other tasty treat but do not force your bird to eat if it do not take a bite.
At this point, take your other hand and try to have the bird step from one finger to the other, you may have to push at the base of its feet in order to get it to move. At this point it may try to bite, so stay alert and remember not to jerk your hand away. Again, use a fabric glove if needed.
If the bird flies away, just repeat step 4 until your bird is stepping from one finger to the other. Offer, but do not force, a treat again.
Step 6: Repeat
Keep the training sessions short, about 15 minutes once or twice a day. You can repeat this routine until the bird comes out of the cage willingly.
If your bird does not respond to this type of training, no worries, there is more than one way to train a parakeet. Scroll below to watch a video showing a different method of training.
A Different Finger-Training Method to Try
Average Training Time
Quickly Training a Parakeet
Since parakeets are sociable and playful birds it should not take too long to train them. The time needed may vary among parakeets and is also influenced by how much time is spent with the bird.
All of the birds I have finger trained (quite a number) have taken a week or less to train, and their skills have gotten better with more practice after that. Do not give up, it is not very time consuming to train a parakeet.
Useful Treats for Training
Here are some of the preferred treats among budgies.
- Millet spray
- Grass seed (you can find these in your back yard)
- Dandelion leaves
- Fresh fruit
What Foods to Feed Your Parakeet
- Essential Parakeet Diet: What to Feed a Budgerigar
What foods can parakeets eat? There are many foods such as seeds, pellets fruits, vegetables, nuts and treats for budgies out there. Here is how to give your parakeet a healthy and balanced diet.
© 2013 Lali Writes
Cloud the Budgie on July 29, 2020:
In my opinion, you should never clip/trim a birds wings, they are flying animals, if you want to gain your birds trust, never reach in their cage as it is the birds territory and feel safe. Try holding millet spray near the front of the cage, then slowly take it out of the cage, and put your finger in front so they have to go on your finger to get the millet. Your bird is a prey animal, keep the cage elevated, and give them lots of toys and natural perches, even add a platform perch to rest your birds feet.
Lali Writes (author) on June 07, 2020:
Generally if you have more than one bird, they will bond with each other, not the owner. It might be best to separate them if you want to train them, and bring them back together when they are finger trained.
Lali Writes (author) on June 07, 2020:
I recommend taking it slow. Not all parakeets warm up to their owners quickly. Keep holding millet in the cage daily (ideally a few times a day) and let the bird get used to your hand, until they finally have the courage to take some millet. Then you can try and slowly get them to come on your finger while you hold the millet.
SHERRI ARTZ on May 18, 2020:
My son bought me a budgie parakeet . I have had him one week . when i go into have step on my finger , he will avoid me big time and flies around the cage . I can then get him and and hold him in my hand . But he will not allow me to train to the finger . I dont want him to hurt himself with flying around the cage wings are trimmed . but i want to work with him to finger train . what do i do ? i need help please and thank you
tngeno on May 17, 2020:
I have multiple parakeets. 5 to be exact. They are all in one large cage. How do I work with them individually when the minute I put my hand in they all fly to one end of the cage and then continue to flee from my hand as a pack. I can not leave the door open or I am afraid they will all come out and I won't be able to catch them all. Any suggestions?
linda on January 14, 2020:
what can i do if my budgie will step onto my finger briefly, but will hop onto another perch quickly. I cant seem to get him out of his cage without catching him with a towel
ANormalBrittishMan on September 22, 2019:
i trimmed feathers off mu parakeets wings and he can fly even without them and I'm not saying fly like from one part of the cage to the other I'm saying FLYING THROUGH THE WHOLE HOUSE JUST TO GO AWAY FROM ME. my daughter once made a mistake of keeping the door of the cage open and i think she saw what happened
Grace on September 17, 2019:
Well i got teo budies in labor day monday 2019 and well its been two weeks ive made some lrogress but just how do i get them to not be scared of me ?
Norah on August 17, 2019:
Seven days a week so I will be back it up and I will not be at school today and I don't i me know what works for you and I'll make pizza tonight or tomorrow and see if I can you bring the bathroom then
Norah on August 17, 2019:
E I will do that when I I will not be in for a few hours but I have been a bit of a rough time and
Lali Writes (author) on August 17, 2019:
If you are familiar with clipping the bird's wing feathers, I recommend trying that. Otherwise it may be helpful to have a vet do it
a.r. on August 13, 2019:
I just bought a new budgie yesterday but I realized he can fly a bit more than what I'm used to dealing with. What's worse is that he's somewhat scared of everything. We are making progress by me putting my hand in the cage and softly pressing around his feet and he will get on for a moment or two but when he escapes from the cage, he's uncontrollable. He flies a little higher and more than my original budgie and he is persistent on staying as far away from me as possible. I end getting a towel and wrapping around him to put him back in the cage. I need some serious help! Any tips?
Orso on August 03, 2019:
Oh god! Here we are again!
First of all I guess you never had a pet in your life, since it’s quite clear from what you wrote that you’re totally oblivious about the amount of LOVE, PASSION and COMMITMENT you need to keep a pet, even a goldfish!
As they already told you and as THE ARTICLE well explains, you do not cut the wings! You just trim 4 feathers and they will grow back in about 4/6 months!
Ps: about what you describe, if someone feed me just to keep me alive... well, it’s called life!
You do a shitty job, work like crazy, for what?!? Getting a mortgage so you will need even more money... it’s life, more or less, at the end all of us just try to survive, that’s it
Gay on July 20, 2019:
Mine just be like "I DONT NEED TO LEARN" so he just now goes on my finger but is still scared the other one she be like "N O P E"
Kaylee on June 27, 2019:
Me and my sister bought two budgies yesterday we got them to get on our finger easily i was so happy my sisters bit her but mine has not.
Courtney on June 26, 2019:
We have two budgies and have tried to get them to step up they did at first but now won't come out of the cage don't want to force them but don't know what to do please help.
Jasmine Gardner on June 12, 2019:
The thing is, every time I put my finger to Sparkys legs, he always goes to bite my finger. He will occasionally jump up, but will bite and nip me first.
Hi! on June 12, 2019:
this is my 2nd day with my bird and it let's me rub its tummy but some times it flies away, I want to bond Quickly, can you help?
SophieYang on May 20, 2019:
It’s the second day with two budgies, but they are like statues and turn their head away when i soeak gently to them. Do you suggest training now or later?
Belinda on April 24, 2019:
I've had my parakeets for about a month now. I've been trying to get them used to me (1st time bird owner) I've clipped their wings twice now. I've been taking my male out first. He bites me but not hard. I had him stepping on my finger the first day. I praised him. I'll put him back in the cage. When ever they see me they run. I can't get him to come to me in the cage. Once i have him outside he is a little different. I cry because i no like them afraid of me and think they no like me. What am i doing wrong? Why they still scared? Do they not like me? Please help me. Remember they are my 1st parakeets.
Anon on April 10, 2019:
@chandrasena You must be some kind of special.
elijah virgo on April 01, 2019:
i have 2 bugies i try to tame my untamed one but all it want to do is play/bite my very soft
Alex on November 17, 2018:
i only have a cockatiel its roughly 5 months old i got it in 9th of august at 3 months old its name is vinnie it took me a month or so to tame it biting was not a problem it diddint know the rite force #
Lali Writes (author) on November 08, 2018:
@chandrasena nobody cuts the wings off. Clipping the wings refers to trimming the feathers of the wings just enough so that the bird cannot fly away. This makes it easier to train the parakeets. :)
twstr988 on November 07, 2018:
Seriously you think they cut their wings off? They trim the edges so they dont fly away. Dont you trim your cats claws so they dont scratch you? Or cut your dogs hair so they can see? Or dont you cut your own nails so you dont hurt someone? Its the same thing. I have had many birds. They just trim them.
me on October 22, 2018:
Thy don't cut the entire wing off dude.
ReptileMan on July 18, 2018:
i got my parakeet to step up unto my hand in less than an hour and a half when he first arrived, is this bad? now i feel like i forced him up but i was just putting in his food near him and he hopped up.
bookpaw on June 22, 2018:
when i let my parakeet out of her cage she will fly back to her cage she won't stay out with me what do i do?
Jacquelyn on May 26, 2018:
Thanks for the info...Have started finger training....My bird wings are not clipped but, he is making and doing well in the training....It just takes time and patients....I see you have left bands on some of your birds....Your Pufu I see has one still on.....Hope you do remove this band before it gets caught into something or it damages his leg....Hate to see these bands on birds legs....Seen these bird bands cut into legs get infected or worse lose their little leg due to growth or the band being put on there to tight.......
Pat on May 10, 2018:
Sonu so it doesn’t ram itself into windows and prevent injuries
QWERTY on April 19, 2018:
Hii, we just got a budgie, and have had her for 5 days. She gets along well with my other bird, who flies around the house, and tries to follow him when he passes her cage. We tried taking her out, but she flew around, hit the walls and windows, and refused to land on the perch given to her. I tried to put her on my finger, but she was terrified and flew around even more, and kept falling on the floor. I want to hand train her so she can come out and fly with the other bird, but I’m afraid she’ll hurt herself. I tried putting my hand in the cage to pick her up, but she panicked and flew around in the cage. How do I get her used to my hand???
????? on April 13, 2018:
My budgies wont stop biting me but they get on my finger how do i make a bigger bond with them? ( I Love them so much but i need to make a bigger bond with)
Anna on April 01, 2018:
I just got my budgies today and I got two. One of their wings has only one wing clipped, and the other has no clipped wings and can fly. I already brought them home, what should I do for this?
me on March 10, 2018:
I have a parakeet that won't step on my finger or get out of the cage even if i leave the cage door open what should i do
Bob on December 06, 2017:
Have a Parakeet here no one touched it in 4 years
taking him out of the cage is one battle of hard bites.
once he is out after 4 days got him to come to my finger climb my shirt onto my shoulder jump from chair onto my shoulder from chair back to shoulder... once we get past the leaving the cage that be great .. he can bite I have mad every face I could getting him out
Alex Nguyen on November 21, 2017:
Hey I tried to train my birds but when I take it out the cage it flies and gets scared someone help!!!!
Gail on November 02, 2017:
I can tell you how not to train the bird, I'd one, a hen, from one of those big chain shops, it was in an aviary with both budgies and cockatoos, but the little birds had the upper hand-they were mobbing a cockatoo to get onto his swing, brought home, wouldn't come near me, despite treats, then gave me a deep bite, I leapt and the link was broken, she was dangerous even to vets when she was badly ill, one vet reported her as aggressive!! I think she got all the wrong ideas as a chick in that aviary
Payton on October 14, 2017:
I have two parakeets, my female looks like Beebu and my male is a violet. I rescued Elliott (the violet male) first and trained him. But then I decided to get him a companion because he looked lonely. So I got Olive (the green female). Olive came from a regular pet store so she was very scared. After they started to live together Elliott became more scitish like Olive and now they are both scared of me. I think Olive has panick attacks because when I get anywhere near her she starts to breath really hardly and fast and freak out. And they don’t have their wings clipped so they fly away from me when the escape (but I really don’t want to clip their wings because I feel like I am taking away their freedom). I don’t know what to do!?
mary on September 27, 2017:
I just got a lovely little bird, I was told that if I want the bird as a companion I shouldn't get a second one because it will bond with the other bird and not me. Is this true? If I can get a second bird should I wait till she is use to her new home?
Parakeets on July 12, 2017:
I have two birds one white and blue named fluffy and my other bird yellow colored named sunny when I first saw this I was amazed cause I thought that was my bird. I tried this trick on my birds it didn't seem to be working after a few days they got used to my finger and now I can hold them on my finger with no promblems.:)
Budgie lover on May 16, 2017:
I have 2 budgie birds in a cage . Blue and kiwi. Kiwi will go on my finger Any time but blue is still unsure. When they get outside of there cage they aren't trusting at all and freak out . Fly around as well. I did not get there wings cliped. Can i do it at home? How do I get them to trust me outside of there cage? Please help
AlyIsHere on January 16, 2017:
My budgie is easy to train but she won't step up on my finger but she will go on it to peck she also doesn't let me touch her but she will hop on my shoulder or arm
breadloaf56 on October 01, 2016:
thanks for sharing, helped a lot!
annie on April 11, 2016:
I have 2 birds, Sun and Moon, they look like sunny and spunky, they are not trusting in me and they are still not traind!
passionate77 on December 11, 2013:
very helpful and informative post dear, thanks for sharing, stay blessed.
Lali Writes (author) on November 09, 2013:
They really are full of energy at first (too much!) but you're right, once they are tame they are just happy cheery birdies all the time.
Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on November 07, 2013:
I've trained some budgies similar to this before. They can be a little fickle when getting started but settle down after they've had some practise. Love the photos!