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How to Finger Train a Parakeet in Less Than 2 Days

Updated on July 9, 2017

Four Finger Trained and Happy Budgies

Finger training parakeets is a relatively easy process. If you have multiple birds, train one at a time.
Finger training parakeets is a relatively easy process. If you have multiple birds, train one at a time. | Source

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.

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 purchsed from large commercial pet stores are not hand raised are often still wild and afraid once they are brought home. The article will discuss how to train a store purchased parakeet.

Offering treats is a great way to motivate a shy parakeet
Offering treats is a great way to motivate a shy parakeet | Source

Step 1 - Before training

Before you bring a parakeet home, ask the store associate to trim both its wing feathers so the bird can not fly away.

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.

Whether the bird is inside or outside the cage remember to keep your hand near the base of the parakeets feet.
Whether the bird is inside or outside the cage remember to keep your hand near the base of the parakeets feet. | Source
This parakeet is already trained, but note how the finger is pushing against the parakeets belly to make it step up.
This parakeet is already trained, but note how the finger is pushing against the parakeets belly to make it step up. | Source

Step 2 - Taking the bird out

At the end of the second day, begin by opening your parakeets 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, but the parakeet can not notice you. Take a small light towel or a glove and gently take the parakeet out. Place it on top of the cage and open the lights.

Note: Make sure your parakeets wing feathers are trimmed so that they can not fly away too far.

Step 3 - Getting accustomed

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.

No place to go but on your hand. Careful tough, this also means nothing to bite but your hand so approach slowly.
No place to go but on your hand. Careful tough, this also means nothing to bite but your hand so approach slowly. | Source

Step 4 - Getting on

If the bird backs away, follow it slowly with your finger extended. If the bird flies away 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.

Once the bird is on your finger, try to make it step on your other hand. Push against the base of the feet until it gets the hang of it.
Once the bird is on your finger, try to make it step on your other hand. Push against the base of the feet until it gets the hang of it. | Source

Step 5 - Stepping up

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.

Parakeets will often bond to each other more than humans but this does not make them less playful or harder to train. Left to right: Sunny, Spunky and Pufu
Parakeets will often bond to each other more than humans but this does not make them less playful or harder to train. Left to right: Sunny, Spunky and Pufu | Source

A different finger training method to try out

Average Training Time

How long did it take to train your parakeet?

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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.

Millet Spray

A favorite treat of parakeets. Use this to reward good behavior while finger training.
A favorite treat of parakeets. Use this to reward good behavior while finger training. | Source

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)
  • Chickweed
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Fresh fruit

© 2013 Laura Writes

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    • profile image

      Payton 5 days ago

      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!?

    • profile image

      mary 3 weeks ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Parakeets 3 months ago

      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.:)

    • profile image

      Budgie lover 5 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      AlyIsHere 9 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      breadloaf56 12 months ago

      thanks for sharing, helped a lot!

    • profile image

      annie 18 months ago

      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 profile image

      passionate77 3 years ago

      very helpful and informative post dear, thanks for sharing, stay blessed.

    • Londonlady profile image
      Author

      Laura Writes 3 years ago

      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 profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      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!