In last weeks’ post ‘How to tame my budgie – Step by Step Guide to ‘In Cage’ Techniques’, I walked you through the process of beginning to hand tame your budgie whilst it is still confined to its cage, in the first days after bringing it home.
This article takes us a step or two further. We will begin the process of ‘Free Flight’ taming.
What is ‘Free Flight’?
It refers to time your budgie spends out of the cage, flying freely within your house.
Are you ready?
Prepare for take-off.
Not so fast!
Before we release the beast (so to speak), and just like every airplane ride, there are some very important safety messages to follow.
In the excitement of finally allowing your budgie cage-free time, it’s easy to forget the number one priority – SAFETY.
You must ‘budgie proof’ your home.
By following the guidelines below, you can be sure that your budgies first experience of ‘Free Flight’ will be a safe one.
Select A Budgie Safe Room
Although allowing your budgie the run of the house is entirely possible, it is best to start with just one room being available for free flight.
To prevent injury and stress to your bird. Let’s call him Little Feathers shall we?
It is much easier to provide a safe space for out of cage fun if you can be sure that one room is safe. You don’t need to inspect the whole house for dangers – just one room. It’s just easier for everybody in the beginning days.
Little Feathers is probably going to be a bit nervous and stressed about being let out of his cage too.
After all, he has had some pretty big changes to his environment in the last few weeks, and should by now think of his cage as his own – a ‘safe place’.
He might be completely overwhelmed being let out of the cage and thrust into a much wider space than which he is used to.
I recommend choosing a smaller room in the house that can be completely shut off from all other rooms.
A bedroom or small living room are good choices.
If you can, choose a room with few windows, as they can be a big danger to an unsuspecting, untamed bird – the fewer windows in the room, the better.
Budgie Proofing The Room
Okay. You have a suitable room in mind. The next step is to budgie proof it. Taming a budgie during this stage means allowing Little Feathers to fly around the room, and you want him to be as safe as possible.
Look For Potential Dangers
Spend some time really looking all around the room – high and low, to identify potential dangers. Especially look out for:
Open Windows Or Doors
Bye, bye birdie. Close them.
Clear Window Glass
Clear windows are very dangerous for a flying budgie as they cannot see the glass. You must cover any clear glass!
Close the curtain, stick large pieces of paper to the glass – do whatever you can to provide a visual prompt to deter your budgie from flying into the window.
If your view out the window is rubbish anyway why not use some absolutely funky window privacy film? There are so many designs and sizes to choose from – you can turn your budgie proofing into a work of art! If I didn’t have such a good view from my windows I would totally go with this design, available through Amazon.
You do not want your budgie to be anywhere near a rotating fan blade. Turn it off and wait until the blades have come to a complete stop before opening the bird cage door.
Fireplaces, stoves, ovens and all other appliances that provide heat can burn your budgie if he sits on it or flies into it. Turn all heating appliances off, or if this is impossible, choose another room.
Gaps Between Walls And Furniture
Tall cupboards are a very inviting place to fly to if you’re a bird, but if there is a gap between the cupboard and the wall behind it, a budgie can fall down it and be trapped.
You will need to create a barrier to prevent this from happening. A piece of wood or a few heavy books to cover the gap are useful for this.
Large sized mirrors act a bit like a window and can confuse your budgie if they see their reflection. They might think it is another bird and get panicked by the sudden appearance of a stranger.
Drape a cloth over any large mirror.
If you wish for your budgie to talk – avoid mirrors completely, both in cage and out.
I see many cute images on the internet of a budgie and a cat or dog snuggling up to each other and it paints an idyllic picture of a happy home with contented pets all getting along. Like this one:
In my experience, this is not reality!
As much as I love my cat and think he is a beautiful and loving ball of fur – I do not trust him around my budgie!
A free flying budgie is seen as fair game to a predatory animal. Please, please, please do not let a cat anywhere near your budgie.
Dogs are probably less likely to attack a budgie, however, they do like to play and chew stuff. A budgie could potentially be the perfect sized toy for some canine entertainment.
I can’t stress it enough – always supervise or relocate any animal in your home when your budgie is flying free.
Some foods are poisonous to budgies and can be fatal if ingested. Other foods, whilst not poisonous, can cause intestinal upsets or blockages.
The following is a brief list of the most common foods that can be found within the home that you need to be cautious of.
I recommend removing access to these foods in any room where your budgie will fly free.
- Junk food (high in fat, preservatives & sugar)
- Stone fruit pips (apple, cherry, apricots etc)
- Uncooked food such as rice, beans or potatoes
If you would like to read more about why these foods are toxic to budgies, I suggest reading Lafeber’s article ‘Foods toxic to pet birds’.
Are we ready yet?
Yes we are!
Now that all the safety concerns are taken care of, it’s time to introduce your budgie to the big, wide world!
Good luck with the next stage of taming your budgie with ‘Free Flight’ techniques. Be ready for some fun (and frustrating) times ahead!