Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

A Taming Tool

Three years ago I posted on the joys of curly paper (click here).   The latest recruit is Dalai.  He loves curly paper!


He quickly makes short work of what I peg up for him.  The floor underneath him is littered with chewed up bits.  I thought that curly paper may be the thing that helps with taming.  (I say ‘taming’ but I really mean getting Dalai to not be scared of my hand.)

As soon as my hand goes into the cage, Dalai usually retreats to behind a mirror, whether it is his red mirror or the mirror on the swing.  Food did not seem to entice him out.  Curly paper has.  I hold up a strip & let it wave & wobble & gradually his curiosity gets the better of him & he stretches out to chew it.  As he tears off the paper, he has to get nearer my fingers.  After a few days of doing this, he got to within about 3 inches of my fingers which was a breakthrough, given that he would usually hide.  With a little more patience, he tentatively touched the tip of my finger with his beak!

We are now at the stage where he nibbles the tips of my two fingers that are holding what is left of the curly paper.  He still does this from the safety of the swing.

I want him to associate nice things with my hand/fingers.  I did not think that curly paper would be my ally in this task!


Battle for the bath

Bezukhov & Phineas both wanted a bath…. at the same time:


Bezukhov tried his best, but Phinny won that particular battle.


Remembering Thomas on his adoption day

Thomas came into our home on this day, 3 years ago.  He made a big impression even though his stay was short.  We remember him with fondness.




Always in our thoughts.



Twenty-five days in isolation

Dalai on day 2

Dalai on day 2

Dalai resting

Dalai resting

Dalai likes the honey stick

Dalai likes the honey stick

Dalai discovers his swing

Dalai discovers his swing

As soon as he arrived, on the 14th March, little Dalai was promptly put into quarantine, i.e. my bedroom!

He looked young & healthy, but quarantine is important.  The theory behind doing quarantine is that the stress of the move & change of environment may trigger an underlying illness, that may endanger the rest of the flock.  The standard time for quarantine in this situation is 4 weeks.  We managed 3.6 weeks.

Quarantine is usually a good time to spend taming your bird or building a bond, without distractions.

Though Dalai was clearly uneasy about the changes, it did not take too long for him to tolerate my hands moving around the cage, changing seed/water & cleaning things.  He always took himself to the opposite side to where I was working.  It took him longer to get used to me sliding the bottom tray out to change the paper & he seemed surprised that this strange event happened every day!

I spent time with my hand in the cage & gradually moved it towards him but he indicated he was not comfortable with that.  Even if I held something tasty like millet.

During quarantine, Dalai developed his own eating routine which I found difficult to cope with at first – he tended not to eat until around 5 pm, at which point he could spend over 20 minutes eating seed without pausing once.

His previous owner had given me some seed that he had been feeding him.  I started mixing my own with this to transition him over.  He liked millet, especially a new spray & not a half-eaten one.  Because of the long hours of not eating, I bought him honey sticks that I remembered he had in his previous home, in the hope of enticing him to eat during the day.  He liked those too.

The last time I had bought a honey stick was probably when my girls, Atilla & Raspy, were still around.  I noticed some odd coloured poops from Dalai & after some panic, decided these were caused by the quite garishly coloured honey sticks (the egg one is bright yellow!)

Those days in isolation, with just me for company, must have been difficult & strange for Dalai.  He coped well though & found interest in the cage; his red mirror, the chewy toy, & after 3 weeks, the swing.  He also took an interest in activity he could see outside the window.  He was fairly quiet but did have the odd loud tantrum so I knew there was nothing wrong with his voice.

He also showed signs of being a clever boy as he was drinking water from the hamster-style water bottle as well as the open dish.

Here is a video of my little man during quarantine – eating, tweeting & noticing activity outside the window:



A big Softy

I have reported before that Phineas likes me to ruffle his feathers.  This stopped when he came out of his moult.  Every now & then I would test if a feather ruffle was acceptable &, though he would not bite my finger like before, he would gently move out of the way.  However, he is moulting again.  Feather ruffling is back on the agenda!  As witnessed by these videos:



It seems that, at heart, he is a big softy!





Zero by Ten

Last month I reported that Phineas likes to have two hand jives by ten o’clock.  He had begun to moult & had reduced his two jives to one.  However, his moult has gradually got heavier & now there are zero jives by ten o’clock.  Despite this departure from normal routine, he does managed to fit in a jiggy at some point in the day, whether it is the afternoon or early evening.

Here is the man in all his jiggying glory:




Introducing little Dalai

Since Cagney’s passing in September, it has been on my mind to increase the flock.

Enter little Dalai.

Little Dalai

Little Dalai


He was re-homed 4 weeks today on the 14th March.  As with re-homes, little is known of his background.  He was approx. 5 months old & was originally with a hen who had died leaving him on his own, hence, I guess, the need to re-home.  His owner had named him Rama.  I decided to rechristen the little one, but wanted to retain his roots & came up with Dalai Rama.

He was housed in a round cage that I did not want so he was transferred to my travel cage.  Once home, I quickly finalised the set up of his quarantine cage (folding cage) – I had waited until I saw him in case that helped decide what toys to put in.  As he was younger than I imagined, I chose toys that I thought would be more suitable for a youngster.  Once all was set up, I managed to transfer him from the travel cage to his new home (at least for the next 4 weeks) & left him to settle.

With luck, Bezukhov & Phineas will welcome him!


Remembering my girls: Week Three

The diary for the second week is posted here: Week Two.


Sunday 5th October 2008

Atilla & Raspy asleep

Atilla & Raspy asleep

I put the bath there with lots of spinach leaves in. They saw it but did not go in. When I moved the ladder around, Raspy jumped on my hand, had a nibble then got on the other perch, using my hand as a go-between.  Atilla then jumped on, had a nibble then fluffed up & fell asleep!

I gave them some fig which was appreciated.

I put the ladder horizontally across.  It is funny watching them walk across it as they have not quite worked out where the rungs are & keep knocking their chins. Raspy also discovered you can go down through one hole & up through another.

I gave them spinach in the evening.  I noticed Atilla was holding her foot up to hold it but it was too high. I put my hand in to give leverage.  Atilla jumped on & had a nibble of the spinach that was now within easy reach.  Raspy also jumped on my hand. I held them up to spinach which they carried on eating even though the perch was just below them.


Monday 6th October 2008

Raspy on the swing

Raspy on the swing

I left some spinach & carrot for them whilst I was at work.  They were eating seed from the in-built seed pot at the bottom.  Carrot was licked clean by my return.

Also, on my return, I found Atilla quietly sitting on the swing!  After a few minutes she got off & Raspy got on! It was very amusing to watch.

They sat by the empty carrot pot, looking at me as if to say, well fill it up again, then!

They got on my hand to chew green carrot tops.  Later on, when I put spinach in, I put my hand in to help Atilla up to the top to eat it.  They both climbed on my hand, even without a treat.  Raspy would jump on & I would move my hand to the other perch & she would get off.  My hand was like a transport system.

That evening, I took the open seed pot out & they both sat & ate out of the 2 in-built, covered seed pots!!!


Tuesday 7th October 2008

I left some spinach & carrot for them whilst I was at work. I put the open seed pot back in so I could be sure they were eating whilst I was not there.

Atilla prefers the ball with bell.  Raspy prefers the red mirror.


Wednesday 8th October 2008

I left some spinach & carrot for them whilst I was at work. That evening they played on my hand/arm twice.  The first time was with the new plug toy (plastic cover that comes with a new plug) which caused great excitement.  Atilla sometimes goes a bit mad, shakes her head & bottom & does a little dance up & down my arm (usually backwards).

Raspy comes up to the front of cage to nibble my nose.


Thursday 9th October 2008

I left some spinach & cucumber for them – they did not eat all the cucumber. That evening they played on my hand/arm 3 times. They investigated the cat ball on my hand.  Atilla jumped on immediately.  Afterwards I hung the cat ball from a wooden stick & they found that to play with.  I also put in the homemade plug toy which they played with again. They scrambled over my hand when I helped them eat the spinach later on.

Atilla came up to the side of the cage & nibbled my glasses.


Friday 10th October 2008

I left some spinach for them whilst I was at work.

Yes, a rather abrupt ending to the diary!  So, there you have it – the first weeks spent with my girls.  Very early on there were signs of them dominating me & of course it did not take long until I was completely under their thumb claws…  (& enjoying every second of it!)

Remembering my girls: Week Two

The diary for the first week is posted here: Week One.


Sunday 28th September 2008

The next time, Atilla faffed about less before coming to my hand.  Raspy followed shortly afterwards & they both squabbled a bit, knocking each other off, but at one point were both on my hand, tucking into the millet!  Later, Atilla walked up my sleeve & then flew off.

They investigated the new lantern mirror.

Today they also ate fig (eyes lit up at that!), broccoli & grated carrot.


Monday 29th September 2008

I left some basil in their cage which was still there on my return home from work.

They ate millet off my hand for about 30 minutes that evening. Raspy was the main contender but Atilla came along afterwards & got all wound up, trying to find space on my hand. They walked up & down my arm a bit too & chewed my sleeve.

I really need to get them to eat out of the covered seed pots at the bottom of the cage because Atilla has got into the habit of dancing in the open seed pot they currently eat out of & kicking the seeds out. I put their open seed pot further down the cage & although they noticed where it was, did not go to it.


Tuesday 30th September 2008

I left some grated carrot for them today. I returned from work to little orange faces. They had licked the carrot pot clean – not a trace. They went on my hand again to chew the carrot top. They also nibbled my fingers, arm & sleeve a lot. They slipped off a couple of times, but returned.

Later on I put the open seed pot lower down on the other side & they found that. I put it lower down again. I put the enchanted perch up so they could perch on that & eat the seed. After much deliberation they both investigated & that was nibbled.  Also, whilst I had my hand in sorting out the seed pot, they nibbled at my sleeve again & Raspy climbed on to walk over to the seed pot!

Raspy has been doing a lot of hovering about in the middle of the cage. I moved the ladder up more.

They tried some cucumber. Current fruit/veg scores:

  • Cucumber 6/10,
  • Fig 500293801830/10,
  • Carrot 8/10,
  • Yellow pepper 3/10
  • Green carrot top 10/10,
  • Broccoli 1/10
  • Spinach 4/10 (potential to improve)
  • Lettuce 2/10


Wednesday 1st October 2008

I left some spinach & watercress for them today & moved the seed pot back up to the top again.  There was more investigating of my hand for the treat. I gave them some fig. (Note to self: I must photograph their blissful faces when eating it).


Thursday 2nd October 2008

I left some cucumber for them which they had licked clean by my return. They jumped on my hand to investigate the wooden stirrer.  Again, I put the seed pot near the bottom & swapped the perches over so they could sit on the plastic one rather than the enchanted one. They got down there with some effort.  I saw Raspy climb up the ladder at one point.  Both do quite a lot of hovering around the middle of the cage.  They fight quite a bit.  Atilla is the more dominant & aggressive.  In fact, Atilla waited until Raspy wasn’t looking & jumped on the perch at her so she fell off.  She did that, on purpose, twice.  They were playing a lot with their ball & hanging off it. There was also some walking around the ceiling upside down too. They do not seem scared of the camera.


Friday 3rd October 2008

I left some basil for them whilst I was at work. There was no hand-taming this evening as I was out. They were narked with me when I nipped back during the course of the evening to turn the light on etc. They did not move or greet me. They were still narked when I got home later that night.


Saturday 4th October 2008

I got them another rope perch & a swing. The swing was largely ignored. Atilla pecked at the spinach attached to it but was put off by it swinging around.

The rope perch was put around the in-built, covered seed pots at the bottom. They seem to eat 2 or 3 seeds from the pot in passing but are routinely eating out of the open seed pot also now at the bottom.  Atilla at one point jumped on the floor & had a root around!  Raspy followed.

I attached two wooden stirrers to the soft grip pegs & they swing back & forth. These have caused great excitement & amusement; lots of hanging off them & doing the splits (foot on perch and foot on stirrer).

They like the trill topper.

Raspy eating Trill Topper

Raspy eating Trill Topper


To be continued

Remembering my girls: Week One

When I first brought my girls home, I kept a diary for just over 3 weeks of my attempts to tame them. I thought I would reproduce it on this blog.

At the time, I had not decided on their names but for the purposes of these posts I will refer to them as Atilla & Raspy.


Sunday 21st September 2008

Atilla & Raspy - second day

Atilla & Raspy – second day

I got my two girls from a breeder. He had about 50 budgies in an outside aviary. My girls were in a separate cage in the aviary. The breeder got them out & showed me how to hold them. Atilla drew blood!  They pooped on my hand & on my boot.

He pointed out their parents & I recall being stunned by the bright colour of one of them & he said that Raspy would turn that colour. I confess that I did not take too much notice of that comment, thinking I was probably looking at the wrong bird as I could not believe one of mine could change colour like that.

On the drive home, my girls sat quietly on the back seat (in their travel cage!), with the occasional “tweet”. On arriving home, there were a few “cheeps” when moving them off the back seat. Once in their big cage, they were quiet & hardly moved.


Monday 22nd September 2008

They are eating the millet when I put it in front of them but they will not go & eat it.  I have not seen them drink any water which worries me.  They also ran away from the seed when I offered it to them which also worries me!!!  They have investigated the green carrot tops when I put that up to them. They probably just want the nasty red nosed face woman to go away! (I had a cold!)  They do not like it when I cough, either…

Atilla, Raspy & carrot top

Atilla, Raspy & carrot top

They sometimes chirp in response to the youtube video of birds. I need to find one longer than 3 mins. They were very lively at the breeders so I know they are capable of being lively.

They are very together & I have even seen them preen each other’s heads.  Atilla is definitely a girl.  The breeder reckons Raspy (the blue one) is a boy but I am not convinced.

They have the lovely big cage which they haven’t explored yet!

Hallelujah! They have flown from perch to perch, about 4 times! PLUS, Raspy has investigated the water pot & I am sure I saw ‘him’ take a sip!

The millet is going down well but it is only supposed to be used as a treat as too much can make them fat, but I guess they need a treat right now.  They ate one bit so much it fell off the clip.  They looked at it on the floor but decided to leave it there & investigate the other bit by the other perch. So, it means they are using their brains a little!


Tuesday 23rd September 2008

They seem quite confident with the top section of the cage but have not explored the bottom part (where the in-built seed pots are).  The millet was razored to the bone yesterday.  I will put some more in today, but clip it to the bottom near the seed pots. They have a separate open seed pot at the top which they have been eating out of.

Atilla drank water twice this morning which is a relief.  Raspy spent half an hour chirping loudly non-stop. They have investigated the mirror, twirled the perch toy thingy & thumped the hanging ball/bell thing.


Wednesday 24th September 2008

Atilla does this strange thing where she rubs her head along the perch & tries to rub it under Raspy’s foot.  One time Raspy was completely unbalanced by this & fell off!

Raspy & Atilla preening

Raspy & Atilla preening

Sadly the fall to the bottom of the cage did not bring on a let’s-explore-down-here-oh-there’s-a-big-pot-of-Trill-just-there, rather a oh-dear-where-am-I-best-get-back-up-to-safe-perch-quick!

They seem to like Laurel & Hardy’s “Honolulu Baby“.  On the TV, they are suspicious of the end-of-round jingle in Weakest Link & are not keen on the BBC News intro music. No adverse reaction to Eastenders or Corrie theme tunes so that is positive…..

I changed the perches around, to encourage them to go to the bottom of the cage but they were having none of it & were confined to one side of the top all afternoon, avoiding the “nasty” perch over there…. Even though the nasty perch had millet & green carrot tops by it.

Finally, Atilla jumped over to get some water (obviously forgetting the perch was “nasty”), and what a surprise – the perch bounces! It is like the millennium wibbly-wobbly bridge! (It is only attached to one side of the cage, hence wobble). I thought, this will freak them out, but they loved it! I guess it mimics what it would be like in the wild, landing on a tree branch. They were running up & down it with great excitement. The adrenaline must have been soaring because Atilla then jumped down to the mid-level perch. So, a bit of sneaky tactics & I got them to mid-cage level!


Thursday 25th September 2008

After work on Thursday, I held my hand in the cage (& arm – it’s quite a big cage!) holding a spray of millet close to them.  Raspy tucked into the millet & gradually I moved my hand away.  She kept nibbling my hand (sign they are checking it is a solid surface etc.)  She refused to budge & was almost horizontal, stretching out, with two feet firmly wrapped around the perch.


Friday 26th September 2008

On Friday, I did the same thing but this time Raspy plucked up courage & jumped on my hand but obviously decided it felt a bit strange & was off a split second later.


Saturday 27th September 2008

Saturday I did the same again. This time, Atilla was on the mid-level perch & was chewing at my sleeve, then climbed onto my sleeve, nibbled at my arm & attempted to climb up my arm to my hand, holding the millet. Unfortunately, Atilla slipped & flew off. (Mental note to self: pull sleeve up to wrist).

Later on, Atilla tucked into the millet. When moving it further away, Atilla cautiously put one foot on my hand (other firmly attached to perch) & after a few moments had 2 feet on my hand, tucking into the millet & was then climbing all over my hand looking for a better position! All the while, Raspy watched.

To be continued


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