What Makes A Hand Tamed Baby Bird?

Baby budgie sitting on human hand palm up
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Stephanie wrote:

Hello, I am hoping you can help me.


About three weeks ago I got a baby parakeet, I was told the bird was 10 weeks old.


The bird had black on its beak, and the cere was still purple in color. 

I left the baby alone in the cage for a couple of days so it could adjust.


I did talk to Mason a lot softly.


After a couple of days I started putting my hand in the cage and leaving there while talking to the baby.


He/she was doing really well, but after 3 weeks the bird is suddenly acting skittish and trying to fly away from everything (his wings are clipped).


Even when I feed him he runs away. I don’t know what has happened.


I am also thinking he may be a she because the cere is turning brown around the edges.


I have an opportunity to get a handraised baby, but I want to know if it will upset this bird.


I just want this bird to be happy.


He/ she does play with toys, chirps sometimes.


I would understand if I couldn’t tame this bird. I just want him/her to be happy.


Would a handtamed bird be ok to put with Mason.


I love him and want what would make him/her happy.


Also would the hand tamed bird stay tame?


I lost my other parakeet a while ago and he was amazing.


He loved to be with my husband and I and would play and talk with us.


We were hoping to have another bird that wants to be with us.


Tinker, our other bird was amazing.


We want this little baby to be happy.


Thank you for your time. Stephanie


Name: Stephanie


to sfarrington74, Mitch

Dear Stephanie


When you brought the 10 week old bird home, was he also supposed to be hand tame?


A hand tame baby is not a bird that was not tame and then made to be tame, it is a baby bird that was separated from its parents (usually at about 2 weeks of age) and finished being fed by hand which causes them to become imprinted on humans and thus a better pet.


If it was fed by its parents until it left the nest box then it is likely to not become your friend.  


It is normal for most birds, even hand tame ones to flee your hand if you stick it in the cage.


Unless it already attached to you, bonded and thus wants to be with you.


Otherwise, they will flee into their cage where they know it better than your big hand.


That it is clipped you could take it out and go to a small room (bathroom) and sit on the floor with it and let it climb on your hand, arm, etc.


Do you have any spray millet? That is a great food to use to encourage closeness. Cut a piece and let him nibble.


The cere may change once the bird matures revealing its true sex. We had a new baby we were told was a male. It looked like a female to us, but over time it indeed was a boy. And does that matter? A female can be as good a pet. American budgies are not big talkers so who cares what sex it is.


Now you are talking about getting another baby bird.


Was it tame the same as the other?


If so, what makes you feel this time it will not do the same?


And yes, birds of a feather flock together and you don’t have any feathers so the second budgie is going to be drawn to the first one.


What are your plans for the first budgie if you decide to go for the new baby?


We have been in your situation and the budgie really just wanted to spend time with the other budgie.


We let them have each other. In fact, to make them even more comfortable we added a couple more to the mix which made them all very happy.


Then added 2 more (yes, they are additive). All were foundlings, gifts or rescues.


We of course had to get a larger cage once we ended up with 6 parakeets.


You can see the exploits of our Budgie experience in our BLOG.


I hope this helps and you are able to enjoy your budgie(s).


Thank you



I have an 8 yr old male parakeet named Tinker.


Recently I had noticed his right eye looked cloudy, so I took him to the vet and she said he had a cataract on his eye.


But otherwise he is healthy.


She said he looked awesome.


Hes an amazing bird, hes an amazing talker and a lovable boy. I want to know do I need to do anything to help him.


He seems to be adjusting well.


I haven’t changed out any of his toys since the vet visit.


I used to change them every couple of weeks except for his two favorite ones.


He does get upset and calls for us sometimes if we leave his sight for a bit when we have been home.


We let him out to play when we get home and play with him a lot.


Also should I keep his wings clipped? I want to make sure I am doing what will keep him happy and safe. We love him and want to make sure he is doing well.


Thank you. Stephanie


Hi Stephanie,


It sounds like your bird is generally happy and healthy

​I’m assuming it’s a “budgie” when you say “parakeet”.

​We love them we have six ourselves:-)


Please don’t stop changing the toys because all birds love the challenge and it helps keep them mentally active.


The problem with handicap birds is unlike humans they don’t know nor do they acknowledge their handicap.


Keeping Tinker’s wings clipped is a judgment call.


In that we don’t know how deteriorated the vision is in his right eye we don’t know how accurate his depth perception is.


I would advocate that you test for this by allowing the wings to grow slightly and launch Tinker by hand to landing zones that are close at first and begin moving away.

​IE 1 foot then up to 6 feet over a couple of weeks


Make sure he has the ability to land on the perch placed for that very purpose.


If he begins to undershoot or overshoot the landing target you’ll know that clipping wings will keep him safer.


If his landings are right on, let them fly to his heart’s content but always watching to make sure his landings are accurate and safe.


Hope that helps






He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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