Cage bar biting budgie – tips for redirection

It shouldn’t have been too surprising, given how much she likes to bite everything, that Kelly turned into a cage bar biting budgie. I could almost tolerate anything better than the clanging, twanging noise of her plucking away at those cage bars!

My first concern (in addition to my sanity) was whether she was safe, I’ve checked the cage every day and she’s not removing any of the finish so I’m not too worried about her eating paint and poisoning herself. I also took stock to make sure I was meeting all of her needs. She is out of her cage for adequate time every day, and even though she can’t live with Toby and Kevin they get time to be together supervised daily as well. She always has clean water and food, and ample variety of toys and perches and enriching experiences.

The bar biting though did seem to be borne out of boredom, even if it was the unwarranted boredom of being in her cage for more than 5 minutes, or settling down to sleep every night. So, I began putting a toy or mineral block or anything she could chew anywhere she went to bite at the bars. The last problem zone was near her sleeping perch, because there wasn’t room for a toy. In that area I painstakingly wove paper strands in between the bars so there would be something to chew at.

woven paper strands to redirect cage bar biting budgieAs far of the rest of the cage, I paved one wall with sea grass mats and toys that we had generally regarded as “too big” when they first arrived.

using big toys to distract cage bar biting budgieIn other places I put cuttle bones or mineral block.

cuttle bone to redirect bar chewing budgieThe overall effect is very busy!

jam-packed with things for a cage bar biting budgie to chew

But, it’s working! It has now been two weeks since Kelly has ruined the household serenity by chewing on her cage bars! The last holdout was the sleep perch area, and those woven paper strands have definitely saved me.

I know those paper strands won’t hold out forever, and I’m so excited to have found this Braided Palm Leaf Rope, which should be easy to weave through the bars and hold up to a lot of abuse.

As far as toys that will cover a lot of bar area, I’m going to have this monster size Seagrass Foraging Wall Toy on deck and load up on Bird Beak Conditioner Blocks

While I can’t say with 100% certainty that this redirection will work for every bar biting budgie, putting a toy or other chew object everywhere she wants to bit the bars helped Kelly redirect her energy. If you’ve met all of your parakeets needs and she is still biting, it’s at least worth a try!

I’m stuck – considering moving the flock to their own room

A while back I made some grand plans about moving the flock to their own room. It seemed like a great way to give them better sleep at night, as well as making their lives safer. It’s true, part of it may have also been so that the humans could use the kitchen at night!

Here’s where I started

what will be the budgie's roomAnd here’s how far I’ve gotten

moving the flockAs you can see, this is definitely not a bird haven! It’s still very much my whole room drying rack. But, I have some very good excuses for why the birds don’t have their own wonderland.

  1. Shortly after I wrote that post Kevin started singing consistently right before bed time, and I got terribly sad thinking about missing that if they were in a room down the hall.
  2. Everyone started a heavy molt and wanted to do nothing but sleep all day and loaf around. It seemed like a bad time to get them excited for anything new, especially a big change that they might find scary.
  3. Toby had a couple of night terrors and I got worried that I wouldn’t hear her in the new room. She tends to have a night terror when there are people still awake so it’s easy to turn up the light a little bit and help her get calmed down.
  4. Patrick pointed out that in that room it will be hard to keep the cages out of the air conditioning flow in summer. Where they are now the vent is directly above their cage and the air flows out so it never hits them directly.
  5. I have a lot of travel coming up for work, and I got worried about them being lonely while I was gone. Patrick takes good care of them, but he doesn’t like to let them out as much as I do. And that’s fine, I don’t expect him to obsess over them like I do. But, I can’t picture him devoting a couple hours a day to hanging out with them in another room, so it’s better if they are in the same room as him not forgetting that humans exist!

I’ll keep you posted, but for now it’s safe to assume the birds are staying put and the humans are still sneaking into the kitchen for a snack every evening.

Budgie morning noise – sleeping in on the weekends

It seems pretty common that flock parents struggle with budgie morning noise. Typically it’s a pure joy to hear the flock trilling away, but at the break of dawn after a late night is another thing entirely! Weirdly, even with the addition of the fantastic singing Kevin to the flock, our mornings are still quiet until at least 8am, if not later.

I think that we’re creating a situation that’s conducive to everyone sleeping until a reasonable hour in a couple of ways.

  1. The parakeets’ cage is not in our bedroom. I don’t recommend placing cages in bedrooms for several reasons, one of which is preserving the quality of your sleep. I bet it’s pretty hard to convince an eager parakeet they should sleep a couple more hours if they see you get up to use the bathroom at 6 in the morning. Keeping cages separate from human sleeping quarters buys you a bit of time before they are aware you’re stirring.
  2. We don’t use a Cage Cover, but all of the windows in the bird zone of the house have Blackout Curtains. Not only do the curtains block almost 100% of the light coming in, but they also help us block drafts. I totally recommend using Blackout Curtains, wherever your birds are. This reminds me that I only have blinds in the room we are moving the birds to, and I really need to get on the ball!

These are the only things I can think of that we do to impact the flock and their likelihood of singing in the early morning hours. So far I don’t think we’ve had a single weekend morning where we’ve been woken up by a pack of singing lunatics. Just this morning I woke Toby up at 8:30am.

I’d love to hear some other tips for keeping mornings calm and sleepy! Or does everyone else like being woken up at the crack of dawn on the weekends and I’m just a lazy bones with equally lazy budgies?

New flock order – there will be singing budgies!

For the two plus years when we only had female budgies I wondered what people were talking about when they complained of budgies that sang loudly all day. Toby and Kelly on their own were largely silent, except bouts of screeching and screaming at each other. Now that Kevin is integrated with the flock I finally know the joy of singing budgies!

When we first picked out Kevin at the pet store he was behind Plexiglas so we couldn’t hear him singing. But, we chose him in part because we could visually tell that he was singing his heart out. Upon bringing him home he made zero sounds for the time he was in quarantine, except for some weak flock calling to the girls. It was so sad, even though we played music for him constantly and budgie noises on YouTube, he was just not having any part of it. I think the poor fellow was so terrified all the time it seemed way too risky.

A couple of weeks after coming out of quarantine Kevin decided it was safe enough to try a little song. For a while every afternoon he would sing for a few minutes, and then presumably wait to see if anything came to murder him. Finding that there was no imminent threat, every day he sang more and more.

I love the sound of Kevin’s singing!  At first he was a bit rusty and quiet, and now he’s very warbly and melodic most of the time, and he loves to run through his whole catalogue of sounds.

The best part is that he’s convincing Toby and Kelly that there’s more to vocalization than screeching and flock calls. They all take part in the singing and even though there’s way more noise overall it’s SO much more pleasant. When they are all three singing their best songs it makes me a little bit misty to think they are a happy flock.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that I finally know what people are talking about when they say their flock’s singing rivals whatever is on the television! We were watching a movie last weekend and they sang along with everything and wanted to be the loudest thing in the room. So far it’s new enough to just be absolutely adorable, but I’m sure that will wear off.

When we had just the girls I tried for ages to get them to learn R2 D2 noises from a YouTube video. It was a total non-starter. I’ve tried again a few times since getting Kevin and shockingly, Kelly has picked up a few noises very quickly. I remember when she first came home that she had a lot more sounds than Toby, she even used to make a car alarm noise. But she definitely ended up limiting her range to whatever Toby would reproduce as well, and all the variety was gone in short order.

I couldn’t be happier with the noisy, happy sounds of our flock of three. I want to get some of it recorded but Kevin is still super camera shy and clams up as soon as he sees it come out. Given a few more weeks I’m sure he’ll be fully adapted to having a camera in his face at all times, just like the rest of them.

One other side effect of the singing is that it’s making me rethink moving them to another room. I feel like I might miss out on a lot of the good stuff, and I’m not sure I’m okay with that, even if it’s selfish in some ways. For now I want to enjoy all the singing all the time!

Dreaming about your budgies

Do you ever wake up and realize you’ve been dreaming about your budgies?  I’ve had a few dreams about mine in the past, and they tend to be surreal or disturbing! Here’s my notable budgie dreams.

  • I was in college and living in a dorm. I’m way out of college so that’s pretty weird right there! Toby is living in my dorm room with me, but she lives in a terrarium, and for some unknown reason she has to live under water. The water is gray, and gross, it looks like something a fish wouldn’t even be happy to swim in. Toby is happy as a clam though and as I’m leaving my dorm room I tell her I’ll be back soon!
  • I’m with Toby and Kelly and I’m in a shopping mall, in the middle of winter, and I have to go outside to get into another section of the mall. I don’t have a travel cage or flight harnesses, the birds are just on my shoulders, which is totally freaking me out being in public. In waking life I’m pleased that this strikes me as dangerous even in a dream. The parakeets keep flying off short distances and returning to me and I’m delighted that they are so well-trained (haha). Then before I walk out of the mall I give them a talking to and tell them they have to stay with me and can’t fly off. Upon walking outside they totally stick to me like glue and we make it to the next building!  Clearly a crazy dream, if either one of them actually got outside I know they would be gone in a heartbeat.
  • My last dream was about Kevin. My favorite band is America (they perform the song “Horse with no Name”). In my dream Kevin came walking into the living room on the floor and started singing an American song!  Not like budgie-warbling, he was literally singing the lyrics along with the music. In the dream, like in real life, he doesn’t say any human words at all, and I was in total awe.

I think that was a good silly Kevin dream. I’d love to hear what your budgie dreams have been like? Has anybody ever flown with their flock in a dream?  Please leave a comment or let me know on Facebook!