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Mr. Smith And The Other One

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#1 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:26 AM

I know one of these budgies - I don't know which one - is named Mr. Smith. Right now I'm calling the other one The Other One.

I babysat these birds once about two years ago, but they are back and might be staying. They belong to DH's Nan, who is looking at going into a nursing home and is in any case in the hospital at the moment.

She has been very careful to always feed/water the birds (she has Parkinsons and I think getting out to their cage and putting seed in it is sometimes an afternoon's activity...) but they haven't had much interaction aside from with each other, or any toys, just a perch and food and each other.

And their cage is aaaaamazingly filthy.

They are living on our balcony (which is covered and on the south wall, so not in blazing sun but bright) and seem okay out there, as they lived outside on her veranda anyway. Last time we had them in the house, but that was before we had cats.

I only watched them for a few days before. Is there anything I have to know beyond obvious birds-need-water-and-food type stuff? I've never had any type of pet bird.

Is it possible to tame them if they are adults and wild-ish? They aren't particularly tame even for the person they know, they don't come out of their cage ever or perch on fingers or anything like that.

And how do I clean this cage? sick.gif

#2 MintyBiscuit

Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:24 AM

It's been a while since I owned birds, but cleaning the cage shouldn't be too bad. You should be able to pull the bottom tray part out and give it a good scrub and put down new paper or grit sheet. Or if it's really, really bad, maybe buy a new cage. Is the filth on the wire sides and stuff too?

Taming probably isn't going to happen. I never tried, but I always heard with budgies that you need to train the from babies or it's not going to happen. Someone else might be able to give you some pointers though.

If you can get some natural perches they'll be great rather than just the store bought ones. Just some sticks you pick up, even with some leaves and stuff attached. They'll be able to strip the twigs and play that way.

Have you got a cover for them? Most birds I've had like to be covered at night whether they live inside or outside. We always used to have a little spray bottle of water for really hot days to give them a little spray. I know you live in an apartment, but is there anywhere inside the cats can't get to where you can put them at night? Summer wouldn't be too bad, but I know from when I lived out near where you are that winter gets really cold.

You can pick up some toys pretty cheaply. Most birds I've had have loved mirrors and bells. They might take a while to get used to it if they've never had it, but it can't hurt to try.

#3 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:57 AM

We may have to buy a new cage. I'm not sure it has a tray that's seperate from the rest and I'm kind of afraid of breaking it.

It doesn't get real cold here. There are wild galahs and lorikeets locally and they seem okay? I dunno. These two never lived inside except for the couple of days they were here, DH laughed at me the last time we brought them in because I'm used to parakeets being inside pets (it gets REAL cold back home) and he said "...budgies are Australian...?" and treated me like a crazy person.

We also, uh, don't have heat. Of any kind. Because I am never cold here. So maybe  I'm skewed? I don't want to hurt them though.

I'll get them some sticks. Are there any kinds I should/shouldn't get? The last thing I want to do is give his Nan's budgies a poisonous stick.

#4 JustBeige

Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:20 AM

LDD, budgies are amazingly resilient little birds (not like canaries or finches) however if they do get sick they do usually pass really quickly

They will survive outside if they are sheltered from bad heat and coldness.  

Cover them over at night with a couple of towels and make sure the towel covers all the sides. - this will help stop them singing at sparrowfart.   In winter add a heavier cover.

Food - commercial budgie food is great and the best.  Get trill or even the coles brand one as it has quite a good mix of vitamins etc,    They also love some fruits - apples, peas, corn etc.  Do NOT give them lettuce particularly iceberg as they get the squirts and it its too bad it can kill them,   Also a cuttle fish bone is vitally important for them.   Also millet stalks.  Just not too many as it makes them fat.

Paired budgies will not tame to your hand.  The best you can hope for is not freaking out when you change their food and water.  They do like small toys.  

Clean natural branches (australian natives) are also good for keeping beaks and claws trimmed.  They also love love love to climb.  As they are paired, if there is a mirror in the cage take it out.  It makes them focus on the mirror and they seem to become a bit brain dead and not focussing on the world around them I have found.

Vitamins - must.  You can get a few that you mix with water.  My birds hate it, so you can actually just sprinkle it over their seed.  It may take them awhile to get used to  but they will eat it.

Worming - must.  Get one that you add to their water.  easiest thing to do.     All my birds love the Worm-Enda Plus.

Cages - Biggest possible.  They do like to fly.   and yes they should be kept clean (just dont look at my 3)  The best way to do that is to add newspaper UNDER the grate in the bottom.

Do you have boys or girls???

PM me if you want any more info.  
I have had budgies all my life and also now have parrots, finches and canaries.

Oh, they really do love company, so the more time you spend interacting around them the better.

Far out - most importantly.  Do NOT feed them wet seed.   They do like it wet but it starts to go off after a few hours and if you dont remove it, it can turn rancid really quickly and kill them.

Edited by JustBeige, 07 December 2012 - 10:24 AM.

#5 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:44 AM

They have a box of Trill and a bag of Coles'. Will probably last us a while.

They've never had fruit/millet/nuts/cuttlefish bone (the food is grit-added) as far as I know, at least not for years. I am a bit scared - having never had birds maybe paranoid is the right word - that any sudden change at this stage of the game and they'll die. Is there a way to introduce that stuff without traumatizing them or me?

How do you sex a budgie? (first person to say "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker" is getting smacked)

I do not think anyone really knows their sex. Mr. Smith is called that but I have no particular faith he's male.

They're both blue. One is gray blue and the other brighter blue. That probably doesn't matter for gender at all, does it?

This is the picture  of the exact birdcage they've lived in several years, except its not bright yellow. Just a pic I found online, but the same exact looking thingIt says transport cage? My DH has already mentioned getting them a nicer cage at some point if we keep them but am I to conclude this is way too small for 24/7 living for two birds?

EDIT to add: is it safe to give them tomato? I have a bunch of extra tomatoes.

Edited by la di dah, 07 December 2012 - 11:24 AM.

#6 Oriental lily

Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:16 PM

With  budgies the bigger the cage the better.

That cage is to small for one budgie, cruel for two.

If they were free range and spent the majority of the  time outside in a safe enclosed area it might be passable.

But for two birds full time?


So a new cage four times ( or larger) that size is needed.

Budgies don't need grit but they love to shred natural branches.
Heaps of fruit and veggies.

I currently have a large aviary with six budgies ( used to have more but don't have the time so slowly getting new homes)  and I live in colder Melbourne.

They are perfectly fine in both the heat and cold as long as they have heaps of shade and protection from direct winds.

Budgies are sweet little birds with real character to them. You will be able to ame them with enough interaction and time.

I recently gave two adult boys to my nieces and they are now sitting on fingers and becoming more and more friendly.

#7 Oriental lily

Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:24 PM

Tomatoes are fine.

Mine go giddy over Brocolli

#8 qak

Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:33 PM

I think boy budgies have a blue cere (bit above the beak)?

#9 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:39 PM

I don't think these two would know what to do with a big cage. I've gone out and checked on them a couple times and they mostly just sit. They can't walk on the bottom of the cage. They have two perches but I've only seen them on the higher one.

They move around and flutter if I come near, completely unimpressed with me. Don't even make much noise, I remember more chirping last time.

I do think his Nan cares about them, but I don't know that she's up to taking care of them, or from the sound of it ever really knew how to? I think budgies and little inexpensive cage pets don't always come with good instructions?

Ironically a bigger aviary would have been easier though, I think, as far as less poop/seed debris per inch.

If I were able to scratch up money for a bigger aviary... how would I move them? Laugh if you want but they hate me, are scared spitless of me, and have never really been out of the cage. I'm not sure of how to move them.

I'm off to find a stick to chew/perch on and chop up tomatoes. I expect that even if I do, they will continue to hate me. lol

#10 Kay1

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:10 PM

Don't give them banana or avocado. Its toxic.

Mine used to love some wet leafy spinach (or basil was a fav) put through the top of the cage and pegged there. Bath and snack in one. Broccoli is a good one to start with as it has little 'seeds'. I wouldn't give tomato but I'm not sure about that one.

Its highly unlikely they'll take to eating this stuff at this late stage anyway and the leafy bath may terrif them if not introduced gradually.

While they're settling in or when you move them to a new cage a towel or blanket covering three sides of the cage will help them feel more secure.

#11 Kay1

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:11 PM

They sound stressed. I'd do the towel/blanket thing now to help them settle in.

#12 Kay1

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:14 PM

Things to look for....are their poos normal (eg a blob of black with a smudge of white around it), shaped or splattery? If they have watery poos they may be unwell. Watch them from a distance and see if their tails bob when they breathe....although with another bird around they'd hide this as much as possible.

Mine used to looooove oats mixed in with their food, whole or rolled.

Edited by Kay1, 07 December 2012 - 01:14 PM.

#13 Oriental lily

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:21 PM

I personally think the majority of caged birds are living a horrid life.

Before I give away or sell my birds I want to know exactly what sort of way the are going to care for them.
I don't think your dhs nan should have them. They need exercise and a varied diet.
Not just to sit there and given seed.

I don't think pet shops should sell birds or small animals. Proper breeders of budgies would not have approved that cage for two birds.

The same for goldfish in a bowl and Siamese fighting fish in a jar.

Because an animal can ' survive' ( for a limited time) does not make them healthy or happy.

Lah di dah those birds will need a time of adjustment to a larger cage but they wil thrive once they get one.

And be more alert, happy and healthy.

#14 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 07/12/2012, 02:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Things to look for....are their poos normal (eg a blob of black with a smudge of white around it), shaped or splattery? If they have watery poos they may be unwell. Watch them from a distance and see if their tails bob when they breathe....although with another bird around they'd hide this as much as possible.

Mine used to looooove oats mixed in with their food, whole or rolled.

The steely gray-blue one tail-jitters whenever I come near (I thought it was doing it all day) but if I hide inside and look through the window before it notices, it doesn't seem to be doing it all the time but it starts again when it sees me. The brighter blue one seems calmer even when I'm there.

I don't mean to be a d*ck to them. I'm not trying to be.

If I put a towel around three sides of the cage but leave the front and the top, they'll get enough air circulation/light? As they are they've got a wall behind them on one side and on part of another and a roof overhead so I was kind of worried about them getting too warm or not enough air if I throw a towel around it on top of that. And I wanted to be able to see in without shuffling it around because that wigs them out too.

I haven't looked at their poo yet but honestly I'm not sure how I'd know what's new poo vs. Aged Relic Poo.

I didn't set out to get two budgies, or anything, or even impulsively buy petstore ones. I've never had pets without fur on. I appreciate the help. I know I sound like a bit of a moron.

#15 JustBeige

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:47 PM

LDD, do you have any idea how old they are?   If they are a bit older then the stress can knock them around some too.  Budgies usually only live till about 8(ish)

They will sit very quiet if stressed and the best thing you can do is keep them quiet and warm with clean water and fresh seed.  

Yes those cages are really only meant for travelling or only one bird.  A bigger one is much better.   I have found both my cages online and they are easy peasy to put together.

Changing cages.  I found opening the door on both cages and putting them right next to each other (no gaps) can work without stressing them heaps.  Sometimes you have to tilt the smaller one so they fly out the 'opening'.

You can catch them with your hand - careful they can bite - though dont do this until they have settled in better.

ETA: no you arent being a d*ck to them, you definitely do care about them or you wouldnt be asking all the questions.

I just did a very quick google and found this http://www.budgie-info.com/budgie-care.html

I think its got some pretty good advice.

Edited by JustBeige, 07 December 2012 - 02:52 PM.

#16 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:54 PM

QUOTE (JustBeige @ 07/12/2012, 03:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
LDD, do you have any idea how old they are?   If they are a bit older then the stress can knock them around some too.  Budgies usually only live till about 8(ish)

DH has no idea.

She had them when I moved out here in 2010 but I don't know how long she'd had them before that. I suspect at least a couple years.

Honestly she doesn't have very long and I'd like if the budgies hung in there at least as long as she does because I'll feel awful for her if they go. She doesn't have, like, a lot going on in life.

#17 JustBeige

Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:03 PM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 07/12/2012, 03:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
DH has no idea.

She had them when I moved out here in 2010 but I don't know how long she'd had them before that. I suspect at least a couple years.

Honestly she doesn't have very long and I'd like if the budgies hung in there at least as long as she does because I'll feel awful for her if they go. She doesn't have, like, a lot going on in life.

I do know what you mean.  These little guys can become very precious, particularly to the elderly.

So lets guess that they are 4-5?  In that case you treat them like an elderly dog.  Lots of good food, warmth is a must and a stress free environment.

Can you bring them in at night for the moment?  Maybe put them on a hook up high so the cats cant get to them and make sure they are covered.

I also recommend a cage bottom cover if you are sticking with the little cage for the short term - it catches all the seeds, as they can be messy buggers too.

Oh and make sure you whistle and talk to them.  They can be very chatty and love to sing.

ETA:  qak is right.  Boys usually have blue ceres (noses) and girls have pink, though you can get brown/cream colours too for girls.

Edited by JustBeige, 07 December 2012 - 03:05 PM.

#18 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:21 PM

One's ceres is very blue, the other slightly blue at the very top but also greyish tan and sort of built up looking? Like it has more depth to it iykwim.

#19 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:32 PM

Boy is on left, girl is on right.

I love budgies, I had them as a kid. Mine had a large cage for sleeping, eating, drinking, etc - but they came out of the cage for a zoom around every day. They were pretty fiesty - my white girl (who was seriously demented) once caught a Russian Blue. Yes, the budgie caught the cat - she was a mean little bugger.

Newspaper lining is your friend, but you can get sandpaper or shell grit paper as a lining, and that's even better.

I had a few budgies drop in on me from the wild, so I guess they were probably pets once - I found that ignoring them, but letting them just listen in to what was happening seemed to keep them happy enough. They did get tame enough to handle eventually.

Oh, and the traditional method for catching an escapee is a teatowel dropped over them - scooped up, then put back in the cage, and watch out for the beak being applied to the web between your fingers, it hurts like nothing else on earth.

#20 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:43 PM

Looking at pictures online I think I have a definite boy and likely a girl.

Thanks for the link, JustBeige. I have some studying to do.

I have given them a branch.

DH came home and whistled for them/at them and they liked that a lot. I can't whistle, but I think I shall make many obnoxious squeaking noises at them as they seem to like it.

These are not fiesty budgies. They seem to be maybe settling though. They don't like the cage being moved and I don't blame them really.

I'd like to make one positive change every day or so. They freaked about the branch, not fans at all so far, it's new and its scary and I'm horrible. I don't want to really give them a bath, a bunch of food, a water additive, a new toy, etc. all in one day because they're already uneasy and I don't want them to shake to bits.

#21 Kay1

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:44 PM

As they are they've got a wall behind them on one side and on part of another and a roof overhead so I was kind of worried about them getting too warm or not enough air if I throw a towel around it on top of that.

Well that sounds pretty good. As long as they're not all exposed on all sides IYKWIM? I had a budgie which my parents took over after looking after him for me for a month (they didn't want to part with him) and I would budgie sit him when they went away. I have a cat too. I had one of those cage stands and would do the towel thing because he'd be in the middle of the kitchen so while he was settling in I'd keep him partially covered.

#22 Kay1

Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:47 PM

I don't want to really give them a bath, a bunch of food, a water additive, a new toy, etc. all in one day because they're already uneasy and I don't want them to shake to bits.

Definitely. Introduce a new thing slowly and by first placing it on the floor of the cage for a day or two (not above them as that's more threatening). Also the higher the cage is placed generally the happier they will feel. Your head height is perfect.

#23 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:14 PM

They used to live on top of a patio chair, not very high up at all. They're on top of the (insulated, not hot to the touch) water heater now and seem to like it up there more.

Looking at that website I think one is a cobalt and one's a mauve or one's a mauve and the other's a grey.

I really really don't want to bring them inside if I don't have to. One of the cats especially is quite terrible. She spent most of the morning staring out the balcony and vibrating with eagerness/trying to coax me into opening the door. She has never been outside but has killed tons of roaches and skinks and tried to teach the other cat to hunt. He's very bad/a slug, but she's a menace.

I would never let her outside to kill birds and I definitely don't want her inside killing/freaking out birds.

#24 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:40 PM

Sounds like keeping little Miss Grue apart from the feathered guests is a good idea then.

My psycho budgie didn't mind our pet cats. They soon learned not to put their paws (or any other parts of their anatomy) into her cage... if they wanted to keep it intact. She learnt these skills from a cockatoo while we were holidaying at a caravan park. I cannot say I've ever met another budgie who was quite so um, different. Mind you, her partner in crime (a gorgeous yellow girl) used to do the 'broken wing - come chase me' thing, to lure unsuspecting cats over to the cage. And yes, then psycho B would swoop down on them with a mad chirp and a very sharp beak.

The cats usually fell for this exactly once.......

So, dare I say it, where are our pictures?????

#25 la di dah

Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:47 PM

Nimbus heard the whistling, looked to see if Grue was handling it, they whistled again and he got wigged out and walked away and started pointedly washing himself leaving it to her.

I will take pics tomorrow. I didn't get any today and they're asleep now in the dark and I don't wanna flash-camera them.

They haven't tried to bite me at all they just flutter around and peep.

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