The primary socialization tools are trust-building and reward.
Budgies are open to building trust when they are most vulnerable.
Hens are vulnerable because they are often reluctant to abandon young, even
in your presence.
Chicks are born helpless and progressively gain protective skills and knowledge.
You can reinforce that your presence is benign, and even rewarding, by
repetition of your actions until they are anticipated and welcome.
Creating the proper setting
When budgies are paired in their breeding cages
As usual, announce your approach by gently knocking at the aviary door,
verbal greetings, stopping at a general spot, slowly approaching a specific
Try to gauge a pair’s receptivity by how busy they seem to be. Approach pairs when they are not very
busy. Talk to them, “how’s your food,
kids. Is Mommy inside? Can I take a
look?” Of course they’ll never tell how
silly this may sound.
If they scramble near or on the bars, offer them a finger at the bars. They may nibble or indicate they want to
come out. I do open the cage at times
and let them fly out. The cocks and
sometimes hens really appreciate the exercise. You do have to stay aware of how long the hen is away from incubating
eggs and sometimes encourage her to find her way back. Generally though, the hens are anxious about
being separated from their eggs and may not even come out. I give them the opportunity and let them
Let them know, by talking and predictable behavior, when you are doling out
treats including nesting food. They may
get so enthusiastic as to land on the cups and your hands while you are setting
If you need to disturb a nesting hen, softly tap the box with a finger and
talk before opening. Some will stay;
others will come out for safety. If she
stays in and you have to check whether nestlings under her are well, slowly put
a finger near her, talking softly. Let
her nibble or peck, touch her gently on the side of her neck and wing. She will shift and let you see under
her. If all is well, leave
peacefully. If there is any dead chick,
When chicks are close to banding age
I will sometimes lift them gently, after properly greeting the mother and
offering her my hand. A rewarding sign
is when she balances her concern for the chicks with enough trust in you to
nibble you without pecking and stays in the nest.
Banding is sometimes disturbing because you are jostling the chick while
trying to get its toes in proper alignment. Life has its imperfections.
When chicks have quills and are beginning to feather.
This is a time when the chicks start getting personality and I begin
Dangle your hand in the box close to the chicks. Begin touching them.
Slowly cup your hand under them. When their body and feet are resting on your
fingers, slowly lift them
out. Bring your two hands together to
loosely cup the chick top and bottom like a nesting box with a side opening.
Gauge the acceptance or distress of the chick initially and after a minute
or two. If it starts to relax, hold it
for an enjoyable few minutes. If it
doesn’t start relaxing, put it back and try another time.
Sometimes holding two chicks at one time will help in their
acceptance. Sometimes they will enjoy
hiding in the warmth of your chest and cupped hands.
When returning them to the nest, try not to jostle them. Keep them in their relaxed position and
slowly lower them into the nest without unbalancing them. Remember that as a minuscule baby creature,
what feels like a slow roll to you might seem like an earthquake to them.
Your goal is to have them accept and even welcome your entry into the nest
box. When socialization is successful,
chicks will look up at you and move to the part of the box nearest you. They will nibble your fingers, and stay in
your cupped fingers with out any hurry to return to the nest floor.
For best results, do this once or twice every day.