If you are a budgie owner, your budgie probably has nothing much but “You” on its mind and so, you are its whole world.
Now, such a bird will be at higher risk of health adversaries and is bound to feel lonely.
This means it may resort to mischief and screaming to seek your attention.
In worst-case scenarios – your budgie may even self-mutilate.
Thankfully, you can avoid all this by simply spending some quality time with your budgie on daily basis.
Also, odds are that you’ll both enjoy your sessions together, laughing and feeling wholesome.
Now you may be wondering
How can you spend quality time with your budgie
What games can you play to keep your budgie happy and healthy
Not to worry because we’ve written down 11 awesome fun games you can play with your budgie in the cage and out of the cage
Let’s get started!
1. Hide and Seek/Peekaboo
Now, there are many ways to play this game.
I’ve heard of birders hiding behind curtains and letting their birds find them, just like you’d play with human toddlers.
Only that sounds too utopian and unrealistic to me unless your bird is a duck.
Also, I’ve reservations about hiding behind a curtain while your bird is free and can fly anywhere while you can’t see it.
So when I say ‘hide and seek’ or ‘Peekaboo’, I mean something as follows:
- Covering your face with your hands or a book and asking “Where is my Birdie?” and then, excitedly saying “Peekaboo” while uncovering your face.
- Having your budgie on your lap, or on a table while you pretend to look for the bird saying “Where is my Birdie?” and then, excitedly saying “Peekaboo”.
- Saying “Peekaboo” whenever your budgie cranes its neck out of its birdhouse or a box.
Once your bird associates “Where is my Birdie?” as a cue, it will start to say “Peekaboo” on its own whenever it comes out of some corner or hidden spot.
You can, of course, call your budgie by its name instead of the word “Birdie”.
While Peekaboo games can work without any toys.
You can get some birdhouses or perches to act as peculiar hiding spots for your budgie.
Examples of such toys include:
Now, this sounds like you running after your budgie but that’ll just scare your bird.
So, by the chase, I refer to you tip-toeing your two fingers on a table or on the floor near your bird and saying “Who’s gonna catch the birdie?” and then gently caressing it with “Gotcha”.
If your bird finds it funny, you can even give a chase to tickle it.
3. Hop and Climb
This one’s my favorite where you let your budgie hop onto your hand and from there on you let it walk on your arms.
Once it reaches above your elbow, put your other hand and let the bird walk on the other arm.
You can let your budgie reach the shoulder where you can either reward it with a cuddle, a neck massage or some food treat.
Certain budgie keepers take this game to next level by letting the bird walk all over them and then other places at home.
Some take a kale or cabbage leaf in their hands and put it under a gentle water stream.
And so, the bird can climb down from the shoulder to take a shower.
But if you have trained your budgie to not bite, you can let it stand on your shoulder and try the next game:
4. Pretend Flight
Now, this works for a young budgie having sturdy footing but not having enough wings to fly away.
All you have to do is put your bird in your hand, on your shoulder or perhaps, your head and then run around with it.
In time you can even train your bird to flap its wings while you run within your apartment as a pretend flight game.
While your speed may not amuse the bird, your excitement certainly will.
So, you must sound happy for your budgie to feel the same way.
5. Word Associations
Parrots in the wild tend to talk a lot because speech is their primary way to communicate regarding predators, resources as well as potential partners.
In fact, parrots of a particular region are reported to have unique dialects and cues to refer to the same objects.
This is precisely why parrots that can vocalize all kinds of sounds are considered more desirable mates.
So, you playing word association games with your budgie isn’t just going to be amusing for the bird, it may as well be necessary for it to feel secure.
Say your budgie has learned to say “Water”.
So, for at least two weeks you should bring water every time it says the word and it will learn to associate the cue for a drink.
You can also use this by talking out loud, saying, “Do you want an APPLE?” and then you bring an apple in front of your budgie and say “Yes, I want APPLE”.
After this, you can offer your budgie an apple by again speaking: “Here’s APPLE.”
In time, your bird will learn enough sentences to have a conversation just like that famous speaking parakeet Disco.
6. Trick and Treat
Now, this game is as vast as your imagination.
It can be anything from your bird twirling around, bending its head or dropping dead on cue.
Since each trick varies, training also depends on what you want your bird to do.
But the premise is that you reward the bird each time it performs well.
For instance, if you want your budgie to twirl then you must say the command “Twirl” and then make your bird spin using a treat.
Then, give your budgie the treat.
Gradually, your bird will learn to twirl on your command and you can slowly replace the food treat with a neck massage.
The same method can be used to teach any trick, including
- Gun cue and drop dead.
- Saying “Whee” whenever hopping.
- Fist bump or high five.
- Toss the ball.
- Fetch or fly to you.
- Do certain dance movements on some specific beat.
- Pretend to be a lion by flapping wings.
- Playing bird basketball games or throwing balls at a ten-pin bird stand.
You can use all kinds of objects from plastic cups at your place to interactive toys like the ones we have listed below
Now, the games so far include you taking out your bird from its cage. But you may be wondering about:
How to Play With Your Budgies In Their Cage?
If you have taught your budgie some tricks, it will respond to most of them in all kinds of settings. But here are some games that you can comfortably play with your bird in its cage:
This will involve you dangling a treat on the upper corner of the cage in a position where your budgie will have to hop and climb against cage bars.
You can even add bird ladders to make it more exciting such as
2. Puzzle Solving
If a bird has to struggle a little to find food, the activity will be both stimulating and healthy.
So, all you have to do is put some treats in small cardboard boxes or some bird puzzle toys and hide them inside cages at different positions on different days.
This way your budgies will automatically be awarded for its struggle.
Here are a few examples of such toys where you can stuff some treats inside:
3. Take The Cage To Places
Since budgies are social and curious little creatures they get easily amused with you taking them to new places.
So, take the cage to places where you are working.
Say, you have a pile of laundry, take the cage with you and then talk to your budgie about you washing your clothes.
If you are sitting outdoors, a change of fresh air will do great for your budgie too.
4. Play Cage
Just like there are baby gyms and play mats, there is also such a thing as bird gyms and play cages.
You can build your own play cage or buy ready-made like the ones we have listed below:
Budgies perceive mirror reflections as other birds.
You can use a mirror to play tricks with the bird inside its cage.
Or, you can add a mirror toy inside the cage.
While you can put any mirror at home as long as it doesn’t have edges.
But I suggest you get a bird-customized mirror as it often comes with a perching spot.
Mirror toys include examples such as
It must be noted that while a budgie sees its reflection as another bird, it’s by no means a replacement for another bird.
Now, that we have dealt with your time with your budgie both within and without a cage, you may be wondering what to give your budgie in its time without you.
This leads me to my next point
How To Keep My Budgie Entertained in its Cage?
Here are a few things to keep your budgie active throughout the day:
1. Winged Companion
Just like a bird cannot replace human social interaction, your presence may not be enough for the bird to have a wholesome social life. And so,
The only thing better than getting one budgie is getting a pair of them.
But here are a few things to consider:
- If you are a new budgie keeper, I recommend you get two male birds. They are usually docile and will keep each other entertained.
- If you can handle raising chicks, then it’s best you get a pair of male and female budgies. If they are compatible, they’ll be a loving couple raising ‘cute’ budgies.
But if they are incompatible, the female might get aggressive and rip feathers off that male budgie. So, you’ll have to keep a close watch on budgie couples.
- If you wanna live in peace, don’t ever get a pair of two female budgies. Even female budgie besties can become territorial every now and then. Such a pair will often step on each other’s tails or perhaps, try to pull the feathers.
2. Perches and Swings
Budgies love to take swings and change perching positions. So, it’s best you get several different swings and perches and put them at varied heights within the cage.
Here are a few examples of swings and perches to look for
3. Foraging and Shredding Toys
Budgies love chewing on objects. So, you can make their food interesting with foraging toys and provide them with shredding toys which are filled with chewable materials.
Additionally, you should provide cuttlebone and mineral blocks to keep your budgie healthy. This will also help them maintain their beaks.
Examples of such toys include:
4. Rearranging the Cage
While budgies are creatures of habit, they find it stimulating to have new arrangements. You can achieve this by changing the positions of food and water containers.
Also, rotating toys every week is standard birding practice.
Can I Kiss My Budgie while Playing?
Just because you can, doesn’t me you should.
You must understand that your budgie and you are not from the same species. Things that your bird carries may be harmful to you and things you carry may be lethal for your bird. And so,
It’d be ironic to get your bird sick because you couldn’t stop your expression of love.
So, I recommend you avoid it as much as you can.
What to Look For When Buying a Bird Toy?
Now, that’s an excellent query. You must make sure:
- There are no sharp edges that can potentially hurt your bird.
- The toy should be sturdy enough to hold the bird’s weight but not as heavy that any accident might hurt the bird much.
- There should be no switches or buttons that your bird can easily chew off.
- There must never be exposed wires that your bird can pull out.
- The material should be non-toxic.
Also, birds appreciate colourful and noise-making toys. So, colourful toys having small bells would be ideal.
How Much Time Should I Spend With My Budgie?
Ideally, as much as you can spare.
But I’d say you make a routine of spending at least 1 hour with your bird. Also, if it’s a solo bird you’d want to keep the bird in a room where you spend most of your time.
If you have more than one bird, they keep each other company. Consequently, you can reduce your interactive time with such birds.
Why Won’t My Budgie Learn Tricks?
Well, bird training requires you to be extremely gentle and patient.
Most birds take longer than 2 weeks to learn a single trick. You can speed up this by:
- Repeating the same tricks over and over.
- Sounding excited while pronouncing your commands.
- Treating the bird with utmost softness.
- Spending more time with the bird.
Can I Make Bird Toys At Home?
You most certainly can.
Just make sure, all materials are bird-friendly, sturdy and without any sharp edges
Birders often make their own bird toys by sticking food to wooden perches, or to pine cones. Some use metal chains or thick threads to sew beads and colourful carton pieces together to make destructible toys.
You can even use clean human baby toys to keep your bird entertained.
I hope this article helped you find ways to play with your budgie and keep things interesting for it.