Do Budgies Like to Be Touched?

Budgie sitting on a human hand

Don’t worry if your budgies don’t let you stroke or cuddle them. 

Budgies don’t typically like to be touched. Some budgies might occasionally ask for a head scratch from their human, but they will want contact only on their terms! You shouldn’t attempt to stroke a budgie like a puppy, even if they are hand-reared. They will not like it, and they may get aggressive if you refuse to listen to their warnings. 

Of course, I understand that you want to have a great relationship with your bird. But there are ways to have a connection with a budgie that don’t involve annoying them.

This article will tell you more about handling your bird respectfully, so you can build trust and avoid getting bitten or scratched!

Why Budgies Don’t Like It When You Touch Them

Touch is essential for mammals. From humans to dogs to elephants to horses, mothers hold or lick their young to comfort and take care of them. So it’s totally normal that we associate touch with love. 

But birds are not mammals. 

Budgie parents do not excessively touch their young, so being stroked feels more invasive to budgies. They don’t want to be groped by our big, clumsy hands, and that’s fair enough! That doesn’t mean they aren’t affectionate, though. 

A budgie might let you scratch their head occasionally. If a budgie likes you, they might land on you and press their head against your neck.

This is a ‘budgie cuddle.’ The best response is to stay quiet and still, and enjoy your bird’s trust. 

Don’t touch them too much, or they might not come back for a cuddle any time soon. 

Where Should You Not Touch Budgies? 

A gentle head or neck scratch is sometimes okay, but only if your budgie says so! Some budgies simply do not like to be touched, whereas others will ask for a bit of help with grooming. 

You shouldn’t stroke your budgie’s back because this is associated with mating. Some budgies will attack you for doing that, whereas others might decide you are now bonded for life.

That’s all well and good until your bird starts being jealous and aggressive with other people for getting too close to you. 

Don’t touch your budgie anywhere that they don’t like. Some people clip their birds’ wings so that they can stroke them all over. This is a seriously misguided attempt to train a budgie, and it’s cruel.

If your bird doesn’t want you to touch them, the solution isn’t to remove their ability to get away from you. 

How to Pet a Budgie

If you want to pet your budgie, you need to build trust first. 

It might take several weeks or even months before your budgie is comfortable enough to let you touch them. First, they need to get used to you when you’re near the cage. 

Next, you should train them to walk onto your finger. This will take treats, patience, and time. Start by letting them eat out of your hand, from their perch.

Then you can slowly move your hand farther away while holding your finger next to their perch. In time, they might choose to step over and onto your finger to reach the food in your other hand. 

Once your bird is comfortable on your finger, you can try moving very slowly, so they get used to staying on your finger as you take them from the cage. Don’t rush this, or you’ll go back to square one!

Finally, you can gently touch them on the back of the head. If your budgie moves away from you, hisses, or seems afraid in any way, just stop.

Maybe they will let you touch them in time. Maybe they won’t. 

Kissing Your Budgie 

Some budgies will come over and practically beg for a kiss. They will put their beaks right up to your mouth, and it can be hard to resist!

Just be aware that human saliva has bacteria that can be dangerous for birds. So, if you do give them a little kiss on the beak, you’ll need to keep your mouth firmly closed and make sure the kiss is completely dry. 

You shouldn’t kiss them if you are wearing any kind of lipstick because the ingredients might be toxic for birds. 

FAQs 

Do budgies like getting their bellies rubbed?

I have never heard of a budgie that likes getting their belly rubbed. I don’t want to speak categorically for every bird because there are always some surprising exceptions to the rules. 

Do budgies like to be sprayed with water? 

Some budgies like being sprayed with a fine mist, particularly when they are molting. This can help them shed dead skin and rehydrate. To do this properly, put lukewarm water in a spray bottle.

Start by spraying quite far from your budgie, so that only a small amount of mist touches them. If they don’t move, you can try to bring the bottle a bit closer. Once your budgie has had enough and moves away, stop spraying. 

Do budgies like being blown on? 

Some birds like being gently blown on as a sign of affection. They will do it to other birds, as well as to humans they trust. Budgies aren’t known for this behavior, which is more associated with larger birds like conures. 

Do budgies like to be held? 

Budgies don’t like being held. Sometimes you or a vet will have to hold them to give them medicine or treatment.

This is much easier if your bird has been hand-reared and is completely comfortable with human hands. If not, your vet can advise you on how to proceed. 

Final Thoughts 

Some budgies will never like to be touched, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you are a bad pet owner or that they have anything against you. It’s just not in a bird’s nature to want to get petted or stroked. 

If your bird seems to like a gentle scratch on the back of the head, there’s no reason not to do so. Don’t stroke them on their backs, though, and make sure you take things slowly. 

If your bird decides to move away from you, it’s best to let them. You’ll build trust with your pet birds much faster by respecting their decisions! 

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