Parakeets might be one of the smaller pets you can keep, but they can provide years of companionship and enjoyment for their owners. When you buy a parakeet or budgie, unless the bird was hand-raised, you are basically purchasing a wild animal. However, birds are very social, extremely intelligent and are fairly easy to hand train if your follow the right steps. Once your parakeet is trained, it can serve as a loving playmate for years to come.
Start by training the bird to perch on your finger. When you first get the bird, give it a few days to get accustomed to its cage. Begin training the bird by putting your hand in the cage, allowing the bird to know your hand is safe.2
After the bird feels comfortable with your hand in its cage, place your finger right above its feet against its belly. Repeat the activity until the bird doesn't feel threatened by this. Once it is comfortable with your finger to serve as a perch, gently try to lift the bird with your finger to encourage it to step onto your finger. As you're doing this, give the bird a command by firmly saying "up." Practice this a few times each day.3
Practice with the bird until it will seamlessly step onto your finger on command. Now the bird knows that your finger is a safe place to perch. Slowly remove the bird from the cage. Do not move quickly or jerk the bird because it will feel threatened and try to fly away. Move gently and calmly. Keep the bird out of its cage for about 20 minutes, then put it back in. Repeat this process a few times each day.4
Once the bird grows more comfortable with you and being outside of its cage, teach the bird to sit on your shoulder. With the bird perched on your finger, raise it up near your shoulder. Using the same methodology described in Step 2, use the verbal command "up" and encourage the bird to step onto your shoulder. Practice this a few times each day.5
When the bird feels safe and comfortable on your shoulder, slowly walk around your house and allow the bird to be accustomed to you moving while it perches on your shoulder. Over time, the bird will prefer to be with you rather than in its cage. Allow the bird to preen your ears, play with jewelry that's on your ears or around your neck and move across your back from one shoulder to the other. If you are wearing a hat or ball cap, place the bird on your head. Hand-trained parakeets love to perch on the bill or brim of your hat.