Do My Keets & Tiels Feel Depressed in Their Life of Captivity?
Budgies in a cage

Do My Keets & Tiels Feel Depressed in Their Life of Captivity?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Captivity is a relative term. I’m not relegated to my home but I still have to pay rent, go to work, pay taxes and perform all those duties that enable me to be a good neighbor and good citizen of the world.

If captivity is all that you know it really captive? We have four budgies, all rescues. We really don’t have the background on any of them but we’ve kept them flighted thus they don’t leave the cage.

They have 3 full spectrum lights on top of their cage on a timer that goes off the 7:20 every morning (turns off at 7″20 every evening) and we do not respect daylight savings time.

3 clamp on light over budgie aviary

When the lights goes out in the morning I’m usually up and will uncover the cage to find that their day has already started.

Although we have xxx male and xxx females, Jam one of the females seems to be an organizer of the flock.

When I watch them in their cage from my desk which is about 8 feet away she’s always giving some sort of direct action.

She’s also best at what I call “helicoptering” the cage is wide enough to 28 inches for them to do small flights but jam well just start flapping in keeper self floating in the middle of the cage while shouting out orders like a drill sergeant

“Toast stay away I’m not interested in your shenanigans today I don’t want to have sex do something else”

“Eggs go over the cage wall and keep trying to tell on that toy until you can rip it off”

“Bacon you’re looking better today but wanted you just stay there and watch all of us”

“I’m going to sit here in the millet holder so I can be the first one to chow down on millet”

And so it goes. I call the my “singing flowers” they are always making fun little noises and really don’t seem to notice whatever noise we have on be it music or television

For reasons at many levels we just haven’t taken the time to start from the beginning clipping their wings flight training and socializing them.

It’s been more than a year now they’ve existed as a flock in their own little caged universe and I’ve interacted with a lot of birds – they seem happy.

They always have a project that they’re working on be at destroying a wooden shelf, ripping the newest toy apart for taking turns enjoying a lettuce bath.

So perhaps at some point in the future, we will pluck them out of the cage clipped their wings and begin to bring them into the family but until then they seem pretty happy to me

We also had a solitary female Senegal who we rescued. 

She spent 22 hours a day in a cage for more than seven years with a caregiver bringing her out an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.

She was in a rescue with birds of all sizes but didn’t care for the noise of the larger birds so she spent her time isolated in a smaller cage in the room was smaller birds.

She had her wings clipped before she ever fledged and never experienced flight.

For the year and a half in our home, she’s never in her cage one were there and less is birdie bed time.

For eight or nine months a year she comes to work every day where she’s relegated to her shop cage because she’s fully flighted we can take the chance of her escaping with the door opening in our busy little store.

She enjoys her cage during the day and will begin to Bob her head if she likes a particular song we have on the stereo.

The thing that makes her unhappy is me not being there. She tolerates my wife Catherine but Catherine brings her no joy.

I am working with Peaches, training her to fly to me under various circumstances.

If I come home and opened the door and she doesn’t come out I leave her there although I can tell by her body language she really wants me to reach in and scratch the top of her head which I usually do.

I’ll take a seat at my desk with a high back office chair and usually within a few minutes shall fly over easily landing on the headrest.

From there shall make it down one of my arms to land on my main desk or side desk where I have all sorts of activities for her to engage in.

Flinging business cards, foraging on junk mail. Looking for treats hidden among all these paper things one will find on a desk.

It’s only when she starts headbutting the other bird’s reflection of the monitor of the desk will I shoo her away.

She is now learned to take refuse on top of the monitor was quite boring social eventually go back to her cage, have a snack returned to my desk – rinse and repeat.

In the mornings she’s free to follow me around the apartment. Popcorn a rescued cockatiel that we had for three and half years (having died of cancer) was great at flying from room to room knowing where to land in each environment.

Peaches is not so good a lander and so if I’m going into a room that she is still not good at like the kitchen I’ll bring a with me and let her fly the 12 or 24 inches or so to the play stand that we have on the kitchen table.

If not shall fly around in land on top of the refrigerator of the decorative baskets we have on top of the cabinets making it harder to get down without stressing her out – I usually get something tall and come to her.

I feel bad for the six or seven hours she has been suspended in the cage alone in the winter when it’s too cold to transport back and forth to work but I think all the out-of-the-cage time that she gets makes up for that and overall I think she too is a happy bird

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