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How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Exchange information about how to teach specific tricks to parrots. Most of these techniques should apply to all bird species. Share your success stories.

How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby Melody » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:58 pm

Melody, my budgie :budgie: is a white melopsitticus undulatus opens cage doors. She figured this one out herself( I do not know why) but I managed to teach it to my other bird, Harmony. He took about 2 months to catch on.
Put your bird at the cage base(WARNING: Only if your birdie is okay with you handling it. If you haven't hand tamed your bird yet, then don't do this. It could make your bird develop a phobia of hands( what would you call that!? Handiphobism?!?) This happened to Melody when I was teaching her to jump to my shoulder about 2 years ago. She would run away or quickly swing into her cage.) After that, gently hold your bird's head and tip it upwards, opening the cage door(this is for the sliding cage door ones, like the ones for budgies.) If it is the ones with the cage doors that swing out, let your bird be able to see you push the cage door open, and eventually, it will push the cage door open yourself. If they do it, give them a reward. Eventually, the bird will catch on.
Other way: (I used this with Melody to teach her to tightrope and climb down stairs) Put the food outside the cage. Then purposely open the cage a few times every day and leave the bird alone. Melody uses this way( best suiting her "I'll learn it quick if you give me stuff for it!" type attitude) If this doesn't work, do feed your bird, but then repeat the steps. The bird will figure out it needs to do that if it wants to be fed.
Basically, you need to show your bird how to do it, and then, if it is really not catching on, then gently hold them and use their body to show them. I cannot guarantee results, but all three times I tried teaching my parakeets(other two died :cry: Melody is the last one alive) It succeeded.
BTW: Melody opened a number lock onceI have no idea why.
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby marie83 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:36 am

I don't really get the point, personally if my birds are in their cages then it is for their own safety so I wouldn't want any of them to be able to let themselves out.

I have had birds that have taught themselves to get out and that scared the crap out of me- particularly Ollie cuz I had no idea how he was doing it at the time.
So many things that could have happened- what if I hadn't closed all the windows before I went out? What if he bit the cable on the vacuum because I hadn't put it away whilst I nipped to the toilet? What if he had landed on Harlies cage and that was the one time she decided she might bite his toes? Many many more reasons as to why it isn't a good idea, even for people with dedicated bird rooms that are fully proofed there may be risks.
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby Pajarita » Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:52 am

Ditto, what a self-defeating and potentially dangerous thing to teach to a bird!
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby Melody » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:07 pm

Melody can't fly, and she hates the kitchen, so all she does is climb up to the top of her cage(she has a cage top circus) and go eat from her food bin. However, I did not teach her, she just randomly does it herself. She sometimes does follow me around if she wants attention, and I let her do it because she never does anything dangerous. She also does it because which bird would chose to be in the cage? Melody's cage is a bit small as well, and the lock that comes with it is useless, and she can easily remove it. (Right now, she just walked over from her cage to here, watching me type.)
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby Melody » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:09 pm

Thanks for telling me though! Melody never bites any electric thing and squawks if your near her, so no one steps on her. She also can't be un-taught this trick. (It helps on vacations, she can be left alone.)
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby marie83 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:57 am

Hi melody,

Don't take this the wrong way but with parrots you need to expect the unexpected. Harlie is the most predictable bird ever in that if Ollie ever goes near her cage she will move right into the middle away from the sides. I am still prepared though just in case one day she might get some more guts and actually try to scare him off.

Also plenty of people think their bird doesn't or cannot physically fly. Many of those have lost their beloved pet because one day the bird does fly, even with clipped wings.
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby Wolf » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:30 am

Unfortunately, I must agree with what the others are telling you. There are so many posts here and on other forums where other people have lost their birds due to taking them outside without a harness or a transport cage. All it takes for this to happen is for their to be a sudden gust of wind that throws the bird off balance or even a good scare can cause a clipped bird to flap hard enough to fly away. And this brings us to the point that if your clipped bird escapes you will be extremely lucky to ever recover her. This is because without her primary means of survival, flight, she is unable to escape from predators. Since there are no harnesses made small enough for a budgie this leave you with only one safe option for taking your bird places with you and that is a small cage. Please understand that we are saying these things to help you to protect your bird. It would be a terrible tragedy for you to lose your friend in this manner.
Also, I want to say again that kitchens are not a good place for birds to be, whether or not they are in a cage.
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby Pajarita » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:09 am

They should also never be left alone and loose in a human home UNLESS they are in a room fitted for them and not for humans (no furniture, safe windows, lots of perches, food and water and nothing else)
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby DanaandPod » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:55 pm

Pajarita wrote:Ditto, what a self-defeating and potentially dangerous thing to teach to a bird!
Yea, I have worried about Pod learning...luckily he hasn't had the desire...
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Re: How to teach your bird to open cage doors

Postby TooLove » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:55 pm

If my bird EVER learned to do this I would buy a new cage with different latches that very day. There are far too many hazards around a house for an unsupervised bird to get in to without you knowing. Trust me, it is not fun to deal with electrocuted birds. The latches on my cockatoo's cage in the US are very simple, and it's hard to see if they aren't done from a distance. There's been a few times that I haven't physically checked and came home to an empty cage (because he's learned he can climb out of them and will always check to see if they are latched) and a bird in an entirely different room, pillows demolished, etc. Luckily his cage in Canada has more secure latches, and this frustrates him to no end!
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