Hi, What a blessing that you are willing to help these little ones.
We currently have a 5year old yellow face violet male budgie, We call him Apollo. He became blind over time and we think it was started after he bumped his head on a cabinet while in flight. He functions well with the flock and we rotate members of our flock in to his special needs cage for visits for a couple of months and then bring a new pair in. Teddy our special needs hen is with him all of the time and we see them preening each other but they are not so bonded that they do not interact with the other birds. We have a policy to raise young budgies with other budgies up to a year old with hand picked mature males to teach our babies how to be grown up budgies. We also encourage bonding experiences. There are several mature budgies that have grown up with Apollo and they happen to be related to each other from 2 different clutches. Apollo and our yellow face sky dilute, Sunny Sky have a very strong bond and are best buds. I am not sure how much sky comprehends Apollo's eye issues but they still sit together and call for each other when we have one or both out to have people bonding time. We encourage Apollo to hold to our fingers or a dowel/perch that we use as a retrieval stick that all of our birds are taught to come to when they get in an area that is difficult to reach. So simple and yet it is one of the best activities we have had them learn. It is really important now that Apollo is blind. He comes to our finger when ever he feels our finger brush his chest or the back of his legs. We call this "step up" or "step back" when we teach the command. This is associated with being safe and many times our birds will wait for us to bring the stick to them.
With a blind budgie something may cause the bird to panic and fly up like a flock that flies up when in possible danger from noise or action calls the whole flock to action. This is hard for a blind bird to comprehend and so it will fly high and or side ways with no visual signals of what is in the way of its flight path. We have to be very alert with Apollo and watch for signals that he as preparing to fly. Apollo gets antsy and looks around over his shoulders trying to see where to go. Good landings are soft on a chair or into the screen curtains we have over doorways as a precaution to block areas we feel are not safe for budgies to fly. Like kitchen or near an open exterior door. Apollo has had several panic attacks when he lands and is disoriented. This scares me a lot, because it is just short of a seizure response. I immediately hold him safely on my chest with a millet spray. He stays cuddled in my hand until he decides he feels safe enough to climb on one of my fingers and start eating millet. This our signal "I'm OK mom". Most of the time I catch the prep to fly and either cover his wings or encourage him to practice "wingies " like our chicks do by flying in place on a finger or perch until they are ready to fly. First flight. is a celebration like a birthday for us as we watch a youngster on its first flight. I feel the wonder of it all, like That little chick. As I calm down with my brave Apollo, boy, I try to think of the wonder of flight and give thanks that Apollo Has experienced the joy of first flight.
We also Take several members of the flock for training in our round picnic table mosquito net. it hangs over our queen sized bed and safely restricts our chicks or special needs birds. Apollo loves to climb to the top of the net and hang upside down in the very center of the top. We encourage the birds to fly by turning the net like a merry-go-round. We continue until they fly down to a portable perch toy on the bed for a rest. We just throw a clean sheet over the bed spread. and wash as needed.The net gets sprayed and brushed off with the out door hose and sprayed with vinegar.
We check Apollos weight regularly and he stays at a healthy 51 gms. We keep the cage furnishings in the same place and he gets around fine climbing the wires. Our special needs cage has close ladder like wires on the opposite ends and the wider pattern on front and back. He is able to navigate the entire cage and uses the swings and plays with toys. He sleeps more than the other normal sighted budgies but both my husband I have him out daily with and without Sky who flies freely and trained him self to fly to his home perch when he was a young budgie who was acting like a homing pigeon. We make sure Apollo gets plenty of activity. He dances on my fingers and sings along with the flock and the music on the DVD that plays all day for them.
I think it will be important for a blind bird to have soothing consistent sound to augment the safety sounds that a flock makes. We also cover sides, top and back with a light blanket to reduce mess and as a safety support so the budgies do not have to worry about predators above and behind. It is good the 'blind 'tiel will have a companion and help in the adjustment period I would make the cage as big as a normal flight cage for 2 /'tiels. English budgies are not as large as 'tiels but they are similar in many ways. Others should be able to provide guidance in helping your little girl adjust. You may find that she will bond with you very well . Apollo and I have become closer as his blindness progressed. Blessings, Jo Ann
Check with Anne Marie -Wiki leaks, for clicker training suggestions. Watch her Budgie Wiki do his clicker training on her video. It is pretty amazing.