Parakeets (also known as budgies) are probably one of the most popular types of parrots bought. They are very social, friendly, and cuddly birds. If you have one, you should know. But what makes parakeets more awesome, is their ability to be trained. Parakeet training will increase your birds ability to do tricks, speak words, and etc. Below are a few helpful tips, tricks, and training techniques that we use.
Teaching a Parakeet to Talk
Budgies are capable of learning sounds and words. However, not all budgies will learn to talk or mimic sounds. The chances of your parakeet learning to talk are increased when:
- Your parakeet is a male
- Your parakeet is tame
- Your parakeet is young
- You only have one parakeet
Although these factors help your parakeet to talk, it is not necessarily required. So if you have a female or a group of parakeets, do not lose hope.
Teaching your parakeet to talk will take a bit of time. The end results will be quite rewarding though. Below are the steps you will want to take to teach your parakeet to talk.
How to Speak to your Parakeet
Start off by talking to your bird slowly. Saying words slowly will allow your bird to capture the word and sound as it comes off your tongue. Stick to one word and one word only until your parakeet can say it. Switching words around will result in your parakeet never learning how to talk. Some people recommend using a tape recorder, but I wouldn’t use one unless you want your parakeet to sound like a tape recorded. Voice from real people is the best method. The best thing to do when talking to your bird is to pretend it’s a baby. Talk to the bird like you are teaching a baby how to talk (slow, emphasizing the word, and being repetitive).
How Much Time Should You Spend?
A few minutes a day will not cut it. You need to spend at least 30 minutes to 1 hour a day with your pet bird. Yes, it may be time-consuming, but this is how you will get your bird to talk. On average, it takes around 2 months for a bird to learn a new word, so you need to be committed. After a few words are learned, teaching your parakeet to talk will be easier.
How to Tame a Parakeet
Parakeets are flock birds and should be housed with other parakeets for the most happiness. However, if you do not have multiple parakeets in the enclosure, you will have to play the role of being the flock by keeping your parakeet company most of the day. Parakeets love being cuddled, held, and played with. If your parakeet is untamed and living solo, it will live a miserable and unhappy life with no company. Learning how to tame a parakeet will increase the bondage between you and your bird. Below are the five steps to take to tame your bird.
- Voices & Talking – Start off by talking to your bird daily for a week. Allow your bird to get use to your voice, sounds, and presence.
- Hand Movements – The following week, start putting your hand by the cage and inside the cage. This will allow your bird to get use to your hand movements. If you see your bird still running away from your hand, do it for another week until he is comfortable and less shy.
- Hand Feed – The following week try hand feeding your parakeet so he can relate your hand to food. Birds know they shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them.
- Pet Bird – The week after, keep hand feeding but try to also pet your bird’s tail and work your way up to its chest. You might get a few nips and bites, but it is nothing that will hurt.
- Finger Perch – The final week, you should try getting your bird onto your finger. You can do this by petting your birds chest and then slowly move your fingers towards its feet and push slightly upwards. Normally, birds will get the hint to step onto your finger. Once you have your bird on your finger, spend no more than 5 minutes a day holding him (offering treats). Offering treats will keep your bird calm and relate coming out as a good thing and a fun thing.
After you get your bird out of the enclosure a few times, you can start increasing the time spent outside of its enclosure. Taming your parakeet should take about 1 – 2 months if done correctly. Younger parakeets are easier to tame than adult parakeets.
How to Hand Feed a Parakeet
Below is a video on how to hand feed a parakeet. The 3 steps are:
- Remove food for 1 – 2 hours. Get your parakeet a little hungry.
- Offer food without it being directly in your hand.
- Place the food in your hand and offer it to your bird.
Thought your parakeet was boring? Thing again… Look how many tricks you can teach your parakeet to do with this video. These types of parakeet tricks were taught using a method known as bird clicker training. Tricks can be taught without using a clicker, but I feel that clickers do help.
When starting off, you should pick something nice and easy, something your parakeet won’t struggle with learning. For me, the ‘target’ trick is the easiest parakeet trick to teach. It also benefits other tricks, because once your parakeet learns this trick, you can then use it to guide your bird to do other tricks. Below is a video on how to teach your bird to ‘target’. There is lots of talking for the first half of the video, so just fast forward to 6:55 to get the idea.
Once you get that down, you can move onto another simple trick that involves your parakeet running through paper rolls. You can replace the paper roll with any other tunnel-like feature if you’d like. Remember, use a clicker if you have one. It will help reinforce positive behavior.
Parakeet Training Tips
- Do not try to rush things. Taking things slow will help your parakeet learn better.
- Be consistent with the practices. If you aren’t consistent, you will not see much progress.
- When teaching your bird tricks, you should always offer treats for good and correct behavior. Treats are very important when involving bird clicker training.
There you have it! If you have any other types of parakeet training methods that you use or think works, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.