First, select the right kind of bird for you. In some cases, you can purchase one that already talks. This will ensure your bird wants to learn more. There are no guarantees if or how much your bird will talk. While they may have the ability, they can choose not to.
Below are some of the most popular talking birds that make excellent pets.
- Quaker Parrots
- African Greys
When training your bird to talk, you must decide what you want them to learn. Some people want their bird to mimic, speak on cue, or even have a conversation. Each type of talking requires a different technique in training.
Here are some tips on each to get you started, and, remember, rewards and treats go a long way.
Mimicry is the easiest to teach birds. Birds don’t understand the meaning of the word, they are just simply repeating the sound. Try a high-pitched and excited voice. Birds sometimes learn faster from children. Repeat the word for 15 minutes twice a day, and you should start to see some results.
- Speaking on Cue
Better suited for larger birds, getting your pet bird to speak on cue is a little bit harder. A good way to start is teaching him that when you wave, he needs to say, “Hi.” Try to wave a few time, and wait for a response. When he responds, reward him with a treat immediately. The first word is always the hardest, and the others will come more naturally.
Perhaps the most difficult, conversations require the bird to comprehend the language. There are two ways to teach him to have a conversation.
- Treat him like a kid: Begin by talking to him slowly with simple, small words – just like a child learns to say “mama” or “papa.” Your bird will start to learn the rhythm of the sentence or phrase before forming words. Keep practicing, and he’ll catch on. Be careful: you will have no control over what your bird will say!
- Use a more formal training method called model/rival: This method requires two people to talk and engage the bird. It starts by the first person showing the second person and the bird a peanut (birds love these treats) and saying something like, “this is a peanut…peanut.” Then, the second person repeats, “peanut,” and receives a peanut as a reward. Soon, the bird will understand that saying the word will get him a treat.
With enough practice, and some great bonding time, your pet bird will be able to speak in no time!
View more articles written by Kristen Sydelko.