Bird Training: How to Train a Parakeet

How to Train a Parakeet

How to Train a Parakeet

Parakeets are formally known as budgie or budgerigar. Considered the most popular pet parrot species, they are also known as Shell Parakeets. These are common birds found in pet shops in green and blue colors. In Latin, they are known by their scientific name Melopsittacus undulates, meaning “songbird with wavy lines,” a perfect description of this beautiful bird.

They are medium-sized birds with a size range of 6 to 7 inches. They have a beak with a black tip and few black wavy strips on their feathers. A cere on the top of their beak differentiates between male and female parakeets—female parakeets have beige or pink cere, and the former have it blue.

Parakeets are native to Australian grasslands, where they are found in large flocks. They mainly breed in the rainy season because food and water are plentiful. They are perfect gifts for kids and people who love to wake up to the chirping of birds.

How to Train a Parakeet

A parakeet is ready to be a pet when it is 8-9 weeks old. But in the beginning, it will behave as if it is in the wild—not responding to commands, foraging for its food, etc. But many keepers will be interested in knowing how they can train them to play with them and provide them a comfortable environment.

Initially, the bird would hesitate as it is new to the environment and would take time to adjust to the new place. Some would like to teach them so that they won’t bite, others want to hand train them, yet others will be interested in training them to talk.

But training a bird takes a little time. It may not respond to your activities in the beginning, but after a while, it starts to follow your actions and words. It is easy to train a parakeet when it’s a baby. Parakeets aged below 16-18 weeks are considered baby parakeets and have no trouble adjusting to humans.

So the question that arises is, how to train a parakeet? A few simple steps can help you train a parakeet.

Step 1: Let Parakeet Acclimatize to the New Environment

Start by taking your bird home; let it explore its cage to get accustomed to the new habitat. Try to keep the cage in a quiet place so it won’t get disturbed, as parakeets love a quiet and peaceful environment. Leave the bird in the cage and give occasional visits as parakeets get anxious when are left alone. Let it settle for a day or two.

If required, trim its wings to prevent it from flying, but worry not about the wings, it will grow again sooner. Especially if you are taking your pet in an outer environment, trimming wings will not let them fly high, beyond your reach.

Step 2: Get the Parakeet Out of the Cage

Open the cage when it’s a quiet time of the day, and there is no interruption expected. If the parakeet came out by itself, that is a good sign. If it hesitates to come out, cover your hand with the towel and let the bird sit over it. If still, it won’t move, put the towel on the little bird and try to get the bird out of it, as it will think that the towel is grabbing him, not the hand.

The bird may flutter around but do not garb it hard—parakeets have small hollow bones that can crack easily. Get it to a small space where it is easy for you to handle it—a place where it won’t fly away from you. Once you get it to a place like that, try to loosen the towel. If it flies away, put the towel back on them and repeat the process. It will help them to get used to your hand. Keep on repeating this process unless it won’t fly away.

Step 3: Try Some Hand Training (Finger Training)

Try to finger train it, but if you are too afraid of bites, you can use a wooden perch for the training purpose. Once you get the perch, put it under the bird’s feet and release it from the towel. If it flies away from you, throw the towel again on it, gently grab it, and repeat the above step.  It may take time before it gets adjusted to the idea of what you are doing.

After 6-7 attempts, it will understand and start putting its feet on the perch. Once it gets settled on the perch without flying away, appreciate the pet with good gestures, high tone appreciation words, and treats. It doesn’t understand your sentences but can comprehend the gesture and would try to do better—happy parakeet shows some particular body language like sitting up straight, happy tail wig, and fluff feathers.

Step 4: Help Parakeet Taking Steps

When it starts sitting on your finger or wooden perch, put another perch or finger onto its tummy and keep on saying “step up.” Keep on repeating that word until it put his feet on the other finger or perch. Once done, repeat on putting next perch or finger and continue making ladder up motion. Keep praising it for its efforts as parakeets respond to laudatory gestures.

In the end, give it a head rub or cuddle for all that it struggled for. Try to keep these activities to a short period; the parakeet is a sleepy bird, too much exercise can lead to lousy mode and eventually develop biting habits.

As they say, repetition is the key to success. Keep on repeating this exercise for 1-2 weeks, unless it recognizes your hands and won’t hesitate to get out of the cage.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Step 5: Train Parakeet to Stop Biting

Birds usually bite when they are afraid, tired, anxious, or jealous. First, try to figure out what is making your bird bite. If it bites you, don’t pull your hand away quickly or start shouting; instead, stay put and calm, try to rub their heads and speak gently to tell it “not to bite.” After a few times, once you refrain from moving your hand away when it bites, it will stop biting.  

To thoroughly train the parakeet to stop biting, try to provide it with enough toys. Also, maintain its sleep schedule; some birds get aggressive and start biting when they don’t have enough sleep.

A parakeet is a calm bird; it likes a peaceful environment. They love to learn and get trained, but they will never understand or respond to harsh and threatening tones. Be patient and kind with them during the whole training process.

Step 6: Train Parakeet to Like You

Once parakeets start understanding your tone, they will begin reacting to it. Sometimes, they even try to copy the tone of your words. If you want your parakeet to like you:

  1. Keep on praising it or talk gently to it.
  2. Occasionally visit your pet cage.
  3. Take them out for flying and other activities.
  4. Hold your bird gently as you don’t want to hurt it, and give it head rubs and cuddles so that it will feel safe with you.

To build a bond with it, feed it while it’s resting on your hand. Once it starts eating on your hand, it will eventually learn to trust you. Next, engage it in different activities like sitting on your hand and shoulders while eating and playing with other toys. It will make your pet like and recognize you.

Step 7: Train Parakeet to Talk

How to train a parakeet to talk is a time-intensive process. Once your parakeet gets comfortable and starts liking you, get it involved in what you do; while moving around it, start talking to it like it understands what you are saying. Keep on repeating the same word in front of it until it starts aping your words and tone. Nod to its responses if it does it right.

If not, keep on repeating the exact words unless it picks and starts copying it.  Also, try to associate words with the situations like whenever opening the cage, you can ask “want to come out?” Similarly, while giving it something to eat, say, “are you hungry?”  And so on. This would make it easy for your parakeet to understand your words and phrases.

How to Train a Parakeet

Parakeets like music, tunes, and high-pitched sounds and usually respond well to them—therefore, women and kids can easily train them. It is generally thought that male parakeets are more likely to be trained for talking than females. But there are equal chances for both of them to speak if the bird is trained at an early age. That said, not all the budgies learn to talk. In contrast, few can go as far as learning an extensive vocabulary.

Parakeet is a friendly bird, easy to be tamed and trained. Give it time, attention, and build your trust with it. Keep appreciating them in high-pitched sounds and giving them some reward food or toys. Get them a cage that is comfortable for them. It is known that if a bird is comfortable in an environment, it is easy to train them. So, how to train a parakeet? Hope you now know the answer.

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