Teaching Your Budgie to Talk

Talking Budgies

Did you know Parakeets have a knack for talking? These birds are gifted in the talking department and can pick up large vocabularies. Buying a Parakeet for his talking ability is not ethical and should not be done. All parrots are different and some will never talk. This article was intended to inform pet owners of their Budgie’s potential to speak, and positive ways talking can be encouraged.

Firstly, selecting a young bird is important. If a young bird is selected then talking is greatly increased. Why is this? A young Budgie is more likely to pick up human speech rather than an older Budgie since it has been exposed to humans. Most Budgies that are older were kept in aviaries with other Budgies; therefore, they have imprinted vocal abilities from other Budgies. This critical window is important for selecting a good candidate for talking. Older Budgies may be able learn a few words; however, most will resort to their natural Budgie calls. This does not mean you have to purchase a handfed Parakeet, just one that has fledged and is very impressionable.

Another factor that produces good talkers is how strongly the bird bonds to its owner. A Budgie who is bonded will try to communicate with the person it desires. The more time spent with the parrot, the more the bird will try to communicate. This means the bird should be kept alone and other Budgies must not be present. Two Budgies housed together will easily avoid human interaction and prefer each other. Keep your Budgie with you until a bond is established.

Teaching Technique

Remember the days when bird enthusiasts were told to keep repeating words to their birds in a dark room with a towel covering the cage? Do you recall buying those tapes that repeated certain phrases over and over? These are old methods that are outdated. We are finding that parrots with large vocabularies come from households that interact with the bird daily. Their owners spend lots of quality time interacting and talking to them, one on one.

Spending time with your parrot is important to its mental health and its speech development. Birds that are taught with the outdated ways lose interest and only learn a few words. Birds who are talked to and interacted by their owners daily are the best talkers.

What are some ways to teach your bird to talk? Start by talking to your bird every time you change his food bowls or every time you offer treats. Start with something simple like, “Is that yummy?” When you reach for the bird and he steps up on command say sometime like, “Good bird.” While you’re playing with the bird and his toys you might want to say, “Is that fun?” See how incorporating phrases help to reinforce speech? You’ll be amazed at how quickly they learn. Once the phrase is clear find another activity with another phrase. Before you know it, your Parakeet will be picking up all kinds of words.

A Male or Female for talking?

Does it matter if my Budgie is a male or female? The answer is NO; however, males seem to be better at talking. Females can talk, usually their words are not as clear as the males. Why is this? We believe that because males vocally court the females, they are better designed for talking. Females vocalize, but not to the extent of the males. With that said, females still talk and should not be penalized due to their vocal ability.

Do Budgies know what they are saying?

Do Budgies understand what they say? The answer is unknown; however, years of research by Dr. Irene Pepperberg, has yielded some interesting results. She studies the cognition abilities of African Grey parrots. According to hear research, her subject Alex, can identity objects and answer simple questions. Though she has produced some remarkable results, she has been working with her parrot for many years. Another case of a parrot, that is believed to have full blown cognition, is Victor the talking Budgie. This little parrot has caused so much controversy—many will argue he can talk with meaning. Others are quick to shoot this theory down. Whatever his abilities are, Victor has a large vocabulary and just listening to him is remarkable.

It is safe to say that parrots talk for a reason. It would be a huge mistake to believe that parrots only mimic. Parrots are intelligent creatures and deliberately use speech to support their wants— whether it is for affection, treats, or emotions.

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