Teaching your Parrot to Talk

jerryHearing your parrot greeting you with “Hello” is such an amazing thing to observe.  What’s more fantastic than listening to your parrot singing a few lines of your favorite song?  Our African Grey Jerry sings many songs…. not always but if he is not singing he always keeps us in stitches with his talking ability.  (See Video below of our African Grey Jerry Talking)

One of the many traits that draw us humans to these marvelous and colorful feathered friends is their gift for mimicry. However, training them to talk can sometimes be a long process.   At the same time, it is very crucial to know that not all parrots will speak in “human” even if their particular species is considered to be a “talker”.  Each bird is an unique being and they should be loved whether they have an aptitude to speak or not.  With that being said……..

Here are a few tips to remember on how you could help train your feathered friend develop an extensive vocabulary:

Preparing your feathered friend for training

Your feathered friends are very smart. With their gift of mimicry, they have the characteristics to imitate human sound easily. That is why; training your parrot to talk is just a matter of motivation. Start motivating your feathered friend by letting them feel that they need to communicate back to you.

Spend time with your feathered friend and make him feel very special; convince him that you are a friend.  Once your feathered friend has been used to your presence, you could also train them to sit on your lap and perch on your hand. At this point, it will be much easier to help them talk like a human.

Training properly

When you think your bird is ready to be trained, you can begin by removing your feathered friend from his/her cage. You can try and place them on a T-Stand to avoid any distractions.

Did you know that parrots are more vocal and active during the mornings and evenings? This is when their mind is fresh and you could take advantage of this by preparing training sessions at those times of the day.

Give your feathered friend your attention and praise them with a clear and lively voice.  Slowly speaking to your feathered friend is very important since they sometimes tend to speed up when talking. This will make the sound at the proper tempo when hearing it from your parrot.

Teach your feathered friend a word at a time; never try to teach too many words all at once.  You should also try to keep your lessons short around 5 to 10 minutes.  You can offer treats when he or she says something back to you.  After the lesson reward you bird treats and bird toys for a job well done.  Try never to end a training session on a negative note.

I have noticed over the years that my birds will say something just to get my attention.  They will say “Ma” when they notice my attention is elsewhere in the room.

There are also CDs especially designed to teach your parrot how to talk however, the drawback may be the lack of interaction between you and your feathered friend.

Remember that the first few words you teach your parrot would be the hardest. It will be difficult for your bird to understand what you are trying to say and will take a few more repetitions. Nevertheless, patience and motivation is the key.

Ann Zych – FunTime Birdy

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