10 Tips For Teaching Your Budgie To Talk
Follow these simple tips and your budgie will be happier and easier to train. There is no guarantee that it will talk as there are a large percentage that never do. My studies have found that all budgies have the ability to learn to talk, and even talk in context, but it usually depends on how well they bond with their guardians. These tips will help you to have a better bond with them. Note: Many guardians have found if they listen to Victor and Maylor's recordings and videos with their budgies they begin to speak and bond much faster than they normally would.
1. Selection of a Budgie
When choosing a budgie try to choose one that is not paired with another budgie as it will miss it too much. Also look at the eyes of the budgie. If its eyes are wide open and it is active, it is probably more aware of its surroundings. Hopefully you can get yourself a male budgie as they are known to be better talkers. However, we have had great success in the group with female budgies as well. Usually males are more aggressive and active than females. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to tell what sex they are until they are almost one year old. The best time to get a budgie is at about 8 or 10 weeks, so we often have them for months before we know what sex they are. When they are mature enough, the sere on a male’s beak remains blue and a female’s cere is usually dark brown.
2. Location of Cage
Set the cage up in an area with ample natural light (natural light is preferable) and where your family spends most of its time. The cage should be as large as possible with maximum distance of 1/2 inch between the bars. If there are no other animals in the house, you should locate the cage on the floor so the budgie can easily come and go. Do not put it in an area where there is possibility of a draught. In the first week or so, try to handle it as little as possible until it gets use to you. If it doesn't panic when you put your hand in the cage, then it may be ready for you to pick it up on your finger. After about a week or two you can start handling it and eventually it will get use to you. Be patient though, some budgies may sit on your finger in the first few days while others may take months.
3. Clipping of Wings
If you have to clip their wings, take off as little as possible. Try not to take away its ability to fly completely. Clipping of wings when they are young will prevent it from hurting itself by flying into walls and windows and finally flying right out the door. If you keep them moderately clipped, your budgie may not notice the difference each time you trim them. This will also prevent it from flying all over the place when you take it out of the cage or when you put it on your finger. If you can't catch your budgie when you want to, then the wings probably need clipping. If you are unsure of how much to take off, go to a reputable pet store and they will show you. Once your budgie is familiar with you and your surroundings, you may want to stop clipping its wings altogether. I only recommend not clipping the wings when it doesn't have a chance to make a mad dash and fly out an opened door or window. If they get outside, most will not survive on their own for any extended period of time.
4. Give it as much freedom as you can
A budgie loves its cage but it also loves its freedom. Once it is comfortable with the cage and knows where it is, the budgie will not wander far from it at first. Only close the door at night or when you leave it unsupervised. Cover the cage at night with a light blanket or towel to prevent drafts from blowing on it. When you let it roam freely, you must be prepared to clean up the mess afterwards. Don't worry though, of all the birds, it is the easiest to clean up after as most of the mess is closer to their cage. Their droppings are small and they dry up quickly and don't have a noticeable odor. It is important that you leave the cage door open most of the time to gain the trust of your budgie. Each day it will gain more confidence and eventually it will start coming up to you and wanting to be picked up and played with or talked to.
5. Limit the training to one person
Only one person should be taking on the responsibility of hand training for the first few months. It is much easier for a budgie to trust and like one person. After it bonds and trusts one person, it will usually move on to other people in the family as it is a sociable animal.
6. What to do if it bites while training
When budgies start to bond some will bite your hands or your lips unexpectedly during training. This is not to be confused with biting when they are afraid of being handled or when they don't want to be picked up. It hurts a little bit but they usually get out of that stage after a year or so. Just keep them far enough away from your face, or cover your mouth with your hand and that should help. If they get a little nip in now and then, chalk it up to experience. I have never heard of a budgie causing much more than a pinch and they can seldom draw blood like the larger parrots. Like a puppy or kitten it is their playful nature to do so. If it continues to bite hard after a year or so, then you can start punishing it by putting it in the cage and telling it that it is a bad budgie. It should eventually get the hint and stop doing it after a while.
7. Speech Training Sessions
Give your budgie at least one twenty-minute training session a day. The best times are in the morning before breakfast and in the evening around supper time. Pick a short phrase and repeat it many times. Repeat the process several days in a row until it starts to practice saying it by itself. Start with one or two word sentences and move on to longer ones as it learns. Budgies also love nursery rhymes and people singing to them. If you become a member of the Budgie Research Group you can download some mp3 files that you can play on your mp3 player. They are the earlier files of Victor when he first started talking and are useful in teaching a budgie to talk. He says hundreds of different words and phrases. However, I am not an advocate of using training tapes made by humans that repeat words over and over again. Budgies can become bored easily and excessive use of repetitive tapes can cause them stress, so you have to be careful. Through experience, I have learned that budgies also need to be close to the human who is teaching them and often learn from sound vibration and lip and tongue movements.
8. Teaching it to understand and use context
Many budgies have the ability to use context when they speak like the ones I have set up my websites for. You can teach them this by talking to them and telling them what you, or what other people are doing. When you talk to them use names whenever you can. For example: "John is typing on the computer now," or "Anthony is going to sleep now." If your budgie begins to listen carefully and watches your mouth when you are talking, he is interested and trying to understand what you are saying. Eventually he will learn to understand what you are saying, but he may not let you know he does. You can also improve their vocabulary by reading them books, telling stories and explaining words out of the dictionary after they are about two years old. For more information on how to teach your budgie to use context you can join our Budgie Research Group. We have an extremely good system that helps 90% of budgies who are talking to use context and non-talkers to begin talking.
9. Listen to your budgie and acknowledge it
Encourage your budgie when it talks and say nice things to it. A budgie has such a small voice that it is often underestimated when it talks. Listen carefully when it speaks and let it know when you understand it. Even if you don't understand it, tell it that it is talking nice and talk to other members of the family about what it is saying. They love to be talked about and being the center of attention. Another training technique is having two people close to the cage talking to each other and acting out certain verbs or identifying objects. You will be surprised at what the budgie will pick up and how curious they are to understand what you are saying.
10. Play with your budgie
Budgies can be as playful as kittens or puppies. Once it trusts you and wants to be with you, don't be afraid to gently poke it with your finger or play touch its tail if you can. Be prepared to get the odd playful nip yourself though. Not recommended for those who have soft skin. You can also get it a few toys that it can roll around on the floor, especially ones that jingle. My budgie's favorite toy is a penny. He picks it up and flips it around just to hear the sound it makes when it hits the hardwood floor.
Good luck with your budgie and it's training.
You can listen to some of Victor the budgie recordings on his website or YouTube Channel. There you will also find some videos of Maylor, the second budgie I owned. If you go there and find that your budgie is excited when you listen to them, your budgie is a prime canadidate for speaking in conversational language. Just do a YouTube search for Victor the Budgie and it will take you there. Once there you may not believe what you are hearing.
Copyright © 2001 Ryan Reynolds