Training Your Pet Bird

The first step in training any bird is to gain their confidence. Training any animal, especially birds takes patience and practice. Allow a couple of days for settling down, then approach the cage quietly repeating a two-word phrase such as "pretty boy". When your approach is happily accepted, you can start the finger training. Extend the index finger alongside a perch, raising it under the bird’s breast until it hops on. Move your hand slowly around the cage transferring your pet from perch to perch, whispering encouraging noises.

After a day or two of practice, you will be able to withdraw your hand from the cage with the bird perched on your finger. Try stroking down the beak with the index finger of the other hand. It is all good connfidence-winning training.

Continue repeating the two-word phrase as often as possible and soon your patience will be rewarded. Your pet will have said those first words. Add another phrase and repeat this until prefect and so on, thus building up an extensive vocabulary.

Budgerigars in particular can, with patience, be taught to repeat the first words in about six weeks and build up a vocabulary of over 100 words. But remember, any bird which has not talked during the first nine months of life is unlikely to do so—although this may not be impossible.

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