Like humans, birds are more likely to speak to you if you’ve first established a bond with them.

Chatter birds

Before trying to strike up conversation, spend plenty of time bonding with your bird by playing with them outside the cage, speaking to them and feeding them food. You also need to be prepared for the possibility your pet just isn’t a talker. While all parrots can talk, that doesn’t mean they will. Give it your best shot with the pointers below.

Gift of the gab

While well-socialised birds are most likely to talk, the species, age and sex are also good indicators. Myna birds, cockatoos, Amazon parrots, budgerigars, cockatiels, Indian ringnecks, quaker parrots, African greys and parakeets are known talkers and tend to learn best if they’re young and male.

Choose your words wisely

Pet birds are most likely to repeat words that are spoken regularly and with enthusiasm. Start with some simple words your bird can associate with actions. Say “hello-hello” every time you enter the room, “night-night” when you cover the cage at night or “bye-bye” when you leave. Say them in the same way – loudly and enthusiastically – each time.

Polly wanna cracker?

Repetition is the key to teaching your bird to talk. Any sort of vocalisation – mimicking parts of your words, intonation, or singing – is a good sign because vocal birds are more likely to become talking birds. Show your pet that they’re on the right track by rewarding them with a treat immediately after they copy you. 

Patience is key

Some birds can take months or even longer to say their first word so it’s important that you stay patient throughout this process. If your bird doesn’t learn how to say human words, don’t take it to heart. Simply taking the time to chat with them is great pet care and will strengthen the bond you share.

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