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How to Teach Parrots to Talk

Many types of parrots love to mimic human words, including cockatoos, parakeets, macaws, Amazons, and African greys.[1] Getting your parrot to say specific words may take a little time and work, but if you're patient, you may be able to get it to say some fun things! Work on simple phrases at first to encourage your bird to talk. You can also use treats to help teach your parrot words.

EditSteps

EditWorking on Simple Words

  1. Put the parrot's cage in a central room in your home. Parrots need to interact with you and anyone else in your household, so put yours in a room with a lot of traffic. The more you interact with it, the more social it will become. The more words it hears, the more likely it is to repeat them![2]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 1.jpg
    • However, don't put it in the kitchen or the bathroom. Both have too much temperature variation, and the kitchen can have dangerous toxins in the air.
  2. Talk to your parrot like you would a 3-4-year-old. Parrots are very intelligent, so even when you're not trying to teach your parrot specific words, engage it by speaking sentences to it all the time. That way, it gets used to hearing you talk, and it will want to return the favor because it is a very social creature![3]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 2.jpg
    • For instance, as you walk by the cage, you might say, "How are you doing today, Bridget? Do you like the sunny weather? Your feathers are looking nice!"
  3. Start with an easy, frequently used word. Simple words will be easier for your bird to pick up, especially at first. "Hello!" and "Bye-bye!" are a good place to start. Say them when you come and go from the room to help your bird understand what you want it to do.[4]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 3.jpg
    • You could also try "bird." It really doesn't matter what the word is, as long as it's simple.
  4. Repeat the word as often as you can. Repetition is key to getting your bird to say a specific word. The more you speak it around the bird, the more likely it is to say it back to you. If you're starting with a word like "Hello!" make sure you say it every time you enter the room with the parrot.[5]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 4.jpg
    • Similarly, if you're trying to get it to say the word "bird," repeat it to the parrot a few times when you walk by the cage. Make sure to emphasize the consonants of the word to help your bird learn the word.
  5. Speak with the same inflection each time you address your parrot. When you're repeating the word to your parrot, make sure you're saying with the same inflection each time, the way you want your parrot to repeat it. This will help your parrot grasp the word better – they mimic tone as much as other aspects of the word. [6]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 5.jpg
    • Try a higher pitch if your parrot is having trouble. Parrots seem to like higher pitches better, probably because their range is higher than yours. If your bird isn't quite getting a word, try changing your pitch to a higher one, and it may help.[7]
  6. Tell your parrot it's doing a good job. Like most animals, parrots like to be told "Good job!" or "Good bird!" Say it in a happy and encouraging tone when you hear it attempt to say one of the words you're repeating to it over and over. You could also try "Good boy!" or "Good girl!"
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 6.jpg
  7. Give your parrot time to learn the word. Parrots are good mimickers, but it may take yours a while to learn the words you want. You have to be patient and keep working with your bird a little each day to help it learn new words! Also, stay focused on 1-2 words at a time. Wait until your parrot learns one before moving on to a new one.[8]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 7.jpg

EditTeaching Words for Treats

  1. Say the word for the treat each time you give it to your bird. Whatever the treat is, repeat its name a few times as you hand the treat over. So if the word is "banana," say "Banana! Banana! Banana!" Then, hand the bird a piece of banana.[9]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 8.jpg
    • Do this for every kind of treat or food you give it. If you're feeding it a strawberry, say "Strawberry! Strawberry! Strawberry!"
  2. Wait until the parrot looks at you the next time you give it a treat. As you reinforce the word, try to wait for your bird to respond. Hold out the treat and say the word. However, don't give it to the bird yet. When the parrot looks at you after you say the word, give it the treat.[10]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 9.jpg
    • This helps connect the treat to the word for the parrot.
  3. Give your parrot a chance to try the word. After your parrot is consistently looking at you when you say the word, wait until the parrot attempts to say it on its own before you give it a treat. Hold the treat out and say the name of the fruit. If the parrot makes an approximation of the word, give it the treat.[11]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 10.jpg
    • You may need to repeat it a few times to get the parrot to try it.
  4. Work on pronunciation by waiting for longer periods. Now that the bird is trying to say the word, encourage it to say it more distinctly. Repeat the word while you hold out the treat, but wait until the bird gets closer to the correct pronunciation before offering it the fruit.[12]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 11.jpg
  5. Use treats to teach other words. Use the same technique for teaching names of objects that you did with treats. Hold it up and say the word, such as "Ball!" When the bird looks at you while you say ball, offer it a little treat. Soon, the bird will likely start to mimic you, and you can offer treats for that.[13]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 12.jpg
    • Parrots, like most animals, are food-motivated, so you can offer treats to help learn other words, too. Teach the parrot the word for the treat first, then try using it to help learn other words, particularly for objects.


EditEncouraging Longer Phrases and Songs

  1. Build on words your parrot already knows by stringing them together. Your parrot can put phrases together, but it helps if it's already got parts of it down. Repeat the words or phrases you want your parrot to say, but now, always say them together so your parrot figures out what you want it to do.[14]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 13.jpg
    • For instance, maybe you've taught your parrot, "Hello!" and "How are you?" If you treated "How are you?" as one quick word ("HowAREyou?"), then simply putting them together shouldn't be too hard: "Hello! How are you?"
  2. Sing your phrases the same way every time you repeat them to the parrot. Try starting with a simple song to encourage your parrot to say longer phrases. Use the same pitch and speed each time to make it easier for your parrot to hear what you're trying to get it to repeat.[15]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 14.jpg
    • Just like saying words with the same inflection encourages your parrot to pick up words, so does singing words and phrases.
  3. Add extra words on slowly. While your parrot can learn phrases, it's going to take time. Be patient, and only add 1-2 words at a time. That way, your parrot won't get overwhelmed trying to learn longer phrases or even songs.[16]
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 15.jpg
  4. Use your voice to praise your parrot when it does well. As it picks up on words and phrases, be sure to offer praise to your parrot. You can say "Good job, Polly!" or "Good girl!" As long as you use a happy and engaging tone, your parrot is likely to get the idea.
    Teach Parrots to Talk Step 16.jpg

EditTips

  • Keep your training sessions short. You don't need to spend more than 5 minutes at a time several times a day.

EditWarnings

  • Be careful what you say around your parrot! It's likely to pick up something you may not want to be repeated when company is over.

EditReferences


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from How to of the Day http://bit.ly/2HxMFuL

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