The most precious moments of a budgie's day are spent perched on your finger or shoulder, being close to you. Indulge in daily chattering sessions with him; soon he may be mimicking your words. Some budgies are natural chatterboxes; others may learn to talk with patient encouragement.
Develop rapport with your budgie by spending lots of time with him. Capture his full, undivided attention in a quiet room with no distractions. Greet him with the same phrase, such as "good morning," every time you visit him in the morning, "good night" before turning out the light in the evening, and "here's a treat" when you bring him food. Encourage your budgie to learn fun and imaginative phrases.
Scratch your budgie's head very gently with the tip of your little finger. Speak softly, but keep your voice animated -- using the same speaking rhythm -- throughout your visits. Repeat his name and specific words or phrases you would like him to learn. Listen carefully to detect semblances of words or phrases in your bird's sometimes garbled chattering. Build upon what he already knows. Sing or whistle tunes to your budgie several times during the day.
Record your chattering sessions, then play them back to your budgie when he has to stay by himself. Play his taped repertoire for him each visit. Observe his reactions, how he remembers the sequence of everything in the tape by heart. Watch how he may enjoy certain segments of the tape more than others, and enlarge on those that make him happiest.
Record your budgie's speaking progress in a journal. Refer to the journal often to note how your pal's vocabulary is growing, and to remind yourself to continue or discontinue using a word or phrase. Hang a copy of his vocabulary close to the cage, so visitors can interact and communicate with him. Praise him lavishly for every new word or phrase he learns. Make time for these sessions of intimate togetherness at least once a day.
- Your budgie should be 3 to 4 months old before you attempt to teach him to talk.
- Don't be disappointed if your budgie won't talk. Some never do, or at least you can't distinguish actual words in their chattering. Some may be excellent whistlers.
- Some budgies may use words appropriately, in context to the situation. African grey parrots excel at this, but parakeets or budgies are also capable of this feat.
- Male budgies are known to be much better talkers than females.
- Budgies are known to respond better to, and learn to talk more quickly when taught by a woman or a child, most likely because of their higher, softer voices.
- Budgies love music: It calms and engages them, promoting their singing and chattering. Often, they like classical music or jazz instrumentals. If they are accustomed to having lots of people around, they may like music featuring vocalists.
- A stimulating environment, filled with lots of toys, other budgies or bird buddies and having the ability to fly freely, makes budgies more prone to talking up a storm.
- Teach your budgie to clearly say his name, address and telephone number in case he ever gets loose.
- Train your budgie with kindness, patience and persistence.
Based in Ontario, Susan Dorling has written professionally since 2000, with hundreds of articles published in a variety of popular online venues. Writing on a diverse range of topics, she reflects her passion for business, interior design, home decorating, style, fashion and pets.