How to Teach a Parakeet to Talk in Phrases

Parakeets may tilt their heads, indicating they are trying to learn.
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The parakeet is a cute, colorful and friendly member of the parrot family. These birds have the ability to speak and people get a kick out of hearing them talk in phrases. With patience and consistency your feathered family member can provide years of talking fun.

Step 1

Place your parakeet in a cage by himself and remove mirrors. This will help your parakeet bond with you rather than another bird or his own reflection. Keep his cage clean and full of bird comforts such as fresh food, water and the occasional strip of millet. These measures will teach your parakeet that you are a trustworthy friend and facilitate the bonding process. After all, nobody, not even a parakeet, wants to have a conversation with someone who makes her unhappy.

Step 2

Learn to recognize signals that indicate your parakeet’s mood. For example, if he is happy he will move his beak, sit tall and appear to be softly talking or singing. If he is sad or scared, he may pull his wings up and make shrieking sounds. A happy parakeet will be more receptive to learning to talk in phrases.

Step 3

Begin teaching you parakeet phrases using short words. If his name is “Tom” try repeating “Tom loves you” using a kind, high-pitched tone of voice. Say this phrase daily and for as long as he shows interest and no signs of stress. Look for signals that he is trying to imitate you such as moving his beak or tilting his head. When you see signs that he has tried to mimic, give him a special treat like a piece of fresh-cut apple.

Step 4

Help your parakeet enunciate the words as he attempts to repeat phrases. At first, his attempts may make it seem he is struggling and sound like gibberish, but keep repeating the phrase, emphasizing the proper pronunciation. After he has mastered a phrase, choose a new one. It may take him a year to learn the simplest phrase or he may pick it up within a few weeks. Be patient with him: after all, he is learning a new language.

Step 5

Interact with your parakeet to help him feel part of his human family. When you are feeding him, use word association by repeating the word “Dinnertime.” You should also say, “Good morning” when you uncover his cage after a night's rest. Have fun with it and remember that your parakeet will eventually tune into everything. A ringing phone or the occasional curse word will not escape his hearing. So beware: if he hears it often enough, he may begin to repeat it indiscriminately.

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