Parakeets are not pre-programmed to talk. To teach them human words takes time and patience, and there is no guarantee of success. Ask yourself this question: Does it matter if my parakeet can’t talk? If the answer is yes, don’t buy one!
There are a few things you can do to give yourself a greater chance of teaching your pet parakeet to talk:
- Young birds learn more easily than older ones.
- Males are better talkers than females.
- A hand-tamed parakeet who is relaxed in human company has more chance of picking up the talking habit.
- Repeat the words you want your parakeet to learn. Do this many times a day, in two-minute bursts. Limit it to no more than three words. See the Teaching Parakeets to Talk section of this Guide for many more tips.
Lots to say? Maybe… but there is no guarantee that your parakeet will be a talker
The moments when your parakeet is attentive are the key ones for teaching him. You’ll recognize the signs – he will perch close to you, and show an interest in your mouth. His pupils may dilate. A parakeet that is chilled and chattering quietly in the cage is in listening mode too. Speak to him, and he will pause and listen. The familiarity of the words will eventually trickle through. He’ll certainly enjoy the communication when he’s in the right mood – you’ll notice that he sometimes closes his eyes in contentment as you patiently repeat “Hello Mango!”, or whatever words you’ve chosen!
Some birds, even ones that tick all the boxes of young, male, and tamed, simply never talk. Others make a noise vaguely like the sounds you’ve been patiently repeating, but twitter them incoherently.
Some birds, however, seem to get the hang of it, and then there’s no stopping them. They will add many words and phrases as the months pass. The Guinness Book of Records, backed up by viral YouTube videos, celebrates parakeets with hundreds of words in their repertoire, but a simple “hello” makes all the training worthwhile.
Nigel, 28 May 2021
If your budgie doesn't fly, scatter perches with ropes to climb up around your home. This will reassure and encourage them.