Teaching a Parakeet to TalkThe key to teaching a parakeet to talk is to have the parakeet think it's part of the "human flock", and therefore that it needs to communicate with its human friends. If you have a mirror in the cage, or other parakeets, it will see parakeets around it and want to talk like them (i.e. chirp). So step one is to have your young parakeet on its own, surrounded by humans that talk to it.
Nazo chats with her mirror buddy
The younger the better, as in all things that involve learning. Get a hand fed parakeet if you can, at a very young age. That is when it's still learning how to communicate, and talking "human" will be a valid option for it. While male parakeets tend to talk better than female parakeets do, both can certainly talk!
Birds learn best in the morning, when their mind is fresh and ready for new information. If you use a towel or cover over your bird's cage, talk to them for 1/2 hr before you remove it each morning. Repeat the same phrases loudly, slowly and clearly. Parakeets do best with hard letters like K and T, so the traditional "hello" is actually sort of hard for a Parakeet. "Cutie" would be much better! Parakeets tend to mumble and to talk quickly, so the more slowly you talk, the more normal it will sound when the bird starts to repeat it.
Have patience, and eventually your parakeet will start to answer back to you! Once they get the hang of it, they'll learn more and more quickly as you go. While you can try taping yourself and playing the tape, the parakeet really needs to learn that this is a way for you and it to talk to each other. So it works best if you physically talk to your parakeet, and that you do it often.
Parakeets can also learn to mimic other sounds around them. They can learn to chirp like a cell phone, whistle a short tune, and much more! I've taught my parakeets to sing like chickadees, which drives the chickadees outside the windows crazy :)
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