While they may boast beautiful colored feathering, many people who own budgies choose them because they can be trained to speak, perch, and engage in other interesting behaviors that provide a fun source of entertainment for their owners and visitors.
So, you brought home a new budgie from the pet store. Now what?
While you likely already know that budgies can talk, your bird isn’t uttering a word and seems uncomfortable in the cage. You stare at the bird and say a few words, but your budgie doesn’t repeat what you said.
Well, there’s no need for concern. Budgies don’t automatically speak or perform tricks.
Fortunately, training a budgie is a relatively simple process.
How to Train a Budgie
First, you need to tame the budgie and ensure that it’s comfortable with its surroundings. After your budgie has had a chance to settle into its new home, then you can teach your budgie how to talk, perch, step up, and perform other tricks.
Budgie Training Tips
Make Your Budgie Feel Comfortable With Their Surroundings
First of all, you can’t bring a new budgie home and immediately begin training. You’ll need to prepare the cage prior to introducing your budgie to its new home.
Give your budgie a couple of days to thoroughly explore the cage and play with any toys you’ve provided. This provides your budgie with the opportunity to get accustomed to their new surroundings.
You may want to spend time sitting near the cage, talking to your budgie, and offering treats, so the bird begins to trust you and becomes comfortable around you.
Just don’t expect your budgie to immediately begin to respond or repeat phrases.
Don’t worry, as there are a few tactics to build trust with your budgie.
Of course, you’ll need to offer food and clean water daily, but you’ll also want to place the cage in a relatively quiet spot, softly call your budgie by name, initially avoid handling the bird as much as possible, and maybe even read your budgie a story so that they get used to hearing your voice.
Make Your Budgie Feel Comfortable With Towels
While this may sound like an odd place to begin training, your budgie will need to become comfortable with being held in a towel as you’ll need to periodically take them to the veterinarian.
First, you should place the towel inside the cage with a few treats on top of it, so that your bird becomes used to it.
Then gently grab your budgie with the towel and hold the towel while they sit on it. Stroke your budgie and provide plenty of treats while practicing this exercise.
Slowly increase the firmness of your grasp using the towel. This method will acclimate your bird to being held in the towel and eliminate resistance when it’s time for veterinary visits and trimmings.
Training Your Budgie to Perch on Your Finger and Step Up
Initially, you may want to stick your fingers in the cage periodically, so your budgie becomes comfortable with your presence in its space.
Then you’ll need to move your finger closer to your budgie near the bird’s chest and wait for it to climb onto your finger.
If your budgie resists, placing birdseed on your hand may encourage it to step up onto your finger to retrieve the food. When your budgie successfully perches on your finger, offer treats to reinforce this behavior.
After your budgie has mastered basic finger perching, then you can begin to introduce commands such as ‘step up’ and ‘step down’.
Ideally, you should only practice one trick per day for approximately fifteen minutes and offer treats when your budgie follows your instructions.
Training Your Budgie to Balance and Climb
Once your budgie is perching and obeying commands, then you can start to incorporate toys into their growing skills.
If you place a ladder and a ball in their cage, you can teach them to climb the ladder using the command to ‘climb’, and you can also teach them how to balance their body while standing on top of the ball.
These are more advanced skills, so it may take time for your budgie to master them. The keys to successful budgie training are consistency, patience, perseverance, and rewards.
Teaching Your Budgie How to Talk
Budgies can be trained to talk after they are three months old, so you may need to wait a while before your budgie can speak.
One old-school method of teaching budgies to talk involves placing a mirror in front of the cage and speaking to your budgie from behind the mirror. Your budgie will see its reflection and think that it’s talking to another bird.
It’s best to begin the speech lessons by teaching your budgie to repeat its name. Say your budgies’ name each time you walk past the cage so that the bird becomes used to it.
Always speak slowly and clearly, preferably using a higher-pitched tone. Remember to provide treats when your budgie repeats its name.
Afterward, you can continue to expand your budgie’s vocabulary by associating words with objects and actions. You can even teach your budgie how to repeat brief phrases.
Budgies have the capacity to learn how to say more than a thousand words, so the sky is the limit going forward.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Train a Budgie
Is it easy to train a budgie?
Well, it depends on the trick that you are attempting to teach them. It is relatively simple to train a budgie to perch on your finger, but other tricks may take time.
How long do you need to train a budgie?
If you are consistent with practicing, it usually takes about a week to teach your budgie to perch on your finger outside the confines of the cage.
Budgies are amazing pets that can be taught multiple words and tricks, but you need to have patience and consistency when training a budgie.
A budgie will need to build trust with you and become comfortable with its surroundings prior to starting training.
However, your bird is highly intelligent and definitely possesses the capacity for learning, so stock up on some treats and begin the lessons.