Cockatiels are part of a group of birds (which includes parrots) that have the ability to mimic human speech. If you have a pet cockatiel, or if you plan to get one, you can very much teach it how to talk. All you need are a few hours every day for training, and soon you'll have a talking bird on your hands. Here are some tips to guide you as you train your pet cockatiel:
- Consider its sex and age when training a cockatiel. Young cockatiels are easier to train than older ones. As long as the bird is comfortable with you, there is no reason to delay its training. Keep in mind that male cockatiels find it easier to mimic human speech than the females. If you have yet to acquire a pet, then you certainly would have to consider this bit of fact.
- Expose your pet bird to a lot of interaction. This will guarantee that your pet constantly hears human voices and this will help it mimic specific sounds. Provide your pet with ample space and a clean environment to keep it happy. Make sure that it is healthy as well. Sick birds might become too distressed to train. Keep your pet cockatiel happy and healthy and you will have no problem teaching it to talk.
Cockatiels are actually very picky when choosing which words to mimic. The key to their interest is by making sure that you make the words sound interesting. You can do this by keeping your tone happy and enthusiastic. Otherwise, even with constant repetition, if they are not interested in the word, they won't bother with it.
- Choose a simple word or phrase. "Hi," "Hello," "Bye," "Good day," etc. are good candidates to use during training. Make sure that you teach only one word at a time. Introduce a new word only when your pet has mastered the first one.
- Decide on a training schedule. Birds are usually eager to learn early in the morning and in the afternoon at the end of the day. Give about 15 minutes per session, at least two sessions a day.
- Decide on your training area. Make sure that it is quiet and void of any kind of distraction, especially noise and other sounds. Keep other pets such as cats and dogs away.
- Take your bird out of its cage. Make sure that it sees your lips and hears your words clearly. Say the word slowly and loudly. Repeat it for 5 minutes using the same pitch and tone. Take a 5-minute break and then continue for another 5 minutes.
- Always keep treats on hand. When your pet keeps still and watches your lips as you speak, give it a treat. If the cockatiel tries to make a sound (even if it's garbled) after you have repeated a word, give it a treat as well. Giving a pet treat during training will encourage it to do what you teach it.
Also, you have to be very patient when you train your pet bird. Your pet's first attempts to mimic may not be what you had in mind, but it's okay. Do not get frustrated when your pet cockatiel is not able to mimic you perfectly. Some cockatiels can only mimic sounds that resemble actual words, while some can only sing or whistle.