Friday, August 24, 2007

Birds - Teaching Your Parrot To Talk - Part I

Birds - Teaching Your Parrot To Talk - Part I
By Michael Russell

In this article we're going to discuss how to teach your parrot to speak. Getting him to shut up afterwards is another thing altogether.
Don't you find it amazing that something other than a human being can actually speak the English Language or any language for that matter? Parrots are certainly an interesting species of bird. For that matter they're just plain interesting, period.

Well, if you want to teach your parrot to talk the first thing you're going to have to do is carefully pick the breed of parrot. Some breeds talk better than others.
The smaller species of parrot sometimes have a difficult time learning how to speak and when they finally do, their speech can be very difficult to understand. Parakeets, ringnecks, alexandrine, plumheads, cockatiels, conures, lorikeets and lovebirds are not your best talkers. Oh sure, there is always the exception among these but the general rule is, don't expect too much. So if talking ability is important to you then stay away from this lot.
Your best bet to come away with a bird that you can teach to recite the Gettysberg address is a red tailed, African Gray parrot. In general, these birds have amazing talking abilities, but every now and then you're going to run into one who just refuses to say a word. The reason for this is a puzzle to us all.

If you're looking at New World Amazon parrots, your best bets for the talkers are the Yellow Napes, Blue Fronts and Double Yellowheads. However, these birds have to be exposed to speech at a very young age or the chances of them talking is slim to none. Any Amazon parrot with a yellow head is usually a good talker. Macaws are okay talkers but not great. When they learn to talk they have very loud scratchy voices and a very limited vocabulary. Cockatoos can also be taught to speak but, like macaws, they usually have a very limited vocabulary. However, unlike macaws, they have rather sweet soft voices.

The next thing you have to do is choose a bird with just the right temperament. You should never pick a bird that is afraid and shy. Your best talkers are usually birds that are mean biters. So if you don't mind having to keep a supply of Band-Aids around you'll do just fine. Birds that cower will never learn to talk. The more aggressive they are the better. Birds that laugh a lot and constrict their pupils are not showing fear but definite aggression. Just don't get too close.
If at all possible, try to choose a bird that is still being hand fed. Most likely you will have to get these birds from a breeder rather than from a pet store. Birds that are this young usually still have pinfeathers sticking out of their head and neck.
In our next article in this series we're going to go over how to prepare to teach your bird how to speak, how to feed it, when to start training and a number of other important things you should know.
Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Birds

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meyers parrot said...

Thanks Michael Russell, your article is very helpful... Wish i could pick some parrots and teach them to talk.

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