Budgie parakeets > Tame and Train Parrots

Tame and Train Parrots

There is no doubt that the best way to win the affections of either a reasoning or unreasoning animal is to treat it with kindness and gentleness, no matter whether you are dealing with a human being, a bird or a beast.

Parrots like all other birds and beasts have a natural fear of man. They are suspicious and think that they are to be injured. If you approach them with harsh or threatening gestures their nature will immediate­ly prompt them to be on the defensive while if you move slowly, speak softly and kindly, avoid all sudden or jerking motions and even if they are not at once subdued they will be the more ready to meet you in a friendly way in the future. This is particularly true of the parrot, and you may depend on it that the impression you make during the first two or three interviews will be lasting whichever way it tends.

A tame bird is much more satisfactory in every way and we have never had a parrot which we could not handle freely within ten days after re­ceiving them. Always move slowly around the cage, and never poke your finger or anything else at the bird.

If the parrot starts to bite you do not jerk your hand away, but blow in its face or tap its beak or claws lightly with a pencil. This is sufficient to make it stop.

It is entirely needless to have a squawking or screaming parrot, as it is an easy matter to teach your bird that it is against your rules to make an undue amount of noise. Tapping lightly on the cage with a stick, or on the claws or bill, is usu­ally sufficient punishment to stop the noise, though some persons make it a rule to cover the cage with a cloth or paper in order to quiet it.

Frequently if a bird is noisy you can make it stop by giving it something to play with, such as a toy bell, piece of cloth, stick or an ear of corn, will usually be sufficient.

Under the parrot's tongue there is a membrane, and some parrot fanciers in Europe cut this mem­brane in order to, as they say, loosen the tongue. Others have actually split the tongue. This is not only entirely unnecessary, but it is a cruel and harmful habit. It would be just as sensible to. split or loosen the tongue of a human being, and we do not believe that any bird could ever be taught to speak plainly and well when its tongue was mutilated in such a manner.

Some parrots are not as precoscious as others and do not begin for several months, and then cause surprise by repeating whole sentences. It is often the slowest parrots to begin which finally make the best talkers. As a rule a parrot will learn much quicker from a lady's voice than from a man's and still more quickly from a child's.

It would be supposed that animals which talk must have a thin tongue or one which is mobile and active; but the parrot's tongue is thick and seemingly sluggish. It is not her tongue primar­ily that enables her to talk; in Polly's throat there are muscles which give her the power of speech, and these muscles are similar in some respects to those possessed by song birds. In some instances it takes a long time for a young parrot to learn to use these throat muscles, just as it takes consid­erable time for a human being to learn to talk; and like little children, parrots repeat only what they hear.

Every morning when going into the room where the parrot is, as well as at the usual train­ing time in the evening, speak to the bird.
Be in the habit of giving the bird a nut or some other delicacy when you approach it. Strive to stroke the head or beak cautiously with one finger, or scratch its head while speaking quietly to it.

These attempts should be made through the bars of the cage and not be putting your hand in at the door, which is far more apt to enrage the bird. It will soon become tame enough to take food from the hand and enjoy having you stroke its plumage.

In order to train a bird rapidly, the trainer should take his position between it and the light. All food and playthings should be removed from its cage and it is sometimes well to cover the cage on all sides except the space open toward the trainer.

For the first two or three days it is just as well to not attempt to train it, simply remove food and playthings and cover the cage as above directed ; then after the bird has grown accus­tomed to this treatment, the training may begin.

Many bird fanciers consider that it is always best to keep out of sight when you are teaching the bird to talk. Hang the cage in a position where there is little light or cover the cage with a cloth or get behind a curtain or screen in talking to it. In this way the bird seems to think more about the words which he hears than about the person speaking to it.

Too much attention cannot be paid to the proper articulation of the words. We all know how difficult it is to get a baby to say the first few words and it is the same with a parrot. Repeat the same word over clearly and distinctly many times, pausing each time after saying the word. Use only full tone words aml avoid all hissing sounds. The trainers usui11y begin with such words as "Polly", "hurrah", "Jacko" ,"pretty Polly,", and others.

If you be­gin your lessons in the morning by saying "good morning", and close them in the evening by say­ing "good night," your bird will soon learn these words and always say them at the proper time of day. After learning to imitate a few words your bird will soon learn others, and quickly become educated.

There is a great difference not only in the species of parrots, but also in different individuals. One bird may begin learning at the first lesson, while another learns with difficulty, and it is only after a long series of lessons that it will attempt to pronounce a word. Those which are slow to learn usually have more retentive memories. Some parrots which are inapt at imi­tating the human voice, take up very quickly the sounds of the neighborhood, such as the various sounds made by a flock of chickens, the barking of dogs, mewing of cats, etc.

It is said that some birds never learn to speak clearly, but always pronounce the words with a rattle or with a lisp or hoarsely ; but it is our opinion that these are more the faults of the teachers than of the birds. By proper teaching you can have your parrot always say "please" when he wishes for some­thing, and "thank you" when he receives it; "hello" or "good morning" when you approach the cage, and "good-bye" when you leave.

A parrot learns by sound and not by any meaning there may be to the words. Sometimes they are known to connect certain words and sentences with individuals or incidents. By connecting some motion with certain sen­tences when training it will make the parrot seem to speak intelligently. For instance, when the table is being set and the food brought to the table, the bird is taught to say, "I am hungry now" or "Polly is hungry." When the parrot sees you take out your watch it can be taught to say: "What time is it?" When some stranger comes into the room it will greet him with "hello" or "how do you do", and when he leaves the bird says "good-bye".

Birds kept in stores can be taught also certain advertising expressions so that when kept in the store they will advertise certain lines of goods for instance: "Have you tried this product?" and dealers have found that such suggestions helped their trade.

If the parrot is young it will require very little effort to teach it. Simply say the words clearly and distinctly, repeating the same word or words over a number of times with a slight pause be­tween each word, and you will soon find the bird will begin to imitate the sound. Mosts birds will learn better after eating, and it is best to remove playthings from the cage so that their attention ill not be distracted. They usually learn better about twilight when surrounding objects are not so distinct.