How to train a Cockatiel to talk

How to train a CockatielCockatiels are perfect pet birds for many reasons to which I will get to later in this post. Cockatiels are small parrots. They come with a variety of color patterns and a very distinctive crest. This crest is a sign for the Cockatiel‘s emotional state. It is vertical when the bird is excited, a bit oblique when the bird is relaxed and flat to the head when the bird is angry.

Where do Cockatiels come from? According to newest research Cockatiels are classified as the smallest in the cockatoo family. And they are native to Australia where they love to live in the bush lands always close to water.

Updated 2018

Why are Cockatiels good pet birds? Well, first of all its their size. They‘re smaller than other parrot species which makes it easier to care for them and to tame them. Thanks to their friendly personality they quickly bond with their owners. This in turn makes it easy for Cockatiel owners to train them.

Cockatiels just love to whistle and sing. They have the capability to mimic speech. Yes, they can speak – in a way. All Cockatiels do is to repeat syllables and words as well as all kinds of noises you make. Their speech though never sounds clear. Often it‘s even difficult to understand what they say.

Kaytee Spray Millet for BirdsSo, how do you train Cockatiels to talk? One of the first consideration from your part is about how you want to reward your little feathery friend‘s achievements. Among the best rewards you can give your bird is a millet spray. Every Cockatiel loves them and will be eager to learn and achieve your training‘s goals in order to get one of these treats. A millet spray is great because you can cut each spray into smaller sections which you can even store in a closable jar to keep it fresh. As reward you have then small pieces of about 2 inches of millet spray at hand. Offer millet sprays exclusively as training rewards, like this your bird will connect this treat will positive experiences around being trained.

It seems obvious but I still want to emphasize the first step of every training with a Cockatiel. First you need to bond with your bird. Make his environment and every interaction with you as comfortable as possible. Your Cockatiel needs to be happy and healthy to be ready to learn from you.

The next step will be: talk to your bird! Watch his behavior while you repeat the words you want him to learn. If he is distracted by noise or visual interferences, make sure you train him in a quiet surrounding. You might even talk to your Cockatiel while he is in his cage under a cover.

There is a rule that you shouldn’t teach your bird words in a low tone. Why? Cockatiels have high pitched voices and learn faster and better when the words are high pitched too.

Keep the words singular or at most at two. For example „Hello“ or „Goodnight“. Of course, if you teach your bird something like „Goodnight“, repeat this word at the right daytime, before going to sleep.

How to train a CockatielAs I said at the beginning a Cockatiel shows very distinctively how he feels. When you observe your little friend‘s crest you can easily find out if he likes the word you want to teach him or not. Also it‘s not wise to force a word on your Cockatiel which is impossible for him to pronounce.

You will also need a lot of patience while teaching your bird talk. Impatient behavior and moves from your side might frighten your little feathery friend.

After your Cockatiel speaks his first words – which you reward every time he repeats them with a millet spray – you can go further by teaching him whole sentences. A very common sentence Cockatiels learn is „Want a treat“ or similar words that are connected to something agreeable for him.

And finally you can teach your little Cockatiel to whistle whole melodies. Whistling and singing is in his nature. You‘ll see, he will learn fast.

Speaking about fast learning. Generally male Cockatiels learn faster than female. Also when you start training young birds you will see fast results. Having said that, there isn’t any age limit for Cockatiels to learn at all. And they love being with you, having your full attention and getting the beloved rewards for showing off their achievements. And this leads to having a healthy and happy Cockatiel.

Kaytee Spray Millet for Birds

Kaytee Spray Millet for Birds

Product Highlights

  • Adds recommended nutritional variety to a bird‘s diet
  • Ideal for bonding, playtime and training
  • Natural with no artificial colors or flavors
  • Millet comes naturally on a stem
  • 12-count
  • Great for fledglings, juveniles and full-grown birds

Customer reviews

I was happy to find the sprays were actually nice and plump. My Hungarian / European canary is delighted. He runs over to snack on it the minute my hand is out of his big cage.

I like that this millet isn’t enormous, and with a long stem. The Kaytee spray millet is very easy to pull out and place one of my birds’ dishes.

My Cockatiel loves these, always eats them up.


This entry was posted in Birds and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.