If you’re getting a new pet parakeet, you’ll need to know how to tame him or her so that he or she can be happy, safe, and comfortable around you and in your home.
Below you’ll find all the steps to tame and train your parakeet as quickly and safely as possible.
Here’s what you’ll need before you begin:
- A large cage
- Perches inside the cage
- Food and water
- Treats (millet sprays, nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds)
- Perches or play areas outside of the cage
Now, let’s get into the steps to follow to tame your new pet parakeet.
1. Make Sure Your Parakeet Is Comfortable in the Cage
Parakeets can be very timid, so it may take a while to tame them. To start the process, you’ll need to make sure that your parakeet is comfortable in her new environment.
Make sure you’ve purchased a cage that is big enough for your parakeet. You’ll also want to make sure that the cage is placed in a room that is a comfortable temperature.
Ensure that your parakeet is getting sufficient food and water and that his or her cage has perches and toys.
For the first few days after you get your parakeet, keep him or her in a dark and quiet room. This will give them a chance to adjust to the new cage.
After a couple of days, you can move the parakeet to a room that you spend more time in, like your living room, so they can get used to seeing you and other people.
For the few days or the first couple weeks, do not start to train your parakeet or spend time with your parakeet.
Rather, focus on making sure that he or she is very comfortable and happy in his or her cage.
You’ll know that your parakeet has settled in their cage when he or she begins to explore and fly around within the cage.
This may take a couple of hours to a couple of weeks, but eventually, your parakeet will feel comfortable to regularly fly around in the cage.
Once you see this happening, you can move on to the next step.
2. Develop Trust & Form a Bond With Your Parakeet
Now that your parakeet feels comfortable in his or her new environment, you’ll need to get him or her comfortable with being around you.
This can be a slow process so we’ll split it into some smaller steps here.
Spend Time Near Your Parakeet’s Cage
This first step serves to help make your parakeet feel comfortable in your presence. You’ll want to sit next to the cage for at least an hour or so each day.
At this stage, do not interact with him or her at all. Instead, do other activities like reading, working on your computer, or watching TV.
Gently Interact With Your Parakeet Without Touching Her
Now that you’ve spent some time around your parakeet’s cage, you can begin to interact with him or her.
To do this, you can spend time getting closer to them while they are in their cage.
You can speak softly in a high-pitched voice, hum, sing, or whistle to get your parakeet used to your voice.
Touch the Outside of the Cage
You can now get the parakeet used to your hand by gently touching the outside of the cage.
Try humming or talking in a high-pitched voice while you do this to make the parakeet more comfortable.
Open the Cage and Put Your Hand Inside
Once your parakeet is no longer scared of you when you get close to his or her cage, you can start putting your hand inside the cage.
All you’ll want to do is open the cage and let your hand hang out inside the cage without going near your parakeet.
A great tip for this step is to hold a treat in a clothespin in your hand while you do this.
You don’t want to offer the treat to your parakeet just yet, however.
Instead, this is meant to associate your hand with good-smelling things. Each time you put your hand inside, try to move it a bit closer to your parakeet without touching him or her.
Going through the above steps can help make even the timidest parakeet more comfortable around you.
After following the above steps, your parakeet will trust you enough that you can start training him or her to hop on your hand.
Advice From an Experienced Owner
I recently ran into an old friend who just happens to be a life-long parakeet owner at my local feed store.
While chatting, I explained that I was currently researching the process of taming a parakeet and asked for her input. Here is her response:
It’s important to remember that it isn’t a race. The focus should be on developing a strong bond and a deep trust – not to force things too quickly.
It will take time, sometimes a long time, but in the end, when your bird comes to you when you call his name or when he snuggles up against your neck, it’s totally worth it.
3. Offer Him or Her a Treat in the Cage
Once you’ve spent a lot of time with your hand in the cage, eventually you should be able to hand-feed your parakeet because they will no longer be afraid of your hand.
This time, put a treat in the palm of your hand and move closer to your parakeet. If your parakeet begins to back away, that’s perfectly normal. Just try again later.
If your parakeet is continually afraid of your hand, you’ll need to go back to step 2 and repeat until your parakeet is comfortable with your hand.
Eventually, your parakeet will be able to feed from your hand. Your parakeet may eat from your hand while perched or may hop on your fingers to eat out of your palm.
Once you’ve completed this step, your parakeet really trusts you and may be ready for training.
4. Train Your Parakeet To Perch on Your Finger
While your parakeet is perched in his or her cage, slowly move your index finger toward where she or he is perched.
You may want to try this move several times so that your parakeet is comfortable with your finger being there.
You can then use a treat in your other hand to lure the parakeet onto your finger.
Your parakeet may bite you during this step. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal, and it doesn’t hurt.
If your parakeet bites you, try not to respond in any way. Do not jerk your hand away or yell at your parakeet.
All you’ll want to do is give your parakeet a break and try again later.
This step may take a while but eventually, your parakeet will hop onto your finger.
Once he or she does hop on your finger, reward her or him with a treat and words of encouragement. You’ll want to practice this step several times.
5. Teach Your Parakeet the “Step Up” Command
Once your parakeet is comfortable perching on your finger, you can teach him or her the step up command so that you don’t have to lure your parakeet onto your finger each time.
To teach this command, put your finger near your parakeet while he or she is perched in the cage.
Use your finger to gently press up on your parakeet’s belly while saying the words “step up.” Your parakeet should step onto your finger.
Make sure to reward him or her for moving onto your finger.
Repeat this several times until your parakeet no longer needs to be pushed to step on your finger and will simply do it when you put your finger near him or her or when you say the words “step up.”
6. Take Your Parakeet Out of the Cage
Once your parakeet is very comfortable getting on and off of your finger using the step up command, you can begin to take your parakeet out of his or her cage.
Start by slowly walking around the room where your parakeet’s cage is located.
You should do this daily and walk around a little more each day. Eventually, you can show your parakeet the rest of your house.
After you’ve completed all of these steps, your parakeet should be very comfortable in your home and may want to spend lots of time outside of his or her cage when you’re at home.
She may also be ready to learn some fun new tricks.
Letting Your Parakeet Out of the Cage for Playtime
Parakeets can be very playful and active birds and need to have ample playtime outside of their cage once they are well adjusted.
Make sure that you are only letting your parakeet out of his or her cage with your permission.
This means that you must always use the step up cue and remove your parakeet out of his or her cage yourself.
Once out of the cage, you can allow a trained parakeet to fly around the house and play with you.
Just make sure that all doors and windows are closed, ceiling fans are off, and that the parakeet can’t fly anywhere that could be dangerous, like the kitchen.
It’s best to let your parakeet have about an hour of playtime each day. This allows your parakeet to get some exercise and mental stimulation.
You don’t have to actively be playing with your parakeet during this time.
You can let your bird fly around as she pleases, just make sure you are keeping a close eye on her.
It might be fun to keep perches and toys around the house for your parakeet to perch and play outside of their cage.
Getting Your Parakeet Back in the Cage
Once you’re letting your parakeet out for playtime, you’ll also want to be able to train him or her to re-enter the cage voluntarily, so you don’t have to grab him or her.
In order to get your parakeet back in the cage, you’ll want to have the step up command nailed down.
Once your parakeet is perched outside of the cage, go up to him or her with your finger outstretched, and give the step up cue.
Your parakeet should step onto your hand, and you can walk her back to her cage.
If your budgie is upset and flies away when you try to put her back in the cage, try using two hands and approaching from either direction to make your budgie step up onto one of your hands.
You can also try positioning the bird so that her back is facing the open cage door and she cannot see that you are putting her in her cage.
You can also try placing her favorite treat inside the cage and wait for your parakeet to enter on her own. Once in the cage, simply close the door.
Trying all these methods will ensure that your parakeet can return safely to his or her cage.
Additional Tips for Training a Parakeet
- Find out what your parakeet’s favorite food is. Treats are super important in training, so you’ll want to make sure you have some high-value treats for hard training days.
- Always make sure all doors and windows are closed before you open your parakeet’s cage.
- Do not jerk your hand away if your parakeet bites you
- Try to vary the treats given while training to maintain interest and make sure your parakeet is receiving a balanced diet.
The biggest tip?
Be patient. Training parakeets can be a long and difficult process.
Proceed through the steps slowly and carefully to make sure that your parakeet is always as comfortable and happy as possible.
Soon, you’ll have a happy, trained feathered friend, and all your hard work will be totally worth it.
Ready to begin teaching your parakeet to talk? You’ll find an easy step-by-step guide here.
When done correctly, training can take a while. Depending on how timid or rambunctious your parakeet is, taming him or her can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.
Once your parakeet is tamed and trained to respond to simple commands, you’ll have a happy, playful bird, and you can continue to teach your parakeet many more tricks!