Taming And Training Your Bird


Birds 12 to 14 weeks old are the easiest to tame. They have not become set in their ways, and usually have not already been trained by another human.

House separately the bird you want to train. This way she can focus on you as her companion, rather than her housemate. Leave her in solitude so she can accustom herself to her new housing.

Feed and water her as usual, softly talking or whistling to her as you do so. Gradually work yourself to where she accepts your hand touching the perch beside her. After a few days she may chatter or whistle when she sees you approaching the cage. When this happens she is ready for more training.

Softly and gently grasp the bird around the body, holding the wings cupped naturally against her. She may bite and nip at you. Younger birds bites usually do not hurt as much as an older bird. Maintain your hold and she will soon stop. If she bites and refuses to let go, you can gently thump her under the chin. Do not punish her, this is natural, and if punished she may become harder to train. Keep talking to her.

There are two views on wing clipping. Some believe this helps to train a bird, enabling you to keep up with her until fully trained. Others think this deprives the birds of needed exercise.

If you decide to clip her wings, remember that clipping the wings still enables her limited flight. If you do clip, the feathers will grow back in about six months.

Using two people to clip the wings is easier and safer than just one person. One holds the wing extended out while the other cuts the feathers. Clip from the middle of the wing outward, but don't clip to close to the covert feathers, which contain the blood vessels. If you do cause bleeding, watch closely, dab with hydrogen peroxide. The cut will clot soon. You can also contact the pet shop owner to see if they, or someone they know, can clip the wings for you, if it makes you too nervous.

To hand train the bird, offer her food through the bars. When this becomes natural to her, now offer her the food from your hand inside the cage. It may take several days before she will take the proffered food. Don't worry, keep it calm and be patient, she will finally take it. Keep talking to her!

When she takes the food from your hand several times in a row, now try taking your index finger and touching and stroking her breast, head and back. She may jump or nip you at first. Just keep trying, as she begins to understand you are not going to hurt her.

The next step is to slightly push at her breast with your finger, trying to force her to step onto it to get a treat. She may again bite and nip at you. Even if this hurts, do not move back! If you do, she has learned how to make you retreat, it may also frighten her. Either way, you might have lost training ground and will have to start over. Keep doing this until she will perch on your finger. When she does, gradually move your hand around inside the cage, don't jerk or make sudden movements. If she flies off, let her stop and rest, then try again. Keep offering treats to her. It is again time to mention: Keep talking to her!

She will begin to think of your hand as a natural part of her treats. Finally, cup your other hand over her (but not touching) while she perches on your finger. When this is accomplished without fear on her part, you can now gradually bring her out of the cage. Don't worry if she flies off your hand when this happens. Reach down, and press your finger against her breast so she'll hop back on. Slowly lift her back up to you.

Most birds will want to climb to the highest point on your body. Don't be afraid when she climbs up your arm, and onto your shoulder or head. Speak soothingly to her as she climbs and inspects you. Relax and enjoy her curiosity in you.

Do not feed her anywhere except in her cage. She needs to associate the cage with food so if she is let out for free time, she will want to return back when hungry.

Some birds require free time outside of the cage. If so, make sure you cover windows, mirrors and large glass panels to prevent her from crashing into them. She does not know there is a barrier there to hurt her, she thinks it is all open spaces. She has to be supervised during the exercise flying time. She will peck and chew on almost any surface. If you have toxic plants, either take them to a room where she won't be, or give the plants away.

After her first time out of the cage, she may not return to it on her own, preferring to find the highest point in the room to rest on. You can try to offer her your finger lower her down. If that fails, wait until dark, turn off the lights and throw a cloth over her to capture her. Do NOT chase her and try to capture. Not only can she be hurt, but it just may ruin the relationship between you.

As she becomes more tamed, and learns about the house, she will return to her home when tired or hungry.

Some birds can mimic sounds. Start off by simple short whistled notes or words. The "secret" to teaching them to talk is repetition. At first, she may sound raspy when trying to make that sound, but gradually she'll be more and more clear.

Many birds are sociable, especially when caged alone. When sharing a cage with another, they will transfer the need for companionship to that bird, making it harder to tame them. But, if you do have only one bird, or in a separate cage, make sure you give her daily attention. A lonely bird will become agitated, noisy and maybe destructive.

NEVER! EVER! allow your bird to fly outside! She will get lost. She is not accustomed to the outdoors and will die.

The rest of the training methods and abilities depend upon the bird. Check the links provided for more information.

Enjoy her. If you have any questions, call your pet shop. They'll be glad to help you out in anyway they can.



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