How to Tame a Parrot: 4 Step Guide for Pet Parents

Key takeaways

Many birds can be frightened and stressed when they are in a new environment, and it can take time for them to bond with you.

This is why it's essential that pet parents put in the work to tame their parrot.

We explore why taming a parrot is important before detailing our four simple steps to successfully tame your bird.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Can you tame a pet bird?
  3. 4 steps to tame a parrot
  4. 3 Tips for training a parrot
  5. FAQs
  6. Final thoughts

Can you tame a pet bird?

Yes, you can tame a pet bird, and sometimes it's a necessity! If your bird bites or is scared of being handled, it can be difficult to give them the proper care they need.
The taming process can take a long time, but it will greatly improve your parrot's quality of life in the following ways:

It will destress them: If they are constantly frightened of you, they will have a very stressful life. By getting them used to being handled, you'll prevent them from being unnecessarily scared or stressed.

It will help you bond: Being able to handle your bird will help you spend quality time with them. This will enrich their lives and prevent them from feeling lonely.

It will give them more freedom: A life in a cage is no fun, which is why most birds enjoy a bit of freedom daily with their owner. Whether that's while their cage is cleaned or it's playtime, it's an important aspect of your parrot's life. Without being tamed, this may not be possible.

If your bird bites or is scared of being handled, it can be difficult to give them the proper care they need.

An untamed parrot flying away

4 steps to tame a parrot

You can expect taming your parrot to take about two weeks. However, every parrot is different. If you have a very scared bird, it might take a little longer. Patience is key!

Step 1: Approach your bird's cage

The first step to tame your parrot is to get them used to your presence. They should eventually feel comfortable with you approaching their cage. But you need to build trust before you do this. If you walk straight up to the cage, you may frighten them, which will slow the taming process as they'll associate fear and stress with your presence.
Instead, approach their cage slowly without making eye contact and using slow and gentle movements. When you notice them becoming stressed, stop straight away. This may even be a few meters away from the cage, but that's okay! Stay put until you see them relax. Observe their body language for these cues.
Once they have relaxed, walk away from them. This has taught them that they are safe within that distance from you.

Approach their cage slowly without making eye contact and using slow and gentle movements. When you notice them becoming stressed, stop straight away.

A parrot alone in a cage

Step 2: Repeat this, gradually moving closer

The second step should be a repetition of the first step but moving slightly closer to your bird. This repetition will help build your bird's trust.
Remember to stop as soon as they show signs of stress and wait until they relax. Don't repeat this too many times in a day. Make sure you gradually decrease the distance over a few days so you don't overwhelm them.
Top Tip: Try giving your bird verbal praise when they relax. This will be the start of positive reinforcement training. Eventually, with time and patience, you will be able to approach the cage without your bird becoming scared.
A parrot leaving their cage

Step 3: Move your hand closer to the cage

Now your parrot is comfortable with you in their environment, you should work on getting them used to human interaction and, specifically, being handled.
To do this, they have to trust your hand first. So, you'll need to repeat the process you used to walk towards their cage with your hand.
When you are standing next to them, slowly move your hand towards the cage. Stop when become stressed and stay still. When they relax, move your hand away and verbally praise them.
A parrot standing on a perch

Step 4: Repeat this, gradually moving closer

As before, continue this process and gradually move your hand closer and closer to the cage. When you finally reach the cage, drop a treat into it to reward their good behavior. This will help them trust you.
The next step is to open the cage door and ensure your parrot is comfortable with your hand. Ideally, they may even eventually hop onto your finger!
Keep decreasing the distance between your hand and your parrot, pausing when they're uncomfortable.
Next Step: When you are close enough, outstretch your index finger like a perch and stay very still. If your parrot feels safe enough and confident, they may step onto it!
A parrot flying free

3 Tips for training a parrot

If you're training a particularly frightened bird, then you may find it quite difficult. Loud noises, sudden movements, and direct eye contact can reverse your progress. So, to make your bird comfortable and remain calm, follow these three top tips.

1. Calm environment

To train a parrot effectively, you need to keep their stress levels as low as possible. If they are afraid or distressed, then they will be distracted and won't be able to learn.
Ensure the environment is:

Quiet: Your bird's cage should be placed in the quietest room in the house. Try to soundproof it as much as possible. Don't have any music playing or the radio on in the background, and if there's a sound you can't control from your neighbors or outside, postpone your training session until it's a bit quieter.

Calm: Children running around or visitors coming and going will distract your bird. Ideally, the environment should be very calm. Make sure your own body language remains relaxed, as they'll be able to pick up on stress and tension.

Secluded: When training your parrot, you should be the only one in the room. Anyone else, no matter how quiet or calm they are, can distract your parrot in key moments of the training session.

A phone with a photo of a parrot on it

2. Good rewards

Whether your bird loves its food dish the most or a jelly pot, find the reward that will motivate your pet the most. Every parrot is different, so pay attention to your feathery friend and see what excites them the most!
Expert Insight: Make sure you use the same reward every time. This will help young birds understand that they are in 'training mode,' helping them focus.

3. Clicker training

Clicker training refers to the use of a small plastic clicker that should be pressed when your bird behaves ina way that you will reward. It should be pressed just before you give your bird a treat to reward them for the behavior.
This can be very effective because the sound is consistent and clear. If you use a word, your voice and intonation can change, making it difficult for your parrot to understand the verbal praise. This means they may misinterpret the behavior for which they are being rewarded.


How do you get a parrot to trust you?

Getting a parrot to trust you is important. Spend quality time around them, but don't push the boundaries. Take time to get closer as they get more comfortable slowly and remember to offer plenty of treats!

Can you tame a wild parrot?

Taming a wild parrot is pretty much the same as taming a pet parrot. It may take slightly longer and require more patience, but it is possible.

How do you calm a scared parrot?

You can calm a scared parrot by leaving them alone and not approaching them. Try to make the environment calm and make sure there are no loud noises.

How do you bond with a parrot?

You can bond with a parrot by spending quality time with them. Whether this is simply sitting in the same room or playing with them, over time, you will get closer.

What stresses parrots?

Parrots can become stressed by loud noises, lots of people in their environment, and being approached when they aren't comfortable.

How do I make my parrot not scared of me?

To make your parrot comfortable around you and stop being scared, you'll need to patiently tame them. You can do this by gradually approaching them and getting a little bit closer every day. Remember to award them with a treat!

How do I know if my parrot is unhappy?

Your parrot may be unhappy if it bites, doesn't eat, plucks its own feathers, acts withdrawn or fearful most of the time, and vocalizes a lot.

Final thoughts

It can be disheartening when your parrot seems afraid of you. But don't worry. This is perfectly normal for new birds as they get used to their new environment and new owners.
Remember to be patient, respect your parrot's boundaries, and be consistent. You and your bird will both benefit from these training sessions. Before you know it, you'll have a new best feathery friend!

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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