How to Socialize a Pet Bird

Most pet birds are social creatures. They are used to being part of a flock. When you bring your bird home for the first time, you are inviting the bird into your flock. What you may not realize is that you've taken it away from a flock it already knew. Socializing your bird will go a long way in helping build a long-lasting relationship and will make your bird easier to handle in case of a veterinary emergency.


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    Research your bird's species as possible. Do they eat together? Sing together? You'll want to mimic these behaviors as much as possible.
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    Try eating with your bird, as this is a pretty typical behavior for flocks in the wild. Prepare a meal that is safe for the bird and that you can eat.
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    Invite the bird to eat what you're eating by exaggerating the deliciousness of your food. For example, "This is so good!" Of course, your bird will not understand the words but can understand your tone and demeanor.
    • If your bird won't eat, try 100% apple juice. Pour a small amount into a shallow bowl and invite your bird to have a taste. The smell of the juice should be enough to attract the bird.
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    Persevere. This will take time, but within two months, your bird should be on its way of trusting you. You'll know you've done it right if your bird squawks anytime you leave the room.

Dealing with a Stubborn Bird

Understand that birds are very smart, but also very immature. Think of them as an impatient 5 year old: they need attention and patience. At the same time, you are its parent. You likely know better than your bird. If your bird refuses to socialize, you may need to force your bird to do so. It may sound mean, but allowing your bird to live an isolated life is far crueler.

  1. Consider trimming your bird's wings. When a bird cannot fly, it must rely on you for transportation. Trimming wings does not hurt the bird in any way; it is similar to clipping a person's fingernails. It may even save the bird's life! Trimmed wings still give your bird enough flight to glide safely down.
  2. Handle the bird by holding down it's wings. If you have a large bird, this may require two hands. As long as you hold the bird tightly, it will not harm the bird. Get used to the bird struggling because you will have to hold him this way to clip it's nails or to pull a blood feather.


  • Spend at least one hour a day with your bird. Whether this is eating, watching TV, brushing your teeth...your bird should be with you whenever possible.
  • As with any training for any animal, consistency is key. You need to provide your bird with consistent, dependable companionship.
  • Give your bird small treats,such as small apple chunks,whole grain cereal or a piece of banana. Offer it in your hand so they will not think your hand is a threat.
  • Try to eat with your bird as often as possible. This will reinforce the flock mentality.


  • Be patient with your bird. No matter how calm your bird may seem or how friendly he may get, your bird is still a wild animal. It is not truly domesticated.
  • Birds will become antisocial when you do not give them the appropriate attention. This can lead to plucking and overall anxiety. If this happens, visit your vet immediately.

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Categories: General Bird Care