How to Pick Training Rewards for Teaching a Parrot Tricks

Learn how to pick training rewards for teaching a parrot tricks from Parrot Wizard Michael Sazhin in this Howcast video.

Now, I’d like to talk about actually selecting treats for your parrot. A good way to start is to get a parrot mix. You get a parrot seed mix from a bird supply store. This is food that you generally shouldn’t be feeding to your parrot, the sunflower seeds, safflower seeds. These are not necessarily the healthiest food for your birds.

Ideally, they should be on a pellet diet. However, during trick training, you can let them indulge in some of their favorite treats. The way to find out which of these foods specifically your parrot likes the most, you can find out by offering them all to your parrot in a bowl, and seeing which ones it takes first.

Keely, come here. All right, which treat do you like the most? All right. Keely went right for the sunflower seed, and that’s going to be obviously her favorite. What we can do now, is we can try some others like for example, I have this black seed and the white seed right here. I can give her these two, and see which ones she’s going to take first, and learn which one she prefers. She goes for the black seed first. I’ll offer her a little piece of pellet and a white safflower seed, and see which one she likes. She likes the pellet more.

So, by offering your parrot a variety of foods, you can observe and learn which are its favorite, and use those for trick training. Keely’s favorites are clearly the sunflower seeds, so I’m going to withhold those the most. I’m only going to give her the sunflower seeds when she’s doing the best possible job. Then, when she’s doing an okay job, I’ll give her some of her secondary favorites, such as the pellets and the safflower seeds. If she does a bad job, I’m going to give her no treats at all.

That’s how you pick treats for your parrot.