I have read budgies usually do not begin to talk until they are six months of age, and that if they are not talking by 12 months, they probably won’t. I also understand that single birds kept as pets are more likely to talk than pairs, for the pairs are more interested in talking “budgie-talk” to each other. I also understand that males are more likely to talk than females, although I don’t know why. However, some females do, indeed, learn to talk.
The key to getting your pet to talk is: REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT. Select three short phrases, and repeat them almost constantly. “Pretty bird” “How are you?” “Where’s Rolly?” “Night, night” are examples. If you repeat your selected phrases often enough, you will suddenly realize you have trained yourself (!) and that you are saying them without even thinking about it. It may help to write the phrases on a card and tape them near the cage for all to see. That almost always gets any visitors to say the phrase to your budgie (and will remind you, too!) and really reinforces the lesson.
One day, your eyes will fly open when part of your consciousness realizes you heard one of the phrases, spoken very, very, very quickly, but in the same intonation as your own voice. Once your bird figures out how to create the sounds of the words it hears, it will get better and clearer and faster, as it practices. As soon as your pet picks up a phrase, add a new one, but continue to repeat the old one.
I am fortunate to be at home during the day, so Cricket started talking at about three months of age. Now, he is saying a new phrase, almost every day, and stringing phrases together, of his own accord. He speaks more English, now, than “budgie” and he is only five months old.
Repetition, patience, persistence. It can be hard work at the beginning, but it reaches a turning point where the bird almost starts to teach itself, so be careful with what you say… it could fly back to haunt you! Good Luck!!