Picture location: New Mexico, Shown: Capri, Jamieleigh and our Blue Throated Macaw Jinx
A parrot's age varies depending on what you are specifically wanting to train it. However, I view training as something that is unavoidable. To me, every interaction with your bird is a training session whether you like it or not, or are even aware of it being so, or not. Because training does not require a food reward in every case for every action, I believe training can start when parrots are simply babies.
Simply having positive interactions with your bird (rewarding your bird's gentle baby behavior and wantness to be around you with things it likes ie; petting on the head, sweet words/tones and quality time and games is positive training to me. When my birds were about 4 months old and were at the age to fledge, yet still hand fed a bit, I'd allow them to fly short distances (1-6 feet) to me to get their formula.
This eventually graduated to a completely weaned, adult bird doing the same behavior at greater distances for treat rewards like sunflower seeds, almonds or pine nuts (or whatever your bird's preference is). As birds get older they will likely expect a food reward along with a secondary non-food reward.
For instance, some birds bond closer with some members of the household and simply flying to that person to BE with them is reward enough for the bird. We use that a lot. You could use a perch or toy your bird loves being with as its reward, and that can happen at any age. On the same token that a baby bird can train very basic interactions, older birds are never too old to train. Parrots are so very capable and clever.
The only times I would refrain from training is when it's an older bird whose circumstances have had its muscles severely atrophied to the point of pain when trying to build the proper muscles for flight training. In those circumstances, which I have sadly seen before from a bird being kept in too small a cage most its life, it's better to train that parrot behaviors that will not cause pain in the muscles.
Behaviors like talking on cue, waving, and retrieving. Running, hopping and climbing can usually be incorporated for birds who for whatever circumstances cannot fly. In conclusion, you can train a bird of any age but how you do it will vary.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.