When finding the best bird pets for children, you must take into consideration the kinds of birds that are compatible with kids. Each bird species is unique in more than just its appearance. Bird species require different levels of time, attention, commitment, and even space. So, which types of birds are most compatible with children?
Seven types of birds that make great pets for children are:
Still, knowing that a certain type of bird makes a great pet for a child is not enough for you to make the decision of which type of bird to get. You must consider the ages of your children, your lifestyle, and your budget for starters.
What to Consider Before Buying a Bird for Your Household
Before buying any kind of pet, there are important topics that need to be discussed.
Some of the questions you should ask yourself before buying a pet bird are:
- Do I really want a bird as a pet?
- Is the bird compatible with my family, especially my children?
- Do I have time to care for a bird?
- Am I able to afford to keep the bird healthy?
- Am I willing to clean up after the bird?
These questions will help you narrow down your thought process when it comes to deciding if a pet bird is right for your family or not.
Do I Really Want a Bird as a Pet?
The first and most important question to ask yourself is if you really want a bird as a pet. Birds are not like cats and dogs; they require special treatment, and they are known for making quite a mess in their cages.
Is it really a bird that you want, or do you just want a pet? Bringing a pet bird into a house with children will foster immediate emotional attachment between the child and his or her new pet bird. It is devastating for a child to remove a pet from that child’s home once a bond has been made. You can prevent this heartbreak by being certain that it is a bird you want as a pet.
Is the Bird Compatible With my Family, Especially my Children?
Think of the type of lifestyle your family lives. Do you travel often? Is the house empty for more than half of most days? Some lifestyles are not suitable for any type of pet that is high maintenance, like some birds can be.
Think of your children. How old are they? Are they rough? Are they able to understand how to properly care for a bird? These are all valid questions when deciding not only if your household is right for a bird, but also which type of bird is right for your household.
Do I Have Time to Care for a Bird?
Birds take just as much, if not more, time as more common pets. Cages must be cleaned regularly, and you must put forth time to help your bird adjust to your home and family members.
Some children will be old enough to share the responsibility of integrating the bird into the family, feeding it, giving it proper attention, and cleaning its cage. Other times, children are too young to share in the responsibility, and it falls solely on the parent. If you work long hours or must travel often, a bird may not be right for your family.
Am I Able to Afford to Keep the Bird Healthy?
Birds are live animals that require attention to their health. Veterinarian visits cost money, and some veterinarian costs can be expensive. Being the owner of a bird will require research on your part to understand how sicknesses can be spotted in birds and to learn the diseases and sicknesses that only occur in birds that you may be unaware of.
Am I Willing to Clean Up After the Bird?
Birdcages are notorious for being messy, and they need to be cleaned regularly. Because the cages are not surrounded by solid walls, some of the mess will end up on your floor. If you have small children, you will want to make sure that the floor is regularly cleaned as well. It takes careful attention to make sure that you keep your bird’s area clean.
Which Birds Make the Best Pets for Children, and Why?
There is an overwhelming number of bird species that exist; however, there are only a select few that are suitable as pets for children. Once you decide that you want a bird as a pet, all you must do is see which one suits your needs.
#1 – Finches
In general, finches are easy to care for, friendly, and don’t take up much space. This makes them an ideal choice for smaller homes and apartments.
How to Care for Finches
- Finches are very social and do not thrive when kept alone. It is recommended to buy finches in pairs. You can keep two of the same gender. If you decide to buy a male and a female, they may breed. If this is your choice, plan in case you have finch babies.
- They live for up to 7 years. Be sure you are willing to put in the years with your finch.
- Since finches are normally kept in pairs, be vigilant with noticing sickness symptoms because one may have to be kept separate from the other, so it doesn’t spread its sickness.
How to Interact with Finches
- Finches are known to be friendly birds that rarely leave their cages. They do not need to fly around, and they are content staying in their cage, chatting away.
- They do not care for being handled by humans often. They will, however, socialize with the other finch in the cage with them. Remember they are happy just to put on a show in their cages.
- Finches are great for children because they are simple enough to care for those children over the age of 8 can normally care for them without any troubles.
- They rarely bite.
What You Need Before You Bring Home Your Finch
- Finches are not climbers; they are flyers. Because of this and the fact that they are most often kept in pairs, they need large cages.
- If the cage is too small for both birds, it can cause territorial disputes between them.
- Because finches are active, there are some items you will want to purchase for your finches’ cage.
- A couple of perches
- Plastic toys for them to chew on
- A small bathing dish
- Finches must be fed once a day. They do not follow a seed only diet, so you will need to be able to supplement their diet with fresh greens.
Finches are talkative and love putting on shows. This makes them appealing to children who will love watching their pet birds interact with each other and fly in their cages. Older children can be active caretakers, allowing them to learn responsibility. Another kid-friendly aspect of finches is that they rarely bite.
#2 – Canaries
Canaries are known for their beautiful singing, but they are rather shy birds that can be quiet for long amounts of time. They are members of the finch family.
How to Care for Canaries
- Canaries thrive when kept alone. They are not social birds and should not be housed with another bird.
- Like their finch cousins, canaries do not require lots of attention, so they are easy to care for. This makes them perfect for beginner bird owners.
- Canaries have been bred for three specific purposes – color, conformation, and song. It is beneficial to decide which breed of canary is right for your family before buying.
- Canaries can live up to 10 years. Plan for a long-term commitment when choosing this type of bird for your family.
How to Interact with Canaries
- Canaries are not fond of being handled. However, they are known for interacting with their owners from the comfort of their cages.
- Put toys in your canary’s cage. They enjoy things like swings and hanging wooden toys. Make sure to organize them in a way that does not interfere with your bird’s flying space.
- If you want a canary specifically for its beautiful singing, make sure you purchase a male.
What You Need Before You Bring Home Your Canary
- Canaries are birds that love to fly. Their cages need to be large enough to allow them room to fly around as they please.
- Canaries may not want to leave their cage and be handled by their owners, but they love flying around and playing with toys to show off for their owners. Put things like perches, swings, hanging toys, and leather strips in their cages. Be careful not to obstruct the flying space for canaries.
- For feeding your canary, you may want to pick up the following items:
- Food dish
- Plastic tube water feeder
- Quality seed or pelleted food
- Fresh greens for daily supplements
- Do not keep your canary in a home where there is smoking or in a room where there are fumes and vapors from cooking. Canaries are really sensitive to air quality.
If you want a pet bird that will perch on you and show affection when handled, the canary is not for you. However, if you are happy with a bird that loves to put on a show for his or her owners by flying around his or her cage and playing with toys, then a canary may be perfect for you. Better yet, if you want to sit back and enjoy the gorgeous singing of a beloved songbird, grab yourself a male canary.
Canaries are especially kid-friendly because they don’t have to live outside their cages. This minimizes any risk of your child and your bird having issues. Additionally, canaries are not aggressive birds and rarely bite.
#3 – Budgies/Parakeets
Parakeets are social birds that love interacting with their owners. They make loyal and loving companions for their humans. Some of them can even learn to mimic up to 100 sounds!
How to Care for Parakeets
- Parakeets are versatile birds in that they can be happy alone and living with another parakeet. If you have the time to spend playing with your parakeets every day, then owning only one of them will be fine. If you cannot spare time to interact with your parakeet regularly, buying a second parakeet can help your bird thrive.
- Spend a few minutes each day cleaning your parakeet’s cage in order to keep it clean and your bird healthy.
- Place your parakeet’s cage against a wall in a room that family members spend lots of time in, but make sure it is away from any room that fumes can come from.
- Give your bird time outside of his cage, so he can enjoy more flying freedom. It’s recommended to do this once a day.
How to Interact with Parakeets
- Remember that parakeets are highly social birds; they can even get lonely and unhappy if they do not get the attention they need from their owners. One way you can socialize with your parakeet is by singing to it. Most of the time, it’ll sing right back!
- Parakeets like the security of being covered, so purchasing a cage cover to place on their cage while they sleep is recommended.
- Spend time each day talking and whistling with your parakeet. If your bird is going to mimic sounds, this is how he will learn to do so.
- Feed your pet bird while holding it in your hand! This can help your parakeet learn to trust you. Be patient, though. It may take a few tries for your bird to cooperate fully.
What You Need Before You Bring Home Your Parakeet
- Purchase a cage that has horizontal bars that are less than half an inch apart. Parakeets love to climb, but you do not want them to get their heads stuck in the bars.
- To outfit your bird’s cage, you will need:
- Food bowl
- A water drinker
- A perch
- Toys like bells and ladders and toys that can keep your bird entertained (parakeets are intelligent birds and they require regular mental stimulation)
- Be prepared to offer your parakeet a diet that consists mostly of pellets that are supplemented with seed mixes and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Parakeets, also known as budgies, make truly amazing pets for children. Because they are so social and interactive, they are good choices for children who are naturally inquisitive and playful. The process of teaching the parakeet to mimic sounds is entertaining and fascinating, especially for young minds. Be sure to teach your children how to properly handle the parakeet.
#4 – Cockatiels
Cockatiels are a great choice of pet for older children who have the patience and desire to devote time to their pet bird and learn about it. Cockatiels can learn to talk and do cute tricks, making them a fun addition to your family!
How to Care for Cockatiels
- First, make sure that you have proper time to spare for your pet cockatiel because they are a little more work than other types of birds and need a time out of their cages.
- Be careful when handling cockatiels. It is important that your entire household knows to handle their pet bird gently. If you accidentally compress a cockatiel’s chest, it stops them from being able to breathe.
- Trim your cockatiel’s nails every couple of months since your bird cannot wear them down itself on rocks and branches.
- Give plenty of opportunities for your cockatiel to interact with you; this helps keep your pet happy.
- Bring your cockatiel to the vet annually to be screened for illnesses that they can develop.
How to Interact with Cockatiels
- Spend time training your cockatiel to talk, whistle, and do tricks. Reward them with treats when they progress, and you’ll have them talking in no time!
- Cockatiels enjoy cuddling up to their owners and having their feathers and cheeks rubbed. They also enjoy being out of their cages in the same room with you while you do quiet activities like reading.
- Cockatiels use their whistles and feathers to let their moods be known. Pay attention to the things your pet cockatiel does to learn how to listen to him.
- Show your bird off! Cockatiels are gentle enough to be shown to strangers. They will even interact with them. Be sure to remind everyone to handle your bird gently.
What You Need Before You Bring Home Your Cockatiel
- A cockatiel’s cage must be large, preferably over 2 feet tall and around 2 feet wide. It needs at least some horizontal bars for your bird to climb.
- Do not purchase a stainless steel cage because it has zinc and lead which are poisonous to birds.
- For your cockatiel’s cage, you’ll need:
- Two food bowls (one for wet food and one for dry food)
- A cage shirt to catch thrown seeds
- 3 or 4 perches
- Multiple toys that your bird can play with, interact with, and chew
- Make sure that you purchase a number of toys, so you can switch them out regularly, preventing your cockatiel from getting bored.
- A cuttlebone for your bird to get calcium
Cockatiels are the ideal pet bird for families with children. They are actually hailed as a great choice for a first pet, as well. Young and curious minds will be fascinated by the process of taming and communicating with their pet cockatiel.
#5 – Lovebirds
Lovebirds are another affectionate bird with loads of personality. However, they are more suited to experienced bird owners or older children that can spend the time each day to socialize with their lovebird in order to keep it tame.
How to Care for Lovebirds
- Most people believe that lovebirds must be kept in pairs, but it is possible to own a single lovebird and keep it happy with regular attention and care.
- Because lovebirds can sometimes exhibit signs of aggression, a male lovebird is the best choice of a pet because they stay tamer than females.
- Lovebirds require daily attention in order to stay tame and friendly. As long as they are cared for properly, lovebirds make amazing companions.
- These birds are very energetic and always ready to play.
- If you choose to buy a pair of lovebirds, keep them in separate cages while you bond with each of them. Putting them both in the same cage from the get-go will cause them to bond with each other, sometimes so much so that they don’t bond with their owners.
How to Interact with Lovebirds
- It is easiest to tame and bond with a baby lovebird by hand-feeding it and talking to it.
- If you introduce a second lovebird at a later time, keep it in a second cage right beside your original lovebird at first. They can get to know each other while the cages keep them safe from any aggression that may surface.
- You can train your lovebird to “talk,” do fun tricks, and even sit on your hands. It’s wise to reward your bird with a little treat when it does well.
- Lovebirds love “riding” on their owner’s shoulder!
What You Need Before You Bring Home Your Lovebird
- Lovebirds need large cages because they are very active and playful. Find a cage with at least 18x18x18 dimensions. The bars should not be more than ¾ of an inch apart, and horizontal bars should be on at least 2 sides.
- Lovebirds need perches of various sizes and shapes to help their feet stay strong.
- The smallest perch should be about ½ inch in diameter.
- Get perches made of different materials – wooden dowels, natural wood, rope, and bonded sand are some options.
- At least 3 perches should be placed into your lovebird’s cage.
- Find a safe, raised place to place your cage that is away from air vents.
- Being housed in a room with light helps lovebirds thrive.
- Your lovebird will require a diet of pellets, birdseed mixes, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Lovebirds can even eat cooked whole grains – like brown rice – and sugar-free cereals.
- Include a food bowl and a water holder in your bird’s cage.
- Having a cover for your lovebird’s cage is recommended because they should get 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night.
Lovebirds are a great choice for older children. Older children will be able to patiently put in the work to tame and train their pet birds, and then they can have a blast showing off how cool their bird is!
#6 – Lorikeets
Lorikeets are sweet, loving birds that are known for being funny and forming strong bonds with their owners. They have active, intelligent minds and require lots and lots of throwaway toys that they can exercise their beaks with.
How to Care for Lorikeets
- Hand-feeding a baby lorikeet will result in the easiest taming, and it also helps the bird bond with its owner. Additionally, lorikeets can bond with other family members as well, making it an affectionate pet for the entire family.
- Be prepared to give your lorikeet sufficient quality time, or it just might shriek at you because it’s upset!
- Lorikeets normally do not flourish in homes that have other pets. However, they will more than makeup for it with their desire to entertain their owners and make them happy.
- Lorikeets tend to make messes inside of and around their cages, so be prepared for a bit more cleaning than with other pet birds.
- Lorikeets need lots of exercises to maintain their health. Make sure they are provided with a large cage and at least 3 hours of time out of their cage daily.
How to Interact with Lorikeets
- Lorikeets are very talkative. They can learn an impressive amount of words and are always looking for ways to use them.
- In addition to being able to learn words and interact with them, they are also very good at learning tricks and love to show off their skills.
- Lorikeets love to be petted! So, don’t be afraid to just sit with your lorikeet, talk to it, and pet – it’s a great way to bond.
- Keep a close eye on your lorikeet because they are intelligent enough to learn how to let themselves out of their own cages.
What You Need Before You Bring Home Your Lorikeet
- First, you’ll need a large cage, at least 3 feet high, 4 feet long, and 28 inches wide, that can house various perches, swings, and toys for your active lorikeet while still allowing room for it to fly around.
- You’ll want plenty of disposable toys that rattle, jingle and make other noises to put in the cage. It’s a good idea to remove noisy toys from the cage at night, though.
- Purchase or make “foraging toys” for your lorikeet. Foraging toys are toys that can have things hidden inside of them for your pet bird to find.
- Lorikeets have a rather unique diet compared to other birds. In the wild, they survive off of nectar, pollen, and a small number of insects, fruits, and berries.
- You can purchase lorikeet food mixes to feed your bird.
- You can feed your bird wet food mixes as well, but make sure to remove them from the cage soon after your bird is done eating.
- Uneaten food must be removed from the lorikeet’s cage every day.
Lorikeets are another pet that is well-suited for older children who are interested in a companion that will love them immensely and do funny tricks for them. Even young children can enjoy pet lorikeets because of their tendency to want to entertain everyone in the room.
Birds may not be a traditional pet for children, but certain kinds of birds can make interesting and educational pets for children. Taming and training pet birds is an adequate lesson in responsibility that kids can benefit from. Most birds, no matter how kid-friendly, do require parents to do some of the handling and care, especially in the beginning to teach the child how to care for the bird himself.