Finding the best breed of bird for a child is not as important as determining whether your child is the type who would like a bird as a pet in the first place. Birds are sensitive and need caretakers who understand their ways. Most kids younger than 12 are probably not mature enough to understand the needs of a pet bird to care for it properly. There are always exceptions, though, and some kids are great with pet birds.
You may tell your child that you are buying the bird for her, but never give a young child sole responsibility over the bird’s care. Children can forget to feed or give water to the bird, can get too busy to spend time with the bird and may even lose their temper with the bird, which could actually put your child in danger. Birds are prey animals that do not do well with angry outbursts, and if confronted, could bite your child. You should supervise your child when she is caring for the bird. Children younger than 6 years of age should not handle any type of bird at all, according to PetPlace.com.
What Not to Buy
Most children, attracted to talking parrots, are probably going to beg you to get one. Don’t give in; a parrot is not a good choice for a child or for a bird beginner. They are too loud, too expensive, have challenging mental and emotional needs and can be too much to handle, according to Dummies.com.
Birds with the best temperament for a child are canaries, finches, budgies, lovebirds and cockatiels. A canary is OK when left alone and can entertain itself by singing. Finches are another good choice, but you have to buy them in pairs and have a larger cage to accommodate them. A budgie, also called a parakeet, makes a good pet for an older child who is willing to spend some play time with the bird and to tame the bird. Budgies like to play and have toys. Lovebirds are acceptable for children, but they are challenging and energetic birds. They need daily interaction with your child, and they require a play gym, toys and perches. Cockatiels make great pets, but they frighten easily, so your child must be aware of this. Cockatiels need toys, perches and play time with your child. They also need a mist bath once a week.
If your child intends on handling the bird, get a hand-tamed cockatiel. Your child cannot handle canaries or finches at all because they are too delicate. Your child can handle a budgie, but budgies can injure easily and can be fussy .
Your child may think that poking his fingers through the cage is a way to play with the bird. Instruct him that birds get scared of that sort of behavior and that the bird will think your child is trying to hurt it. Also, don’t make your child play with the bird if he doesn’t want to because he may begin to resent the bird.