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Best Birds for Kids

By: Alex Lieber

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You want to introduce a bird to your home but aren't sure what breed will fit best in your hurly-burly, kid-populated household. Finding the right breed for your home is not hard. The real trick is to teach your family the proper way to take care of the new family member. Make sure they know that birds are sensitive to rapid changes in temperature, air quality and diet. In addition, rough handling can easily injure them.

Never buy a bird or any other pet with the belief that it is the child's responsibility to take care of it. And always supervise your children when they handle your pet bird. In fact, children under 6 years should not handle birds at all. Because of general temperament and size, the following breeds should fit well with your household:

  • Conures
  • Budgie
  • Cockatiels
  • African greys
  • Finches
  • Love birds
  • Canaries

    These breeds are not only intelligent, but they also possess sweet personalities. Cockatiels do particularly well in families with children. They have been domesticated for more than 100 years. Finches and canaries are interesting for children to view, but not to handle. These species are more delicate than the rest.

    Birds that have been hand raised make far better pets – they will be more accepting of you and your children as part of their "flock." Under your supervision, have the children give the bird a treat as way of introduction. Whenever you let the bird out of the cage with your children, have them give the bird a treat. This will make the bird associate your children with something positive.

    Instruct your children never to poke their fingers or other objects through the cage. It may seem like a game to your kids, but the bird may see it as a threat. Likewise, don't force your child to socialize with the bird if he or she doesn't want to.

    Depending upon the age and maturity of your children, they can help take care of the bird. You can show them how to clean food and water dishes. They can also help feed your bird, especially during treat time.

    Older children (over 11 years old, although it really depends on the child's maturity) can get involved in teaching the bird tricks.

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