Some people worry that their children and pet birds shouldn’t interact for fear that the child or the bird will get hurt. With proper training, your pet birds and children can get along just fine.
Some people who have birds also have children, and they’re not sure what to do when it comes to bringing the two together. If you take some time to train your bird and teach your children, it is possible for pets and kids to get along in many cases. I’ll share some of my experience to help you along.
The first thing you should do before bringing your pet birds and children together is make sure your bird is comfortable and well-trained. Make sure the bird has a space of its own, away from the children, where it can get accustomed to its surroundings and feel comfortable. After that, you need to take steps to train your bird to be comfortable with people.
You will need to have your bird hand trained. It should be comfortable with being picked up and being petted. It should have no major issues with people coming in and out of its perceived territory. Also, get the bird used to noises and fast motion if you can. This will minimize the risk of the bird having a stress-related heart attack if your child should make a loud noise or a lot of movement.
Once your bird is trained, it’s time to move on to the child. Make sure the children know that they should be quiet and move slowly near the bird to keep it from getting scared. Teach them how to pick up the bird, how to pet it and what to do if the bird seems agitated. You can use a cotton ball to teach kids how hard they can pet a bird without hurting it. If they can pet the cotton ball without smooshing it, they can probably pet the bird safely.
When you first bring the children into the bird’s area, keep them at a distance and let the bird get used to them being in the room. Let the children play or talk a few feet away from the cage so the bird gets used to their presence. Once you are sure that the bird is comfortable with them, you can then allow the kids to get closer while you watch. Never allow children to interact with your bird unsupervised unless you’re sure they’re old enough to be responsible. I do not recommend allowing children under 5 years old to interact with the bird at all.
As you slowly bring the bird and child together, be there to help both parties feel at ease, and watch for any signs that one might harm the other. Sometimes everything will go great, other times not. You need to be there to take action if anything happens. Don’t let the children spend too much time with the bird at first to avoid any stress. Child/bird interaction time can increase over time.
If you’ve trained your bird and taught your kids well, you should be able to allow them to interact without much worry. A friend of mine brought over his daughters, 5 and 7, and I was able to have them interact with my bird. They loved it. I gave them a quick course on what to do before letting them in the room, and my bird was well trained. Everything went great and the kids had a ball. Take a little time and your children can enjoy your pet bird as well. Teaching kids how to interact with and care for pets at an early stage will also give them a greater respect for animals as they grow older.