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Pretty_Poe
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PostSubject: Best Bird for children?   Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:56 pm

So, I have always been the "cool" auntie (the fact that I am the only auntie doesn't count!).

Since I brought Poe home, my sister has been talking about getting birds for her family. She has had finches and canaries in the past, but is not familiar with parrots. She has 2 children - 7 and 5 years. The birds would be members of the family, and not just the responsibility of the children, but the kids would be very involved.

I personally love the idea of my sister getting birds for the kids to interact with - I think birds make fantastic additions, are great educational tools (not to mention SOOPER entertaining) and would teach some excellent responsibility and care - and as the "cool" auntie have taken it upon myself to discuss this with my sister, make sure she is serious, and then say "Well okay, then! I'll be showing up at your door with all the supplies and taking the kiddos and you fid picking some weekend very soon!"

My first fids were budgies when I was about 10, and I am leaning towards these as first birds for my niece and nephew as well (I definitely would not go the GCC route - if Poe is any example of what a playful GCC is like, the "beaking" when playing may frighten young kids).

I am wondering if there are any other suggestions for small, family friendly, adaptive birds, though as budgies may just be my first choice because I am still fairly uneducated on all of the different species and their behavioral patterns.
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:16 pm

Hee Hee... I tend to agree with you on the GCC thing. They're the right size for kids, but they do tend to be beaky, and on 5 and 7 year-old skin, that could be painful. And despite the fact that I breed precious budgies, and I think they're wonderful, The more time I spend with birds the more I am coming to believe that hand-raised cockatiels are about as close to a perfect kids bird as you can get.

They're small enough that they're not intimidating and are easy to hold, but large enough that smaller kids cant get their hands around their whole bodies to grab them. Kids don't always seem to grasp the concept of "don't hold tight, the bird will die" very well.

That said, I also honestly believe that with adequate research, preparation, visits to full-grown birds (rescues, breeders, etc.), and time, ANY bird can be the perfect first bird - kids, no kids, budgie or macaw.

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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:35 pm

Well, that is an awesome idea! I didn't even consider it - even though I had a 'tiel as a teen, and the hubby and I are considering bringing one home in a few months as a "feathered buddy" for Poe.

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patdbunny
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:09 pm

If you get an untame budgie, you or the parents have to tame it for the kids first. Not fair to set the kids loose with something that bites and then get upset that they loose interest.

Tame tiel or tame bourke. Those have my vote. The bourkes are sweet but don't really "do" anything. A nice tame tiel will love scritches. Bourkes are also super, super quiet.

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GlassOnion
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:30 am

Cockatiel! Smile Budgies are too small and flighty and I'm honestly scared about it possibly getting lost due to an open window or such. Flighted Cockatiels are easy to manage IMO, my Apple is a darling!
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:20 am

If and when the bird no longer is interesting to them, are you or your sister prepared and capable of providing the bird a home?
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:39 am

^ that was actually was the first thing I thought of as well. But I did read that this will be a family pet(?) so I'm assuming that if anything happens with the kid, the parents will take charge with the bird.

However, if the pet is truly for the child... Tiels can live for over 20years, what happens to it when the kid grows up to show more interest in going out or when it goes awa to college?
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:35 am

She mentioned it would be a family pet. Not just the kids, but the kids would be involved.

I think a cockatiel would be a fantastic choice. They're big enough, and a hand raised baby would be nice and calm.

When I was still living at home, my little brother who would of been 4-6 years old. Einstein was my bird, but he was in love with him just like I was. There were days where he would come home from school, run up to my room, and tell Einstein all his little secrets and stories from the day. When he had friends over, he proudly showed off Einstein.

I think as long as your sister is willing to keep the responsibility of the bird, it's a great idea.

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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:16 pm

I understand it is a family pet, one safest for and geared towards the children. I don't think what I asked was unrealistic, as a mother of two myself. Any bird, the right bird, can be great for kids. Reality is MOST kids lose interest then the parents get sacked with the bird, and after a few years "they don't have time" and it ends up on Craigslist. My point is, get a bird the parents will want when the kids lose interest (which may or may not happen).
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:36 pm

Julsiebean wrote:
If and when the bird no longer is interesting to them, are you or your sister prepared and capable of providing the bird a home?

Most definitely! The bird is actually something my sister wants, and I am simply gathering all the information for her as she is ... well ... a wee bit internet illiterate, and providing everything as I enjoy being "the Cool Auntie" who shows up at the door with awesome gifts and things to do.

Ultimately, the bird is going to be my sister's Fid, and she is a stay at home mom with a great interest and love for all things feathered. The children are going to be greatly involved, though. I can't imagine bringing an awesome new friend into their home and asking the kids NOT to touch it and feed it and and and and (my niece's voice is going through my head right now with all of the things you HAVE to do to keep the birdie happy Laughing ).
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:39 pm

^That is awesome! I hope your sister joins! I am raising 3 young parrots right along with my kids Smile It sounds like this future fid is in for a great home!Very Happy
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patdbunny
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:22 pm

Oh yeah! I'm excited and I'm not even the one looking to get a new bird!

Tiel. Get a nice tame tiel.

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GlassOnion
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:25 pm

If the kids are gonna be gentle and want a cute whistler or even a talker, a male cockatiel for sure. They're a bit clumsy though. If they want more acrobatic cuddly thing that burrows in their shirt and pockets and naps in their hair, a lovie or a green cheek conure. It really depends on their lifestyle and their expectations in a bird.
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:35 pm

A bit clumsy? That's an understatement Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:48 pm

Alright, so information regarding budgies and cockatiels will be passed along for sure...

Before I send her everything I have learned, does anyone have experience with Lovies and children? Most of what I have read is fairly positive, but I am the type who likes hearing things first hand...
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:51 pm

My first hand experience is lovies are hit or miss. I've met the absolute SWEETEST lovies and the absolute NASTIEST lovies - all handfed. Seems tame little lovie males tend to be the nicest. For future reference in case the family get bit by the multi-bird bug - lovies tend not to play well with others.

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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:18 pm

Well, Zaza.. I didn't want to generalize all tiels in case there are exceptions Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:38 pm

Lovebirds really are a big hit or miss. Finding a tame lovebird takes a lot of work. I truly believe the majority of lovebirds do better with a mate. Female lovebirds are insane. I had two until recently, and while I loved them they were as cute as can be, they were hellions and completely off limits to the kids. Those little beaks HURT and have no rhyme or reason.



I'd go with a baby green cheek. The nippy factor is easily cut out with regular handling and established limits. My green cheek will go to anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:48 pm

So, what I'm getting so far is that Cockatiels are a definite winner with kids. From what I am hearing, lovebirds are just too risky to try with young kids.

My sister loves the idea of a green cheek, the only concern really is the "beaking" when playing.

I am going to send her the info on 'tiels, budgies and gccs, along with what I have gleaned from the comments on here and let her make the best decision for her family - ultimately, the choice of which species is brought home is not up to me, but I can make some recommendations!
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:59 pm

You can teach birds self-control and bite inhibition (aka MANNERS). Then it becomes a matter of if your sis and family have the skill to teach a bird. If a GCC bites the crap out of them (possibly bloody), are they going to be afraid and tentative, thereby possibly making the behavior worse?

Tiels are easier to deal with in general while they learn how to interact with birds.

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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:06 pm

Does she plan on clipping or allowing flight? Having a clipped bird is easier in terms of managing with open windows/doors, but a flighted bird is easier to entertain and exercise, which is much healthier for them.

I would highly suggest an Aviator Harness and harness train it from a baby because clipped OR unclipped, a bird needs a harness when going out in public. A single gust of wind or a sudden fright can have a clipped bird flutter into a bicycle or into the traffic.
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:21 pm

id vote for a cockitiel we had one when i was younger he was tame and i loved him sooo much! i think he was a male he sang all day and he was one of the nicest birds we ever had.
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:23 pm

my green cheek bites...he is tame...i am sure he does it on purpose just to get me going....he will play nice for a while then all of a sudden WHAM, he gets me
a tiel sounds to me like your best choice


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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:43 pm

i vote a tiel
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PostSubject: Re: Best Bird for children?   Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:45 pm

patdbunny wrote:
...If a GCC bites the crap out of them (possibly bloody), are they going to be afraid and tentative, thereby possibly making the behavior worse? ...

Exactly my concern - if they become frightened by a nippy bird in the process of training the bird out of being nippy, it may scare the kids away permanently.



We spent hours going over information, looking at everything the bird needs, going over the comments I have gotten here, and have decided that a hand fed male cockatiel is the winner! So, when I go visit in March I will be arriving at her door ladden with birdie home and supplies and will be taking her and the kids to pick out a new friend (did I mention that she is two provinces away? This works well for me, as it gives her almost 2 months to let it sink in and make sure it's not just a spur of the moment want. Also, Skype is awesome).

All this research and discussing cockatiels has made me want to bring a feathered buddy home for Poe. In a little while. After we're all fully adjusted. Maybe in the summer....
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