Teach Your Child to Care for Birds – 6 Tips

Translated by Nick R

I remember my first pet as a child was an Australian parakeet, his name was Oscar. From him and with the help of my mother, I learned a lot about such a wonderful species and the basics of its care such as changing his food and water daily and cleaning his cage. So, from my experience, I can tell you the best way to teach a child to take care of his new winged friend.

Why should a child have a pet bird? 

A pet bird will be the perfect companion for a child thanks to their diverse personalities, some of them are sociable and curious, and others are more independent and showy. The first ones are much more willing to interact with their owners and the others are used as ornamental birds to decorate a space or to fill it with songs.

In addition, it will be a good way to start promoting responsibility and empathy with other living beings, since their care becomes a little simpler and more delicate compared to a dog or cat.

Birds can also be a good source of entertainment for children, some species love interacting with humans, playing with toys, and exploring their environment. It all depends on the type of bird you adopt and the tricks you teach them.

Which are the most recommended birds for a child to care for? 

The decision of which bird to adopt is fundamental in terms of the upbringing you want to give them. Not all birds have the same ease to train, care for, and coexist with you outside their cages.  The species of birds I recommend for children are:

Australian Parakeet 

Australian parakeets are preferred by many people for their variety of colors, docility, and ease of care, as they are often recommended for people who are new to bird care.

From parakeets, children and adults can learn a lot about breeding birds of this family (“psittacines“), but the aspects that stand out the most are their intelligence, their particular simplicity to interact with their owners, and the daily activity they require, which is divided between games and long naps.


They are preferred for their ease of adaptation to human presence. A child can spend time playing and interacting with them, and they are also very cunning, which will facilitate the teaching of tricks. The best thing is that each one of them has a different personality, so choose wisely.

Keep in mind that cockatiels require a lot of attention and it will be an essential part of their care, always try to know the needs they have to avoid tragedies.


Children will love this bird for its constant singing and striking colors, yellow being the best known. Canaries differ from the other aforementioned species in that they don’t require so much attention, in this case, it will not be a bird to interact or play with but to appreciate and take care of.

Tips for teaching a child how to take care of a pet bird 

Teach the child basics about your bird

  • Before adopting or buying a bird for a child, educate the child about such things as feeding, differences from other pets, and how vulnerable they are if you plan to let the child handle them.
  • Learn and then explain to the child about some signs that may indicate that the bird is upset, agitated, or stressed and how careful they should be when holding it in their hands, as they can hurt it with the wrong amount of force.
  • Teach them that, even though it is their pet, the care will be shared by everyone and that they will only be able to play and interact with it when a responsible adult is at home.

Make your child and bird approach gradually 

The first contact between the new winged pet and the child should be gradual, that is, don’t expect the child to handle it or interact with it immediately, since, although some species may be used to human presence, creating affectionate bonds between them and their owners takes time and patience.

Do activities together 

The best way for a child to learn is through play, especially between parents, so the best advice I can give you is to perform any activity that involves the bird in the company of children so the little ones can deepen the basic care, ask questions and satisfy their curiosity about their new pet.

A good way to get closer to the bird and strengthen the bond will be preparing food to share; some species need to consume other food sources that people also eat, such as fruits and vegetables, so a delicious plate of chopped fruit would be good for them!

But remember that not all the foods you consume are suitable for them, so keep an eye out for prohibited foods depending on the species you have.

Monitor the interaction between your bird and the child 

If it gets easier to manipulate the bird and play with it, teach the child to do so when he/she is with an adult since birds, even if they are docile, can cause some kind of injury or aggression, especially large ones such as parrots or cockatoos.

Watch for the bird not to escape from the cage in case it is not used to get out of it and when the child makes any manipulation inside the home that requires opening the door.

Tricks for children and birds to get along 

An excellent way to introduce your bird to the presence of a child, especially a baby when there is no way to keep it quiet, is to feed it snacks in front of it. This will make it associate the baby’s presence with the satisfaction of tasting a delicious morsel of its favorite food.

If you want the child to be able to pick up the bird and spoil it but you are afraid he might drop it or hurt it and you don’t yet know how to get it out of the cage safely, you can grab it and wrap it in a blanket with its head uncovered so that the child can spoil it, following the recommendations you have read so far.

Birds are sensitive to your mood, so remind the child to be calm when interacting with the pet.

Be cautious with the child’s health 

Don’t be fooled by the ease of care of birds, being negligent with them can cause serious problems for your winged pet and put your child’s health at risk since in the animal world there are zoonoses, diseases transmitted by animals to humans.

Therefore, don’t delegate all the care of the bird to the child and be alert to any allergic reaction that feathers, droppings or dust may cause to the child, as it is often associated with asthma or rhinitis.

In the worst scenarios, inappropriate contact between birds and the child can lead to conditions such as parrot fever, in which the signs can present like those of a flu and progress to pneumonia.

Remember to teach hand washing to the child once he/she has played with the bird or had contact with any item used by the pet.

Some blogs of interest on raising birds 

Raising a bird has many more things to discover, below, you’ll find some other blogs that might help the child and you in caring for their new pet:

Basic guide to training any house bird + 5 easy tricks.

How to raise your pet bird out of the cage Is it possible?

How to get your pet bird and dog to get along?

5 Tips to get started in breeding and caring for pet birds + Tips for inexperienced owners