Can I Have a Parrot? Pleeease?

April 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Whether kids should be able to own parrots is a rather controversial topic. Some say kids ten and up should, some say all kids should, some say no kids should. I might as well put in my two cents, which are these:

Age is important.

Children 1 – 7 years old should not own parrots. When you buy a parrot for your child, you’re accepting that the child will get bitten. There’s no “maybe,” and children under eight certainly shouldn’t be bitten. However, pigeons and doves (which I’ll go into more detail about later) are wonderful alternatives for children over five.

Children 8 – 13 years old can have a easy beginner’s parrot. Budgies and Cockatiels are good choices; other parrots are probably not acceptable. However, if you buy your child a parrot, realize that you will be the primary caretaker. It’s unrealistic and unfair to assume that your child will be the primary caretaker.

Children 14 – 15 years old can have more difficult parrots. Conures, some larger species of Parakeets, and other medium-sized parrots are probably acceptable. However, remember that the acceptability for a parrot can depend on your child’s maturity, and not every child is the same.

Children 16 – 18 can have most any parrot. Remember, however, that as parrots live for many years, you will probably have to care for him while your child is at college.

Your child’s personality and maturity level is just as necessary to consider. 

If your child is energetic, rather immature, and/or tends to jump into things, a parrot isn’t right for him or her. Parrots are very cautious animals, and won’t trust a kid who isn’t prepared to take their time while playing with his/her parrot. And “playing” isn’t necessarily what you’ll do with a parrot; dogs, for example, are predators, which means they’ll enjoy predatorial activities including playing tug-of-war, fetch, running with their owner, etc. Parrots will not do any of these things, which can disappoint many children.

Children must be committed, thoroughly research parrots and understand what they’re getting themselves into, prepared to be cautious, aware that bites will happen, and ready to take all the special measures parrot owners must to have a happy, healthy, and friendly parrot.

In short, whether your child is ready for a parrot is up for you to decide. Children and parrots can be best friends, as long as you understand the following:

  1. If your child owns a parrot, he/she will be bitten.
  2. You will be the primary caretaker, and responsible for feeding, cleaning the cage, veterinary care, etc. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect your child to do certain chores, but be ready in case (s)he grows bored of his/her parrot.
  3. It’s up to you to decide if a parrot is right for your child, based on his/her responsibility, maturity, and personality.
  4. You will probably have to care for the parrot while your child is at college.
  5. You are responsible for overseeing that the parrot’s needs are being met, and that he/she is not being neglected, mistreated, or abused in any way.

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