Best Birds for Kids that Don’t Need High Maintenance

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

So your little one didn’t ask for a pony or a little puppy for a first pet, they asked for a pet with wings— a pet bird. Not to worry, there are particular birds that make a great pet for young and older children. However, you will need to choose the right pet bird and ensure that you have the right conditions, such as enough flying space, to care for the pet bird. Here are the best birds for kids, that are family-friendly and don’t need much maintenance.

Can All birds Make Great Pets?

No. Not all birds can be kept as pets. Particular family-friendly birds are well suited for families; they rarely bite and make the best pets for children. Even then, these birds will need a healthy and safe environment, so first, you’ll need to carefully consider whether you have and can maintain the right conditions to keep a bird in your home.

Things to consider include avian veterinary care, ample space, cage cleaning, the right type of feeders, horizontal bars, hanging toys, social needs, and noise level.

Besides these, you need to consider whether your child can properly handle a bird or learn the responsibility and long-term commitment that comes with caring for a bird.

Tip: Just like some children would react to cat or dog dander, birds also carry potential allergens. Birds carry dust that can trigger the same allergic reaction. For instance, this dust could cause allergic reactions such as hypersensitive pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, or asthma. Additionally, birds sometimes carry mites in their feathers, which is another common allergen. Sometimes even bird droppings with fine dust can be an allergic trigger.

What Makes Birds Great Pets?

The best pet birds are a great pet option for children due to reasons such as:

a) Most birds have fascinating feather designs coated with strikingly bright colors and patterns. This makes them such beautiful, attractive, and pleasant animals to be around— a great source of endorphins, don’t you think?

b) Birds are intelligent and friendly social creatures who love to spend time with friendly humans or other birds. With enough time and patience, some birds can be trained to talk, mimic sounds, or learn some cute tricks. They also love to be petted. For instance, relatively larger birds like Lorikeets love to be petted and cuddled.

c) Birds quickly adapt to a new environment, so they can integrate really easily into families, making them ideal as first pets for many families with children. However, teaching your child the responsibility of pet ownership is paramount if you’re planning on getting a pet bird. This works best with an older child who can learn responsibility, as opposed to small children.

d) Most pet birds don’t require much space, so they’re great for people living in small houses or apartments.

e) Birds are loyal animals to the best owner.

Here are some pet birds you should consider for your kids:

10 Best Pet Birds for Kids

1. Finches

Finches are a small bird species that make a great pet bird for some children since they require minimal interaction and are quite easy to care for. They are perfect for young children since they are fascinating to watch. Their soft chirps and chatter also make great soothing ‘music.’

A Finch Makes A Great Pet Bird for Kids

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Finches are charming birds to keep. They can be taken out of their cage, but you shoulddoso withenough house preparation. For instance, it’s best to lock doors, draw curtains but leave enough light, cover possible harmful spots that can cause them injury or they could get stuck in, and others.

Finches do best with other finches; for this reason, it’s best to get two or more Finches so they can keep each other company.

Here’s what you should know about Finches:

  • Life expectancy is 3 to 15 years
  • Approximate length is 5 to 6 inches
  • Approximate weight is 1/2 ounce
  • Common physical attributes include a bright yellow, white, or red body

Finches can often be bought from a local rescue or animal shelter.

2. Canary

Canaries are a type of finch that’s also quite a popular pet bird species for children. They are perhaps best known for their sweet, sentimental, and melodic singing.

Tip: Male canaries sing better than females.

Interestingly, as lovely as these little birds sound, canaries are quite shy birds that do best in a quiet setting or around equally quiet or shy children.

Canaries are Shy and Do Well in Quiet Places

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As you would have guessed, Canaries are not social birds; they thrive in solitude and don’t need to be kept with avian companions, so a single canary will be just as happy being alone. Canaries also don’t require much attention, making them easier to care for and ideal for new pet owners.

Canaries are also not so fond of being handled; however, they enjoy interacting with humans from the safety of their cages. Even in their solitude, Canaries should be allowed to fly around to help maintain their happiness and health. For this reason, they’ll need large cages for ample flying space, specifically, ‘flight’ cages.

NB: Owners should never think of clipping a canary’s wings.

The flight cages should be kept away from drafts, the air conditioner, or direct sunlight since extreme temperatures harm these birds. They also need regular cage and feeder cleaning.

Like most birds, Canaries need their rest and do so best in the day and night (light/dark) cycle that affects their natural cycles. Artificial light may keep them up late, which is not healthy for them, so it’s best to cover the Canary’s cage at night.

Here’s what you should know about the Canaries:

  • Life expectancy is up to 10 years
  • Approximate length is 4 3/4 to 8 inches
  • Approximate weight is less than 1 ounce
  • Common physical attributes include yellow underparts

Most wild Canaries have a greenish-yellow body with yellow underparts. With selective breeding, domestic Canaries come in different bright colors, which include red, orange, white, and yellow. However, yellow is still the most common.

3. Dove (Pigeon)

Doves (pigeons) are popularly known for their gentle and sweet dispositions. Unlike other birds, like the Hard-beaked hookbill parrots, doves have soft beaks and rarely bite or do anything that will damage their softer beaks. This also means it will help to use calm and positive socializing and bonding techniques with doves.

Doves Popularly Known for Their Gentle and Sweet Dispositions

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Doves are a great match for an older child who understands the need to maintain a low noise level, how to stay calm, and treat them gently.

Like most birds, doves need avian companionship and do best when they stay in pairs. Doves do well with mirrors and swings inside the cage to increase their number of activities.

Doves should also be allowed to fly free or interact with familiar humans occasionally.

Here’s what you should know about doves:

  • Life expectancy is 10 to 25 years
  • Approximate length is 11 to 13 inches
  • Approximate weight is 5 to 8 ounces
  • Common physical attributes include pure white/gray/ white and gray/tangerine/orange body color with black eyes, black beak, and dark purple feet

Ultimately, doves are great pet birds for naturally more reserved kids.

4. Lovebird

Lovebirds are colorful little birds that are one of the smallest parrot species. Interestingly, they have all of the intelligence and personality of the largest Macaws.

Lovebirds are One of the Smallest Parrot Species

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Despite this, these cute little birds are fairly quiet, making them ideal for kids and families living in apartments or condos.

Here’s what you should know about Lovebirds:

  • Life expectancy is 10 to 20 years
  • Approximate length is 5 to 6 inches
  • Approximate weight is 2 ounces
  • Common physical attributes include a green or orange upper body and head, blue lower back, red beak, and white eyerings

They are quite social and thrive in pairs, so getting a group of them will help them stay healthy and thrive.

5. Budgie (Parakeet)

Budgies (Parakeets)⁠ are colorful little bird species originally from Australia. They are relatively much easier to care for and can learn to talk.

Budgie (Parakeet) are Much Easier to Care for

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Budgies have such gentle personalities, so it helps to keep the noise levels low around them, making them most suited for older children who can maintain this. Parakeets love to bond with their human friends, which makes them wonderful avian companions for kids.

Here’s what you should know about Budgies:

  • Life expectancy is 7 to 15 years
  • Approximate length is 7 inches
  • Approximate weight is 1 ounce
  • Common physical attributes include a light green body with black wings and a yellow head

Budgies also come in colors such as gray, blue, green, violet, white, yellow, and blue.

6. Cockatiel

If you prefer a relatively larger bird for your kid, Cockatiels are a great option; they are larger than Budgies and Finches. They are pretty smart and can learn to talk, whistle, or do little tricks, making them one of the best pet birds for kids.

Cockatiels Are Relatively Large Birds

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Cockatiels do much better with older children who can devote enough time to play with them. They also thrive on a good amount of time out of their cage, so they will require a little more cleanup work than Budgies or Finches would need.

Here’s what you should know about Cockatiels:

  • Life expectancy is 15 to 20 years, but some have lived as long as 30 years
  • Approximate length is 11 to 12 inches
  • Approximate weight is 2.5 to 3.5 ounces
  • Common physical attributes include a light gray body with a long, dark gray tail and a yellow and gray crest. It has a yellow face with an orange ear patch, a white on the wing, and a dark gray bill

Cockatiels are best for kids who really want to learn and tend to them.

7. Pacific Parrotlet

Pacific parrotlets are miniature parrots that are perfect pet birds for kids and families that want a small bird but also want a parrot at the same time.

Pacific Parrotlets are Miniature Parrots

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These birds are quite small and require less space than the larger parrot.

Pacific parrotlets are a little pricier, but they can live quite long— so the investment is definitely worth it in the long run.

Here’s what you should know about Pacific parrotlets:

  • Life expectancy is up to 20 years
  • Approximate length is 5 or 6 inches
  • Approximate weight is 30 grams or more
  • Common physical attributes include a green dusty grey cast on its body, a bright green mask on its face with a light pink beak

Keep in mind that Pacific parrotlets can also be a little harder to find at rescue centers and pet stores.

8. Quaker (Monk) Parakeet

The Quaker parakeet, otherwise known as the Monk parakeet, is a colorful medium-sized parrot that is fun and easy to handle. They also love being cuddled and petted.

Quaker (Monk) Parakeet is A Medium-sized Parrot

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Quaker parakeets are quite intelligent. They easily pick up on words and learn to mimic them as your child verbally talks or plays with them. They can also be taught plenty of tricks. They are gentle and friendly birds that bond pretty quickly with children. One way to help Monk parakeets bond with children is by hand-feeding them.

NB: Here’s how to properly feed pet birds.

These birds are quite small, so it’s important for children to learn safe bird-handling techniques. They are fairly easy to clean up after, even for children.

Here’s what you should know about Pacific parrotlets:

  • Life expectancy is 20 to 30 years
  • Approximate length is 11 inches
  • Approximate weight is 4 to 5 ounces
  • Common physical attributes include a bright green, white or blue body; a gray chest extending to its cheeks. It has a throat that resembles the colonial-era Quaker clothes with an orange beak

Like all the other pet birds for kids, Quaker parakeets need to be fed on the healthiest diet, which includes particular seed mixes, leafy greens, pellets, and other vegetables, for them to live longest.

9. Lorikeets

Lorikeets are fun birds to have at home; they are easy to tame and love hand-feeding. They are also quite intelligent and can learn to talk or mimic sounds. This makes it quite easy for them to bond with multiple family members.

Lorikeets are Easy to Tame and Love Hand-feeding

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Lorikeets have such an active demeanor, so they will need you to devote time and engage them with a lot of activity, so having DIY or bought toys in the cage is key. Besides keeping them active using toys, these birds require undivided attention and aren’t the best option if you have other house pets.

However, if you’re all about birds and birds alone, then Lorikeets make the perfect best friend and pet.

Here’s what you should know about Lorikeets:

  • Life expectancy is 12 to 15 years
  • Approximate length is 9.8 to 11.8 inches
  • Approximate weight is 2.5-6 ounces
  • Common physical attributes include rich multi-colored plumage. The bird has a blue or mauve head, a blue belly with an orange-red neck and breast, and green wings, tail, and back

Kindly note that male and female Lorikeets look so much alike.

10. Bantam Chicken

Bantam chickens are miniature versions of regular chickens. They make such great pets for kids because they have a friendly and cuddly nature bursting with energy.

Bantam Chicken are Miniature Versions of Regular Chicken

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There are 3 types of Bantam chicken; ‘true’ Bantam chicken, miniaturized Bantams, and developed Bantams. ‘True’ Bantams are naturally occurring (no human input) with no large fowl counterpart. For instance, Nankins and Rosecombs are true Bantam chickens.

Miniaturized Bantams are made from a standard breed of Cochin, Orpingtons, and Rhode Island Red.

Developed Bantams are breeds that have been further developed with some human input.

Here’s what you should know about Bantams:

  • Life expectancy is 7 to 9 years
  • Approximate length is 8 to 14 inches
  • Approximate weight is 26 to 32 ounces
  • Common physical attributes include a Walnut comb, fluffy feathers in black, white, gray, and blue color varieties

Bantams do poorly under hot conditions and thrive in the cold. These birds do well in ample confinement but also love to roam around.

What Should You Consider Before Buying a Pet Bird for Your Child?

A) Pet Bird Size Preference

Pet birds will come in different sizes and colors, with the larger birds being friendlier and more social. Most love being pet and hand-fed. Others are intelligent enough to mimic sounds and learn how to talk, so they make great companions.

However, they are slightly pricier and need relatively more in terms of maintenance cost; they eat more and require larger equipment. They are louder, and their beaks can be relatively more painful.

On the other hand, smaller birds can be a little shy or anti-social and work best for a single person rather than families, but they are quite charming and delightful. Smaller birds are ideal pets for beginners because they are less pricey to keep and low-maintenance. Most small birds, like the Finch, do best in pairs.

B) The Cost of the Pet Bird

This goes way beyond the bird’s purchase price. The overall cost of a bird depends on things like the bird’s species, your home location, and whether you plan on buying from a professional breeder or a pet store. Like any other pet, you’ll need to purchase food pellets and dietary supplies such as seed mixes and fruits, the right-sized cage, and a cage cover.

If you are going for a large bird, you’ll also need to consider bird-proofing the room as well.

In Conclusion:

When getting a pet for your child, you should always consider their safety first. Avoid going for birds with strong, hard beaks, especially if you have a younger child. For instance, parrots have such a tough beak that they can do irrevocable damage, even if it’s just by mistake. It can cause permanent and severe scarring to the thin skin of a child.

Remember, the larger the bird, the louder its screech, so you should consider your family’s hearing safety. Some large pet birds can be as loud (in decibels) as a jumbo jet that’s taking off.

Ultimately, the best pet birds for kids will depend on what you want, how old your child is, and what you can comfortably afford to maintain. The bottom line is, like all pets, birds will need some level of maintenance but still make the perfect pet for a child. Happy aviculture!

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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