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Lovebirds for preschool aged children (4-6 yo)

Nanana

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Hi everyone,

I am interested to hear everyone's opinion regarding whether lovebirds are appropriate for children 4-6 years old.

I have a handfed companion lovebird that I personally trained and put a lot of effort into raising him to be the bird he is today. My boyfriend's nieces have taken a liking to the bird, I rarely let the 5-year-old hold my bird - this child is much calmer than the other, I have not let the 4-year-old handle the bird despite her protests.

Now the children's parents saw how much their daughters like my bird and have talked about getting a bird for them. I don't think the parents have raised or kept any pets before, not even a dog or cat let alone a bird.

I know there can be many red flags to this situation, but instead of saying what my hunches are, I would love to hear from about your experience of lovebirds and young children.

1. what are the pros and cons?
2. what are things to look out for?
3. am I worrying for no reason?
4. any other tips and input are welcome.

Thanks so much in advance!
 

LunaLovebird

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Children really aren't up to the responsibility, IMO. Moreover, children that young are likely to inadvertently be a little rough, and liable to get bit for their troubles. They would need to be heavily supervised. If the parents are ready and willing to be completely involved in looking after it, then I would think it would be okay, but they would need to be fully aware of what's involved in looking after something like a parrot. Basically, it would have to be the parent's bird. The other thing of course is that the lovebird they end up with might not like the children at all. What happens then?

Things to look out for would be how they respond to you outlining what's involved. It's important to gage how invested they'll be in its care, and what their expectations are. Will they be okay with giving up things like Teflon and scented candles? Are they willing to take the bird to the vet as needed? Are they prepared for mess? Can they offer a bird the amount of out time it needs? Are they going to be committed to providing enrichment daily? A large cage? Will they be willing to spend the time building trust? Are they okay with being bit?
 

JaclynBin

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I've found lovebirds to be rather unpredictable. One of my birds randomly takes a disliking to guests within my house and even I've been nipped by her for irrational reasons based on her mood at the time. I think it would be hard to ensure that these birds are completely gentle with children and vice versa. Children that young typically take things very personally and are apt to respond to violence with violence, such that if they get bitten they might react harshly and injure the small bird. Additionally, I've nieces and nephews around that age and I can't imagine that they'd be able to comprehend the bird taming process. The parents have to understand that these birds are really not inherently friendly unless properly handled over the course of many months/years and that to keep a bird with a gentle temperement requires luck in terms of the birds personality and plenty of positive trust building.

A lovebirds lifespan is fairly long as well. If the family decides on a baby bird, they should do so knowing that the pet in question will hopefully still be around by the time the kids are grown up and out of the house.
 

LilSprout

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I'm of the opinion that parrots and young children don't mix at all. They need so much care that a child would not be able or willing to provide and they can't understand that a bird has boundaries and how to recognize when a bird is scared or angry and eventually anyone owning a parrot will be bitten no matter what because that's just how they are and I don't think children are prepared to deal with that risk and respect the bird as it needs to be respected as an intelligent animal with complex needs and emotions
 

Pipsqueak

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I have a five year old daughter and a nine year old son. We have a dog, two GCC and a cockatiel. All animals are family members and ultimately my and my husbands responsibility but my kids do help. My daughter brings the birds downstairs in the morning and entertains them while I am preparing their food. And in the evening they take the birds upstairs and put them in their sleeping cages. My son is more quiet and careful and most liked by the cockatiel, my daughter handle all animals well. My husband gets bitten by the moody conure but my daughter just deals with the bird, I don't know why the bird does not mind her. The difference with birds is comparing to dogs or cats is that they come on their own terms , you cannot just cuddle and pet them. But when the kids understands they can certainly form a bond. Regarding the care , I never understood why adults would allow children pets they do not want, of course the care often falls on the adult and the financial responsibility.
 

fluffypoptarts

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I agree that young children and parrots (especially small ones) do not mix. Birds are way too fragile.
 

Lady Jane

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Totally agree that children are not good with birds of any species. The fast movements and loud sounds of children scare birds. It really does not matter how large or small the bird is. Wait until your children are old enough to understand the needs of companion birds. I would say in the teens.
 

Big Badeepie

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My immediate, knee jerk reaction is this:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

However. . .if the parents happen to be into birds, will supervise every moment the kids have with the lovebirds, will take the time and energy to teach the kids how to care for birds, know how to care for lovebirds themselves, will see to being sure they are on a healthy diet, do the research, bring them to the vet for checkups and if otherwise needed, understand that this is a long term commitment and will be the primary care takers, then maybe.

But in the end, I honestly think the kids need to be a good bit older before even considering getting them a lovebird. Think about it, you won't let the youngest hold your bird and I have no doubt you are right over the older one's shoulder when you let her hold your bird. Your reaction alone should answer your question for you.
 

Rolanda

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I have my two birds, and honestly my 8 year Old is the Mustache Parrot's 'person', however I am COMPLETELY responsible for him. He LOVES to cuddle with my son, does his flock call for him only, looks for him talks to him, and I believe they have a bond. He The bird does what I say though. There is no way my son could take care of him. My son has chores in taking care of them but that's about it. He does not have the maturity to take care of himself, let alone another living creature. Any adult that gets a creature FOR a child is fooling themselves if they think the child will actually take care of it. I would be VERY cautious with a Lovie around children. They are beautiful, and COOL but they are also Nippy and temperamental.
I would say NOOOOO! IF the parents get a Lovie, and let the children help take care of it that is one thing but children that young should never be left alone with the bird, and absolutely never together with the bird. Can you imagine a fight over a small bird like that with a 4 & 5 year old?
 

sunnysmom

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As cute as lovebirds are, my experience has been they can be nippy. Not necessarily a good thing with small children. And they are small and fragile. I really don't think any bird is a good idea for a small child.
 
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