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Is a Cockatoo Right for My Family with Young Children?

From Matthew Barrier a LinkedIn connection

 

yo Mitch whats a good bird for a family with little children. ive heard of stories of cockatoos i think umbrella’s crawling up into bed with little children and snuggling… 

 

anyways would love to hear your thoughts… 2 yr old and 13 yr old

 

 

Hi Matthew – Cockatoos can be the best of pet birds, affectionate, smart and playful. That said they can be VERY loud (click here for a real 135 db Mouluccan Cockatoo ear blast) and cockatoos are highly destructive which is why the majority of caged bird keepers fail. Read this thread for a list of household items destroyed by a a pair of TOO’s

 

they can easily pierce skin and break bones

 

the best bird to start with is a single parakeet. – they’re smart and make great talkers. They can also be trained to a high level skillset as shown by Norm Barrett .

 

 

they are small birds with small brains. if you can handle the noise and mess of a Budgie multiply that by 100 when thinking about a cockatoo.

 

hope that helps
mitchr

 

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I have worked with cockatoos extensively at the rescue where I volunteered. One of the most frequently surrendered birds is the cockatoo. Even experienced bird people often cannot commit to them long term. They don’t realize they are getting a feathered two year old child in possession of a bullhorn, pliers and a saw!
    These birds are full of personality and one can’t fault them for being who they are. Personally I wish they were not purchased as pets..they should be in the wild, eating the shingles of roofs in Australia.

  2. Amen to the noise comment! I love my Goffin and Moroccan, but the latter is especially loud. They have their own air conditioned sun room but they want more attention than I can give. I am leaving them to Walt Disney World where my vet works….maybe I should turn them over sooner! I’d miss the kids, though!

  3. This is true. Start with a budgie, proceed to a cockatiel and if your children seem to be really into it, then get a small conure or G2….By that time, you should be able to tell if your kids will be bird lovers and committed to having birds in their life for the foreseeable future or if it was just a phase…as most kids go through with guinea pigs and hamsters. Nothing wrong with that! But a cockatoo requires so much more. Most people (and kids) are not prepared to give up the time and money to care for these birds. Nothing wrong with that! Just like not every kid that plays an instrument in band should or would want to go to Julliard, most would also not choose a life where a big bird as a cockatoo takes up a huge chunk of time and commitment. For years and years, even while they are busy having spouses and babies.

  4. This comment is from Judy

    Hi bird folks. Although I have a lot of varieties of birds, my only hookbill for quite a few years is my roommate Max the Cockatoo (aka The Big Pink Chicken). Max and I have been living together since he was 5 (he is now 30), and I agree they are not a good choice as a pet for small children. I was reading your comments about the best bird for children to start with (a budgie was suggested). May I suggest another possible choice? I realize this isn’t something most people think about, but in my opinion, having kept many, many species of birds over more than 50 years, the very best pet bird to start children with is a young pigeon.
    Pigeons come in many beautiful varieties; my first were Oriental Frills (check out photos on the internet) and most people would not even realize these were pigeons. Pigeons become extremely tame if handled when first weaned, and will fly to their owner and sit on their arm or shoulder, including outdoors, and will not fly away from home. If necessary, they can be kept in an unheated garage where throwing seed on the floor is not an issue. They do not chew; they are not destructive. They are QUIET. THEY DO NOT BITE.

    A young pigeon, in my experience (having raised both pigeons and parakeets) is more affectionate with its owner than a budgie. They are inexpensive: I, and many other pigeon fanciers, will handraise a baby to be a child’s pet for a price ranging from free to $25. They do not require expensive bird cages; they live very happily in one of the wire mesh dog “crates” with some pieces of 1 x 3 pine wedged in for perches . They live a long time; easily 15 years. Although they will never talk, they can be trained to do tricks just as well as any of the big hookbills you see performing at the zoo shows.

    It may not be a bird you see in a pet store, but they are definitely good pets. I’ve seen a fair number of children lose interest in birds very fast after being bitten by their pet parakeet a couple of times, and unfortunately the average parakeet tends to be nippy when grasped in the average child’s hand. Pigeons, on the other hand, when held with the chest supported in the palm and the feet back between the fingers, appear perfectly comfortable and content to be stroked and petted. They are a little larger and more sturdy, and better suited to being handled by children than parakeets, with less danger to either participant!

    Just my opinion, but another option to consider to give a child a start in aviculture

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