Birds and New Babies

Try not to listen to all of the negativity out there about raising babies and birds. It is possible to do both and have both be happy and well adjusted. The most important thing for you to plan on doing is to set some time aside daily for your bird. Keep in mind that there will be no such thing as a schedule in the first few weeks or more of your baby's life, so you will have to make time as you can for the bird. If you are planning on breast feeding (a great idea for many reasons, but my doctor says if you have pets breast feeding will lessen the chance of allergy, asthma and zoonotic disease potential to your child) , it will be more difficult for you to find time in the beginning for much else (time you can count on anyway) so it will be very helpful to have "back-up" people so your bird does not get lonely. It will be most important to see that he is continued to be socialized even during the first few weeks of the baby being home. If you can do as I suggested and ask family to help, it will be easy to accomplish that.

I think a lot of the problem people have with birds and new babies is that when they get home, they spend little or no time with the bird (sometimes out of necessity), and the bird becomes unsocialized. This leads to behavior problems and the problem "snowballs" from there. Regardless of whether there is a new baby in the house or not, if you have a bird who is being neglected, he will develop problems which will then create problems for the owner. You can nip this in the bud by making sure your bird is socialized throughout the hectic first few weeks of baby being home. Now, to find out how he might act with a little human competition, you might try swaddling a doll ( I know this sounds strange but is worth trying) in a baby blanket and talking, rocking and cuddling with it. See how he reacts. This may be a helpful exercise to help you determine how jealous he might be with the real thing. This will help you to determine the level of jealousy (if any) your bird may show, however, I would never assume anything and would never take any chances leaving your baby and bird in close proximity until you have had the baby home long enough to know how your bird may react to him and until you are sure the bird will not react negatively. If you find that your bird is aggressive towards the infant another thing you can do is to find a special treat your bird really likes and offer that treat only when the baby is near the bird. For example, if you are walking by the cage with the baby in your arms have some of the treat in a pocket and offer it to the bird. By doing this repeatedly, you will eventually create a positive association for the bird to the baby. Keep in mind there is likely to be some adjustments on everyone's part with the addition of the baby to the household. It will work out and will just take some time.

I thought I had it bad trying to get my birds to adjust to their new schedule (or lack of one) until I had a friend over recently who has two children. She has a 20 month old and a 3 month old. She began telling me how she can't leave her 20 month old around the infant because he will hit him, pull his ears, poke at him, etc. He doesn't really understand what he is doing and is very jealous of the new baby. She was working on ways to alleviate the jealousy. After hearing that, I was confident I could deal with my birds  [(smile)]  The most important thing is to work some time out for the bird daily (whether it be with you or another family member, not to take any chances that the bird may bite the baby, and to try to create a positive association between baby and bird. Remember your bird may spend more time in his cage initially and that doesn't mean you will need to give him up. Once you have more of a routine and are able to feel comfortable with the two of them, things will get better again. Your bird is a part of your family and will have to adjust like everyone else. Once that is accomplished, he will be happy to still be a part of your family (instead of being given away because of the new addition) and will also have a new playmate once he/she is old enough to appreciate him  [(smile)]

Resource Article Tag: