Can You Keep Crows as Pets?

Crows are known to be a farmer's worst nightmare. But is keeping a pet crow a smart idea? (Hint: it's not!)

Members of the Corvidae family, that includes magpies, ravens, and crows, among other wild birds, in plain English, they are commonly known as the Crow family, or for a bit more "science-y" speak: Corvids.

Here's something fun: did you know that crows are super intelligent for wild animals their size and are one of the most intelligent birds ever studied?

Yes, these omnivorous scavengers are really cool and fascinating to look at, and if you are a bird lover, you might have wondered if these black beauties can make good pets or not. (Can you imagine it: having a crow as your feathered best friend?) Well, we're here to tell you why having a pet crow as an exotic pet is not a smart idea.

Why Pet Crows Are a Bad Idea

If you think it's as simple as taking in a rescued baby crow: think again.

While crows are wild animals at heart and cannot be expected to be domesticated, it's also considered illegal to own a crow as a pet in North America. Crows are covered under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, making it illegal to harm or cause any damage to these wild birds, let alone keeping these intelligent animals as pets. That being said, you can obtain a special permit to own one. However, it's extremely difficult to get one.

Crows also require A TON of special care and attention. For example, you can forget about a cage! Unlike birds like macaws or parrots, crows cannot be kept in a cage; these birds have a hard time transitioning to a captive life where they cannot fly freely. It's not like your typical cat or dog where you can just stick them in a kennel: crows need a lot of room to hop and fly as well as needing proper mental stimulation. They can only do well in a large outdoor aviary, even though that might also be hard for them to adapt to.

Being loud, social creatures, crows need to be in the company of another group of crows to be happy, being the only one will often lead them to be depressed and miserable mentally.

Plus, feeding a crow can be quite difficult: as omnivores, crows are known to eat both meat and greens. In order to feed a captive crow, you'll need to replicate this as best as you can, which can get difficult. Some crow owners just give their pet crows dog food, but actually, it's best to give them fresh roadkill, which best mimics their diet in the wild... um, no thank you!

So, it's probably best to stay away from keeping crows as pets, if you want to get up close and personal with these wild birds, you can try becoming a Wildlife Rehabilitator or just volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center!

Have you ever thought of having a pet crow? Let us know on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

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