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View Full Version : I think I would like a Crow as a pet. Is this a good idea?


Super Kapowzler
11-19-2009, 06:55 PM
Crows can be highly intelligent, or so I have read. I would like to raise one from a baby/chick for about a year, or maybe less, until it is old enough to fly away and not decide to come back to captivity.
The two hardest parts are WHERE to get one, without being in a tree getting my eyes pecked out, and what to name it. Jim Crow is a good name, Old Crow is an all-time favorite. Crow Yeller, Mr. Crow, are also good names.
They seem to be able to eat everything we do, so I could give it scrap bacon and eggs, let it peck on the remnants of a T-Bone, etc.
I've read you can teach them words.
Are crows a good idea as a short-term pet? They are a social as a cocker spaniel, according to what I have read.
My grandpa used to tell of a crow that would fly in through the open door of the barber-shop and just hang out with the old men.

DocCathode
11-19-2009, 07:02 PM
It's a shame Corvus Brahcyrhincos is no longer with us.

IANA Ornithologist-

Why would it leave? Unless it gets lost, I see a crow bugging you for years to come.

Every one I've known who has raised or nursed a crow tells me that they have a strong, offensive odor.

Raising a crow may also be illegal in your area.

psychonaut
11-19-2009, 07:16 PM
Every one I've known who has raised or nursed a crow tells me that they have a strong, offensive odor.My ferret once caught a crow in a park. (Amazingly, she was on a leash at the time, and was also wearing a harness with a bell. But she can move very quietly and stealthily when she wants.) Anyway, she didn't kill the bird; she just dragged it by its tail to me, by which time the poor thing was stunned. Since there were dogs about, I picked it up and held it until it came to and flied away. I had it for several minutes and didn't notice any odour.

Xema
11-19-2009, 07:26 PM
I have a friend who some years ago had a pet crow. He said they are excellent in many ways: intelligent and very loyal. He never mentioned any sort of odor issue. But he said that once imprinted on humans they are with you for life.

You might want to consider a raven. They are more intelligent than crows - probably the smartest of all birds. They can be lots of fun, but also quite mischievous. They will tend to depart when the migration urge hits. If you wish to consider this you should certainly read Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich (an excellent book even for those who have no interest in keeping a pet raven).

Note that permits are probably required to legally keep crows or ravens. A good lower-maintenance bird that would not require a permit is a starling.

Whatever bird you get, you probably want to take it from the nest between the time it gets its proper feathers and when it learns to fly (not typically a long time).

MrTuffPaws
11-19-2009, 07:57 PM
It's a horrid idea.

1. It is possible illegal for you to do so depending upon where you live

2. If you raise the bird from a chick, it won't have any of the learned skill that wild crows will have and will most likely starve, be quickly eaten, or become a pest to the humans around it.

3. Crows live a long time. This isn't some happy fun experiment, but a commitment.

Jackmannii
11-19-2009, 08:00 PM
You might want to consider a raven.All the tapping at your chamber door can get to be an annoyance, though.

Markxxx
11-19-2009, 08:24 PM
When I was a kid Goldblatts Department Store used to have a pet crow named Sam for sale. No one ever bought it that I recall, but he used to swear. I didn't know crows could talk. Of course being 7 years old at the time, I thought a swearing crow was hysterical.

Simplicio
11-19-2009, 08:38 PM
What's the reason owning them is restricted? They're certainly not endangered. West Nile?

capybara
11-19-2009, 08:43 PM
Pardon for asking, but are you set on a crow, specifically? What about another sort of bird, like a parrot of some sort?

DocCathode
11-19-2009, 08:46 PM
What's the reason owning them is restricted? They're certainly not endangered. West Nile?

I'm pretty sure the law is decades older than West Nile. But my Google fu is weak tonight.

Found it. Crows got protection from an ammendment of the Migratory Bird Act in 72.

TreacherousCretin
11-19-2009, 08:51 PM
The father of a childhood friend of mine had a crow. I don't remember the living arrangements except that "Charlie" spent at least part of the time in the house, but was regularly taken outside and released. He'd take off for parts unknown to do whatever crows do, but always come back when Mr. Haler went outside and called his name once or twice.
He was with them for several years.

And yes, he was REALLY smart.


.

Shagnasty
11-19-2009, 10:03 PM
I had a female high school friend that had a pet crow. It was really smart and could talk some. I have also heard that ravens are scary smart in the way that humans use the word but I am not sure I am not sure that I would want to take on that commitment myself because you may have to deal with it for a very long time. It is most likely illegal in your area as well. Tigers are probably much easier and cheaper to get legally initially and I mean that literally. Look up exotic pets online. You can buy all kinds of things easily but crows aren't among those as far as I know because of the Migratory Bird Act mentioned above. That is one harsh set of laws. I always wanted a Hyacinth Macaw and those are legal in many places but incredibly expensive and can easily outlive you and maybe your children too.

Smeghead
11-19-2009, 10:24 PM
They're definitely NOT short-term pets. Corvids are fairly long-lived, IIRC, and they will bond to you for life.

fisha
11-19-2009, 10:28 PM
My dad had one growing up, he said they were smarter than hell. He still can caw like one.

Illustration of a crow making and using a tool. Scary.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lcvbgq2SSyc

dracoi
11-19-2009, 11:03 PM
I don't think it's smart to have anything as a "short-term pet" especially if you're raising it from birth/hatching. Either it's a pet and you should be fully responsible for it, or it's wild and you should enjoy it in the wild.

My wife and I talk about our pair of "pet ducks" but they're wild - we feed them for a couple of months when they first migrate into town, until they go away to lay eggs, raise young and migrate away. They come back to our yard to demand more food each spring.

As others have mentioned, birds can be very long-lived. My grandparents inherited a particularly obnoxious macaw are were dismayed to learn that it would probably outlive them (macaws can apparently get 80+ years old).

I have heard that crows/ravens can be kept as pets, but you should buy them domesticated from a breeder, not try to capture an egg or hatchling. Even besides the obvious legality issues, you're better off having that breeder to teach you how to care for the thing.

Maastricht
11-20-2009, 02:45 AM
There's a book for everything. (http://amazon.com/s/qid=1258702900/ref=sr_pg_2?ie=UTF8&rs=1000&keywords=crow%20pets&rh=n%3A%211000%2Ci%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Acrow%20pets&page=2)

A friend of mine had a pet caw.

Blake
11-20-2009, 02:52 AM
... and what to name it.

Quoth.

Markxxx
11-20-2009, 06:15 AM
Pardon for asking, but are you set on a crow, specifically? What about another sort of bird, like a parrot of some sort?

No because if you get 4 and 20 crows you can put them in a pie and eat it. Can you eat a parrot?

I even heard about a whole bunch of crows that can not only count but they can also sing songs about American girls.

:)

You can't own crows really, Birds are subject to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migratory_Bird_Treaty_Act_of_1918). This law includes essentially all species of birds, not just those typically considered migratory. Pigeons and Starlings are examples of exceptions

But there are ways around this

For instance you can adopt wild birds from rescue shelters. You can even get rapters at these places.

Here's a full text of the act from Cornell University (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/16/usc_sup_01_16_10_7_20_II.html)

kayaker
11-20-2009, 10:45 AM
As an indoor caged pet, keep in mind that crow shit is nasty.

Turek
11-20-2009, 10:50 AM
As an indoor caged pet, keep in mind that crow shit is nasty.

Why would it be any nastier than any other caged bird?

Broomstick
11-20-2009, 11:07 AM
>sigh<

Crows can be highly intelligent, or so I have read. I would like to raise one from a baby/chick for about a year, or maybe less, until it is old enough to fly away and not decide to come back to captivity.
If you raise it from a chick it will imprint on humans. Also, living with you it will not learn how to find/kill food in the wild and will not learn how to get along in a flock of its own kind. Raising an animal like that from a baby and then releasing it is cruel. Please do not do this. Either have a pet or don't have a pet.

The two hardest parts are WHERE to get one, without being in a tree getting my eyes pecked out, and what to name it.
Keeping crows or ravens in the US is illegal (migratory bird act, as mentioned) unless you have a crapload of permits.

They seem to be able to eat everything we do, so I could give it scrap bacon and eggs, let it peck on the remnants of a T-Bone, etc.
You really need to be better educated as to the diet of a bird like that before you acquire one. Yes, they can eat just about everything we do, on the other hand, humans often have pretty crappy diets themselves.

I've read you can teach them words.
Yes. They are capable of learning to talk, though not as adept as some of the parrots.

Are crows a good idea as a short-term pet? They are a social as a cocker spaniel, according to what I have read.
No. As mentioned, if you raise one from a baby it will imprint on you and will then have trouble going to a wild flock. They are NOT a short term pet! They live decades.

I am concerned because I am not sure you are as informed as you should be to be the owner of a bird of any species. Please educate yourself on your species of interest, as I'm sure you'd want to provide a good diet and environment for any pet. You might try contacting a local wildlife rehabber who might point you to opportunities to actually work wild birds, including crows and ravens, so you can first of all get a better idea of what they are actually like, and second, learn how to properly care for such birds.

You might also try to befriend your local crows. As pointed out, crows are quite intelligent. They also have the capacity to recognize individual humans. If you provide a hospitable environment in, say, your backyard to attract crows, and conduct yourself in a non-threatening manner they will become accustomed to you and even, perhaps, approach and interact with you. Again, this will allow you to become familiar with the species prior to taking one on as any sort of pet.

I will also caution you that social birds demand attention. A LOT of it. MUCH more than most pets we humans have. They can also be extremely destructive. They will chew things up, tear things apart, knock stuff over, get into things...

Please do learn more about birds in general and specific species before taking one as a pet. They can be wonderful creatures, but they aren't dogs and cats, they aren't even mammals. They have very specific needs and there are pitfalls to ownership.

BomTek
11-20-2009, 11:16 AM
All the tapping at your chamber door can get to be an annoyance, though.

Isn't it "rapping?" The only reason I ask is because Eric Draven said "rapping" in The Crow.

My mom has told me that her mom's dad (my great-grandfather) had a crow. Apparently it would go to local baseball games with him and curse at the umpires, and would also yell for my great-grandmother to bring him a beer. Not sure if he had a name or he was just "the bird," or how long he was around, but if I remember correctly he just flew off one day and never came back.

Has anyone heard of the guy that got crows to collect change for him in exchange for peanuts? His name is Joshua Klein (here's a link (http://mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/15322)... it's got a video embedded that I can't watch because of the net nannies here), and it's pretty ingenious really. Not sure if he mentions it in the video, but the idea could be used to have crows help clean up litter.

Sigmagirl
11-20-2009, 11:29 AM
It's both.

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
Only this, and nothing more."
...............
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

kayaker
11-20-2009, 11:35 AM
Why would it be any nastier than any other caged bird?

Parrots tend to have dry droppings, Feces, urate, and a touch of liquid. Crow droppings tend to be "splashy" IME.

Irishman
11-20-2009, 12:21 PM
Broomstick said:
They can also be extremely destructive. They will chew things up, tear things apart, knock stuff over, get into things...

Don't forget shit on everything. Birds don't have an anus. When they have to go, they go. Even if they are sitting on your shoulder or head. They can't be trained to hold it.

They can also be agressive to strangers or children.

Turek
11-20-2009, 12:58 PM
Parrots tend to have dry droppings, Feces, urate, and a touch of liquid. Crow droppings tend to be "splashy" IME.

I would think, given a similar diet, their droppings would be similar. Crows in the wild eat anything not nailed down. Caged parrots eat a pretty regimented diet.

Shodan
11-20-2009, 01:22 PM
No because if you get 4 and 20 crows you can put them in a pie and eat it. Can you eat a parrot? Sure you can.

A friend of mine bought a parrot because it spoke English, Japanese, French, Hungarian, and ancient Mayan. He put it in a cage and left for work.

When he got home, the cook had plucked and roasted it for dinner.

"But that bird spoke five languages!" he said to the cook.

The cook shrugged her shoulders. "So why didn't it say something?"

:rimshot:

I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your moderators.

Regards,
Shodan

Stranger On A Train
11-20-2009, 01:35 PM
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door
Only this, and nothing more."
...............
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. "Surely", said I, "surely,/that is something at my window lattice
Let us see what there at is/and this mystery explore.
Let my heart be still a moment/and this mystery explore.
"'Tis the wind/and nothing more."

My favorite poem, and I'll recite it by heart at the drop of a dime. Be warned,

As to the o.p., this is a bad idea unless you are both experienced in the rearing and care of wild birds, and are prepared to provide for the bird for the two or three decades it may live in captivity. Corvids are arguably the most intelligent of all aves, but with that comes a very strong social bonding instinct and a long rearing period in which they learn how to forage, horde, and otherwise survive from their parents and nestmates. A crow or raven raised in captivity would have virtually no chance of surviving in the while for any period of time, so unless you intend to keep it caged and wings clipped, this is a fairly cruel thing to do.

Ravens are also definitely one-person animals and may be aggressive or protective; unlike parrots and other pet bird species, they aren't domesticable and will display wild behaviors. And few veterinarians, even those familiar with exotic pet birds, are going to be especially knowledgeable about he particular illnesses of corvids.

In general, as other posters have noted, this is every kind of a bad idea.

Stranger

PlainJain
11-20-2009, 02:09 PM
My cousin raised one he found as a chick. Very smart and it talked. He loved it.

Also, I have a friend who currently owns one. It talks as well. She rescued and loves it as well and only speaks of it in high regard. It's always friendly to me. However, it is illegal to possess.

...and what to name it.
Edgar Allen Crow.

JThunder
11-20-2009, 02:28 PM
Nevermore.

JerseyFrank
11-20-2009, 02:35 PM
Rufus Griswold (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_Wilmot_Griswold#Relationship_with_Poe).

running coach
11-20-2009, 02:35 PM
and what to name it.

Poe Boy

Lionne
11-20-2009, 02:57 PM
Don't forget shit on everything. Birds don't have an anus. When they have to go, they go. Even if they are sitting on your shoulder or head. They can't be trained to hold it.

They can also be agressive to strangers or children.

Birds may not hold their waste like humans do, but they can easily be trained to fly to their cage or designated spot to void, then fly back to you. Paper-training birds is very common and almost necessary when you have a long-lived, intelligent bird that wants to spend all their time poking into whatever your doing.

Birds are only agressive if they've been taught or conditioned to behave that way. Presumably someone who decides to own a bird will learn how to properly train them and behave around them.
It's flat out wrong to generalize like that.

vd
11-20-2009, 03:03 PM
Name it "Tom Servo"

capybara
11-20-2009, 06:21 PM
Broomstick said:


Don't forget shit on everything. Birds don't have an anus. When they have to go, they go. Even if they are sitting on your shoulder or head. They can't be trained to hold it.



Parrots absolutely can be toilet trained to hold it and they do have anuses, and they go when they WANT to go-- that just doesn't have much to do with when WE want them to go.

Broomstick
11-20-2009, 06:33 PM
Don't forget shit on everything. Birds don't have an anus. When they have to go, they go. Even if they are sitting on your shoulder or head. They can't be trained to hold it.
Incorrect. Birds do have an anus. Some can (to an extent) be "toilet trained", most typically to poop in a designated spot (like a trash can). The thing is, their metabolism runs so very fast that they really need to poop every 20 minutes or so. And if they're mad at you they'll poop on you delibrately.

They can also be aggressive to strangers or children.
This is true of any bird. They consider their owner/family to be The Flock. Strangers are Not Flock. Birds are instinctively defensive of The Flock and somewhat to very hostile to Not Flock.

Broomstick
11-20-2009, 06:35 PM
Parrots tend to have dry droppings, Feces, urate, and a touch of liquid. Crow droppings tend to be "splashy" IME.
I would think, given a similar diet, their droppings would be similar. Crows in the wild eat anything not nailed down. Caged parrots eat a pretty regimented diet.
Only to the extent that kept birds have a much lower parasite and pathogen load. Liquidity of feces in birds does vary from species to species. For example, cockatiel poo is much drier/more solid than conure poop even on the exact same diet. Fresh fruits - which are very good for birds - will also result in "loose poops". So diet and species does have an effect.

dracoi
11-20-2009, 06:37 PM
Broomstick said:


Don't forget shit on everything. Birds don't have an anus. When they have to go, they go. Even if they are sitting on your shoulder or head. They can't be trained to hold it.

Just to add another response to this: my grandparents have many birds of multiple types. They've potty-trained the birds to poop only when the bird is on their finger; usually they help prompt the bird by moving their finger up and down a little and saying "Poopie?" so the bird gets the hint. If you remember to do this with the bird a few times an hour, you can be sure it won't poop on you.

Broomstick
11-20-2009, 06:38 PM
Ravens are also definitely one-person animals and may be aggressive or protective; unlike parrots and other pet bird species, they aren't domesticable and will display wild behaviors.
Parrots are not domestic animals, either - they are wild animals that are tamed anew with each generation. They not only have all their "wild bird" weaponry, they also have wild bird instincts and most certainly do demonstrate wild bird behaviors at times. They just happen to have early imprinting quirks that we can subvert early in their development to convince them that humans are part of their flock, and vice versa.

Stranger On A Train
11-20-2009, 09:07 PM
Parrots are not domestic animals, either - they are wild animals that are tamed anew with each generation. They not only have all their "wild bird" weaponry, they also have wild bird instincts and most certainly do demonstrate wild bird behaviors at times. They just happen to have early imprinting quirks that we can subvert early in their development to convince them that humans are part of their flock, and vice versa.True, but the imprinting can make them essentially domestic animals, i.e. they will adopt the behaviors and social customs (to the extent that they are able) of humans. Corvids will not, however; even though a young raven or crow may imprint on a handler, they'll still retain many of their wild behaviors, albeit somewhat stunted due to the lack of appropriate socialization with other members of their species.

Stranger

Broomstick
11-21-2009, 10:16 AM
Parrots are not domestic animals. At best they're semi-domestic - they, too, retain their wild behaviors just as corvids do. One of the problems pet parrots have is that many humans do not understand that and thus do not understand that some "problem behaviors" can not be trained out of them.

Super Kapowzler
11-21-2009, 10:45 AM
THANK ALL OF YOU FOR THE INPUT!

I really didn't expect so many to respond about experiences with crows.
Yes, I would rather a Raven, if I were to, and probably name it Raven.
If crows sing tenor, the Raven definately sings bass, and a coughy-Louise Armstrong tone.

I used to have a "Crow Pole", wherein I mounted a 24"X24" platform about 6-feet off the ground; upon it sat an extra, frozen, Thanksgiving Turkey. The local 6 crows ate off this turkey the entire winter. Each crow was immediatley identifyable because of behavior and size. We had names for them all. The next year was a lot of catfood, and any table-scraps. They all came back the next year.

Anyway, my new apartment doesn't allow crows, and the cop that lives above me probably as well.

JFLuvly
11-21-2009, 11:16 AM
I had one for a about four months 25 years ago. I got it from a guy who found it injured, when he gave it to me it was missing alot of tail feathers . It could fly but could not land properly. Whenever he would try to land he would do a faceplant and then somersault. He stayed in a barn in my backyard and could come and go as he pleased. Eventually he got caught by a dog and was killed. Two of the things that stand out in my mind were: 1) Walking around town with a crow on my shoulder always attracted alot of attention and double takes and 2) He attracted a very large amount of crows that would spend the day cawing at him. I am not sure why they did this but the racket was unbelievable some days.

schnuckiputzi
11-21-2009, 01:59 PM
I've had three crows as pets -- one as a strictly living wild animal, but would come when called and eat from our hands. Bella had been shot by a farmer, and had to have a wing amputated, so she lived with us in a large, wood-framed wire cage. She tended to be nasty tempered, and impatient, but how can you blame her? Lugosi was a young bird that had been rescued from a destroyed nest, and he lived with Bella until he was old enough to be moved to a rehabilitation center. The weird thing was that if Bella was out in the yard with me, I had to watch her closely, or wild crows would attack her. Perhaps they could tell she was injured and vulnerable.

JFLuvly
11-21-2009, 03:13 PM
The weird thing was that if Bella was out in the yard with me, I had to watch her closely, or wild crows would attack her. Perhaps they could tell she was injured and vulnerable.


Yes this happened with me too, along aith all the racket.

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