Aviculture (Bird Keeping)

Study aviculture. Learn everything you need to know about birdkeeping. Useful for working in the pet industry, or for avid bird lovers.

Course CodeBAG108
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Whether you are an bird keeping enthusiast or seeking a profession in the bird industry, this experiential-based course is designed to help you develop knowledge and skills to be a confident and successful bird keeper.

You will complete set tasks and projects thus enabling you to be familiar with the scope of the bird industry and the services available.

If you're thinking about keeping a bird as a pet or bird keeping as a hobby, this course will provide you with the knowledge to choose the right birds for you and how to care for them. If you are seeking to gain employment, this course will assist you to demonstrate your ability to work with birds and understand the industry without question. 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Bird Care
    • Introduction
    • Selection
    • Grooming
    • Hygiene
    • Terminology
  2. Breeds
    • Bird types
    • Choosing a bird
    • Commonly kept birds
  3. Housing Birds
    • Aviaries
    • Minimum requirements for keeping birds
    • Water, feeding and stimulation equipment
  4. Feed and Nutrition
    • Feed and feeding
    • Watering
    • Nutritional requirements
  5. Health Management
    • Caring for the sick bird
    • Safety on the home
    • Traveling
    • Common ailments
  6. Bird Behaviour and Training
    • Catching/restraining
    • Bird Behaviour
    • Training Birds
  7. Breeding
    • Sexing and Desexing
    • Breeding
    • Welfare
    • Reproduction
    • Neo-natal care
  8. Working in the Bird Industry
    • Pet trade and breeding
    • Showing
    • Avian health
    • Pigeon racing
    • Falconry
    • Zoos and Wildlife Parks
    • Avian tourism
    • Farming birds for meat, eggs, feathers or oils
    • Birds for pest control
    • Bird fertilizer -manure

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss the nature and scope of aviculture and develop networking with others involved with aviculture.
  • Determine appropriate types of birds to keep for different purposes.
  • To consider and choose appropriate housing for a range of different types of captive birds.
  • Outline the feeding requirements of a range of different captive birds.
  • Describe management techniques for the health of a range of different birds.
  • Appreciate behavioural traits of any birds you keep, and understand how to properly manage and respond to those traits; and if so desired, train the birds you keep.
  • Manage the breeding of different types of birds.
  • Identify opportunities for working in the aviculture industry.


There are thousands of different varieties of birds. They range in size from large Ostriches and  Emus down to tiny Wrens and Finches.  In the free range system, birds can be pinioned (permanent surgical clipping of the primary and secondary flight feathers) to prevent flight although this practice is illegal in some areas. Usually water fowl are the only birds that are pinioned as they are not susceptible to predation if provided with a large expanse of deep water and a number of islands on which to roost and nest.

Eagles, Cockatoos, Parrots, Lorikeets, Pigeons, etc, are displayed in a wide variety of aviaries to prevent them from flying away. Therefore they must be protected from as many detrimental outside influences as possible:

  •     Diseases transmitted by wild birds landing on the aviary
  •     Internal and external parasites introduced by wild birds landing on aviary
  •     Predators such as Carpet Snakes, Rodents, Butcher Birds, etc
  •     The elements of rain, wind, cold and sun.

The aviary must closely resemble the natural habitat and more than one species can be displayed in each aviary so long as the species are compatible.  It is not a good idea, for example, to put small birds in an aviary with prey birds.

In the past, birds have been kept both in small cages indoors, and in larger cages out of doors.
The popularity of small indoor caged birds has declined in some countries due to:

  •     Psittacosis - an avian virus which can be transmitted through the air, from birds to humans, causing pneumonia in people

  •     Welfare - Concern for the welfare of birds who are restricted from flying as they would in nature.

Nevertheless, small cages are still very popular in many places.

The most popular caged birds include:

  •     Canaries
  •     Finches
  •     Budgerigars
  •     Small Parrots


For some this may be nothing more than pursuit of a lifelong passion; but for others, learning bird keeping skills may be about furthering their job or business opportunities. Bird Keeping skills can be a big advantage to anyone working in any of the following situations:

  • Pet Shops
  • Bird Farmers
  • Breeders
  • Zoos and Wildlife Parks
  • Animal Shelters
  • Veterinary Practices

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