Bird Keeping (Aviculture)

Learn about caring for birds, bird owners, aviculturists and bird industry professionals

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

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Study in Your Time - With or without support - Daily Intakes Available

An outstanding 100 hour course covering all aspects of keeping birds including diet, housing, health, breeding, understanding bird behaviour and training.

  • Hone your skills as an avid bird keeping enthusiast
  • Seek a new career direction
  • Add an income stream  by becoming an aviculture specialist

To be confident and successful in any animal industry -  you need to build your knowledge and extend your skills - look no further!  

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
    • Behaviour
    • Training
  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 fertiliser -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.

What You Will Do

  • Consider 4 specific areas of bird care. For example, one area may be feeding and nutrition. Find out about the products and services which are available in your locality for each area you chose.
  • Research up to 3 birds native to your country and aim to find out as much as you can about their former and current uses if any.
    • In the event you cannot find information about native breeds (of any species), you should aim to find out about introduced species - the reasons for their introduction and where they originated from.
  • Research the range of housing options for any type of birds you are specifically interested in.
    • From your research, estimate the total cost of setting up a new housing system. Include nesting, feeding, watering, lighting, temperature control and ventilation in your design.
  • Visit or contact a feed supplies shop or pet shop and evaluate the various feeds sold to bird keepers. Consider cost versus nutritional quality in your assessment.
    • For this activity you should aim to focus your attention on feed that is specifically designed for a species of your choice e.g. pigeons.
  • Connect with at least 2 bird owners who have birds with former or ongoing illness. Discuss with them the illness and the treatments which the bird undergoes/had undergone. Ask questions about the how the illness affects or affected the birds overall well being. Ask about the nature of the illness and the long term management of the illness.
  • Observe a bird in its natural habitat. Consider its interactions with any other birds which were nearby at the time. Take notes on how the birds interact or any other noticeable behaviours of birds.
    • If it is not possible to complete this task observing birds in real life – watch online video(s) to complete this observation of behaviour activity.
  • Consider welfare when breeding birds either in captivity or in their natural habitats. You should find an approved captive breeding program which is of particular interest to you. Take notes or record as much information as possible about the program. An example of a bird species in an intensive breeding program may be the Orange Bellied Parrot or the Corncrake.
    • Consider specifically the individual health and welfare of the breeding pairs - the lack of knowledge of human populations and the possible impacts on breeding programs in natural environments e.g. habitat destruction.
  • Using websites which advertise available positions search under animal related jobs, find at least three roles which require knowledge of bird care and/or management.
    • Examine the roles and find out what qualifications (if any) are needed to successfully meet the application criteria for each.

After Your Studies

This can be an excellent opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and awareness that will help you improve your existing career, or forge a new career or business.

There are many opportunities to work within the bird industry, from the pet trade to veterinary services and work in zoos to falconry, pigeon racing, rehabilitation and rescue.

Pet Trade and Breeding

The avian pet trade supplies both large and small pet shops across the world, and it is responsible for the sale of birds such as, parrots, budgerigars, cockatiels, canaries love birds and cockatoos.  It is very difficult to tell if the birds are captive bred or caught from the wild - although laws and regulations are in place across many countries.  

Whether captive bred or wild caught, both hold a high possibility of disease and minimal welfare standards. 

If you do work within this type of industry, it is vital that you comply with regulations and ensure the health and welfare of all birds is kept up to standards or preferably higher.


There are a range of bird shows, both global and national, and some are also specific to certain species.  If you feel this may be a good opportunity with a much loved pet, then remember they must be well trained and exhibit good behaviour.  Placing a bird in this type of environment is very stressful, and should only be completed if the bird has had adequate training and desensitised to the showing environment.  It is best to start a bird young, although older bird with the correct behaviours and looks may also do well.

The chosen show birds must have a good plumage, beak and claws, with a good posture.  Ensure the bird is handled and trained, becoming used to hands, noises and people.  The bird should be bathed regularly, and should also become accustomed to a light spray with water a few days before showing to encourage the natural oil to soften the feathers. Claws and beak should be trimmed a couple of days prior to showing.  Allow the bird to become familiar with its show cage, which will be separate from its own.


Course Duration - 100 hours, self-paced, daily intakes, 12 months to complete, study online, tutor supported - if or when you need it.  Flexible and unique learning opportunity! 


ACS Distance Education has worked with thousands of students over the years - we know what matters and what makes the experience of learning online really worthwhile. We pride ourselves on the level of service offered by our small and dedicated student services team of staff. Our academics will also have a key role to play in your success. 

What are you waiting for? 


Find out more about being a student of ACS and what it is like to study with our school! 


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Alison Pearce

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS students. She has worked as a University Lecturer, has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniqu
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