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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Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!
A 100 hour course covering all aspects of keeping birds including diet, housing, health, breeding, understanding bird behaviour and training.

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
    • 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 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.

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: 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. Ask questions about the how the illness affects the birds overall wellbeing. 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

For some students, this course is all about following their passion; but for many others, this can be an excellent opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and awareness that will help them improve an 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 and pigeon racing.

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, it can be quite difficult to enforce.  Many sellers find it more cost effective to take from the wild rather than purchasing from breeding facilities. 

Whether captive bred or wild caught, both hold a high possibility of disease and minimal welfare standards.  There are a high number of fatalities when importing or exporting for the pet trade and it is questionable about how many make it to the actual pet store.  
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 for bird fanatics, 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 is quite laid back.  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 familiarised with its show cage, which will be separate from its own.





ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council

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