I think I would like a Crow as a pet. Is this a good idea?

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

All the tapping at your chamber door can get to be an annoyance, though.

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.

What’s the reason owning them is restricted? They’re certainly not endangered. West Nile?

Pardon for asking, but are you set on a crow, specifically? What about another sort of bird, like a parrot of some sort?

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.

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.

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.

They’re definitely NOT short-term pets. Corvids are fairly long-lived, IIRC, and they will bond to you for life.

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.


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.

There’s a book for everything.

A friend of mine had a pet caw.


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. 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

As an indoor caged pet, keep in mind that crow shit is nasty.

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