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Do Robins Make Great Pets? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Robins are considered friendly birds that adjust to humans much quicker than other wild birds. Although they have a good personality, they do not make great pets simply because they are very sensitive to environmental stressors, and you would have to take Robins from the wild. Not to mention, many local areas prohibit owning a Robin as a pet.

Of course, whether or not Robins make great pets is up to you. In many respects, Robin ownership is an ethical issue that requires personal thought and consideration. There are many questions you need to ask and answer before deciding if a Robin would make a good pet for your home.

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Are Robins Friendly?

The main reason why many people consider owning Robins as a pet is because of their friendly behavior. In comparison to many other birds, Robins are very friendly and brave around humans. It’s not uncommon for Robins to get within a couple feet of humans. In fact, some Robins are even known to eat out of human hands.

Because Robins are so friendly, they certainly make better pets than other wild birds. You don’t have to worry about Robins trying to attack you or being mean to you or your other pets. Especially if you get a Robin when it is young, the Robin will likely be very brave and comfortable around you.

robin picking with beak
Image Credit: Oldiefan, Pixabay

Are Robins Domesticated?

Even though Robins are very friendly, they are not domesticated. It is unclear exactly why Robins are more friendly despite being wild creatures. It may be because Robins have been forced to live around humans for centuries. Still, living around humans is not the same as living with humans.

It is nearly impossible to find domesticated Robins. The few Robins that are domesticated are most likely that way because they were injured or sick upon birth, and a human took them in as their own. Aside from these rare exceptions, Robins are not usually domesticated.

Since Robins are primarily wild birds, you would have to take one from the wild in order to bring it into your home. Unlike dogs and cats that are readily domesticated, Robins are not available for sale or adoption. Taking one from the wild is really one of the only options if you want to own a Robin.

Do Robins Survive in Captivity?

Robins are not well suited for captivity. In the wild, Robins are very territorial and prefer open spaces to breed, nest, and fly. Obviously, captivity is the opposite of this.

Not to mention, Robins are very finicky birds in terms of their health. Although Robins can live to be 8 to 10 years old, most only live to be about 1 to 1.5 years old. The reason for this is that these birds are very sensitive to environmental stressors.

For example, Robins die very quickly from loss of habitat, encroachment of other Robins, fear of other creatures, and a number of other environmental stressors. Since captivity offers the opposite type of an environment these birds are best suited to, it makes sense that Robins do not survive well in captivity.

Because captivity is such a stressful living situation for Robins, these birds are known to pluck out their own feathers, get diseases, and become depressed while in captivity. Purely based on survivability, Robins do not make good pets since they are not suited for indoor living.

robin on tree branch
Image Credit: TeeFarm, Pixabay

Is It Legal to Own a Robin?

Most locations do not allow the ownership of Robins. Instead, it is illegal to own Robins as pets in most areas. However, some areas do allow it. You will need to read up on your local laws and regulations to find out if Robins are legal as pets. Most likely, they are not.

Is It Ethical to Own a Robin as a Pet?

Because Robins do not survive well in captivity and are not domesticated, one important question to ask is whether or not it is even ethical to own a Robin as a pet. Although you might be able to own a Robin, the real question is should you.

In our opinion, it is unethical to own a Robin as a pet, and most bird experts would agree. For starters, it is unethical to take a Robin from its home and force it into captivity. Would you like to be kidnapped from your home and forced to live somewhere else? Probably not.

More so, taking a Robin from the wild is unethical because it would add a whole lot of stressors to the Robin, most likely causing it to die prematurely. Because birds from the wild are not used to captivity, they experience extreme stress when put in cages. It is the stress that causes them to die.

Even in the case that the Robin does not die, it likely will not be happy in captivity, especially if it was taken from the wild. Robins are birds that need a whole lot of space to roam and fly. A cage simply does not offer the same type of environment these birds need to thrive.

Do Robins Make Great Pets?

With these facts in mind, Robins do not make great pets. They are beautiful, gentle, and friendly, but they are better suited to the wild. We would not recommend bringing a Robin into your home because it will likely stress the bird out and cause it to become depressed or die.

Instead, it is best to keep your Robins outdoors and observe them with binoculars and other ethical devices. This provides you the joy of watching your Robins while still providing them ample space to live and roam freely in the wild.

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Final Thoughts

It is of our opinion that Robins do not make good pets. Even though they are friendly, they are sensitive to environmental stressors and are not domesticated. As a result, it is not ethical to own one of these birds as a pet, even if it is legal in your area.

Of course, it is up to you to decide whether or not it is ethical to own a Robin as a pet. We recommend reading up extensively on these birds before deciding to bring one into your home as a pet.


Featured Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.