Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Birds > Do Robins Make Great Pets? Legality, Ethics & FAQs

Do Robins Make Great Pets? Legality, Ethics & FAQs


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 sensitive to environmental stressors, and you would have to take one from the wild. Also, many local areas prohibit owning a robin as a pet.

That said, whether a robin would make a great pet is up to you. In many respects, robin ownership is an ethical issue that requires personal thought and consideration. There are many questions that you need to ask yourself before deciding if this bird would make a good addition to your home.


Are Robins Friendly?

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

Since robins are so friendly, they would certainly make better pets than other wild birds. You wouldn’t have to worry about them trying to attack you or being mean to you or your other pets. If you get a robin when they are young, they will likely be brave and comfortable around you.

robin picking with beak
Image Credit: Oldiefan, Pixabay

Are Robins Domesticated?

Even though robins are friendly, they are not domesticated. It is unclear exactly why robins are more friendly despite being wild creatures. It may be because they 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 that are domesticated are most likely that way because they were injured or sick upon birth, and a human took them in. Aside from these rare exceptions, robins are not usually considered 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 which are already domesticated, robins are not available for sale or adoption. Taking one from the wild is 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, they are territorial and prefer open spaces to breed, nest, and fly. Obviously, captivity is the opposite of this.

Also, robins are finicky birds in terms of their health. Although they 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 sensitive to environmental stressors.

For example, robins die quickly from loss of habitat, encroachment of other robins, fear of other creatures, and a number of other environmental stressors. Since captivity doesn’t offer the type of environment that these birds are best suited to, it makes sense that robins do not survive well as pets.

Since captivity is such a stressful living situation for robins, these birds are known to pluck out their own feathers, get diseases, and become depressed. Purely based on survivability, robins do not make good pets because 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. In fact, it is illegal to own robins as pets in most areas. However, some places 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, though, they are not.

Is It Ethical to Own a Robin as a Pet?

Since robins do not survive well in captivity and are not domesticated, one important question to ask is whether it is even ethical to own one as a pet. You might be able to keep a robin, but 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 their home and force them into captivity. It would also add many stressors to the robin, most likely causing them to die prematurely. Since birds from the wild are not used to captivity, they experience extreme stress when put in cages. It is this stress that causes them to die.

Even if the robin does not die, they likely will not be happy in captivity, especially if they were taken from the wild. Robins are birds that need a large amount of space to roam and fly. A cage simply does not offer the type of environment that these birds need to thrive.

Do Robins Make Great Pets?

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

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



Robins do not make good pets. Even though they are friendly, they are sensitive to environmental stressors and are not domesticated. As a result, we do not consider it 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 it is ethical to own a robin as a pet. We do recommend reading up extensively on these birds before deciding to bring one into your home.

Featured Image Credit by: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets