Learn online, study bird keeping, and learn to manage an aviary, with self paced online courses in aviculture and bird keeping.

Course Code: BAG108
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to Create and Manage a Garden Aviary

  • One or many
  • Private or Commercial
  • Study at your own pace -start any time

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Bird Care
  2. Breeds
  3. Housing Birds
  4. Feed and Nutrition
  5. Health Management
  6. Bird Behaviour and Training
  7. Breeding
  8. Working in the Bird Industry


  • 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.

Learn to Understand and Manage Behaviour

Observing and becoming aware of your birds normal behaviour is important so you can become aware of what is his abnormal behaviour.  Realising abnormal behaviour at first instance can prevent future problems.  Abnormal behaviours can be a sign of injury, illness, boredom and learned behaviours which have a negative impact.  All species may behave differently and also each individual bird, but we have listed some of the more known abnormal behaviours;

  • Excessive pacing – this can be a sign of boredom and stress.  Ensure the bird is getting flight time, interaction, stimulation within the aviary.  Pacing can generally be observed in birds with small cages instead of aviaries where they can have free flight time.  
  • Boredom – you may see self-mutilation, loud screeching vocals and anorexia.
  • Self-mutilation e.g. feather plucking, feather chewing, biting toes and legs, anorexia, a more severe sign of boredom, neurosis or stress, or even illness or disease.  It may also be down to poor husbandry or nutrition. Ensure the bird is seen by a vet immediately.  Also provide flight time and interaction.  Self-mutilation can quite often be seen in parrots or other psittacines, which are housed on their own and perhaps who are stressed, bored and lonely.  Parrots usually live a long life and usually take to one person, and if they are to be split up for any reason, this can put a lot of stress on the parrot causing self-destructive behaviour
  • Aggression towards other birds – birds in flocks do have a natural pecking order, however, the bird who continuously gets dominated may end up with neurosis.  It is best to separate these birds.  
  • Aggression towards people – the bird may bite or nip aggressively, hiss and flap rapidly.  This may be able to be rectified over time.  It will take a lot of patience, calm movements and only ever positive reinforcements.  Favourite foods are a great way to direct and promote the positive behaviours.  Never use punishments such as squirting water as this can cause stress to the bird, who will already be quite stressed.
  • Excessive grooming – can be a sign of poor husbandry or external parasites.  Ensure the environment is clean, allow bird’s access to bath and spray with mist (above the bird, not direct, and also not when the birds may get cold i.e. night).
  • Excessive screeching (often seen in parrots) – may be for a number of reasons.  It may be exhibiting natural behaviours i.e. at dusk and dawn.  It may be due to a change, perhaps a house move, or even movement to a new room.  The bird may be attempting to attract attention, and you should not reinforce and by all attempts ignore the screeching.  Once screeching stops and the bird is quiet, reinforce this good behaviour by providing plenty of attention.
  • Neurosis – can display a number of signs, including the behaviours above; self-mutilation, repetitive movements, aggression and weight fluctuation.  It may be due to a number of factors such as; loud environment, bullying from dominant bird, boredom, small cage, presence of predators (other pets) and also the hours of light.  Birds need a good day-night routine, and this can be interfered with household artificial lighting.

To avoid behavioural problems and neurosis, it is not only important to provide the bird(s) with plenty stimulation, interaction and flight time, but also quiet and peaceful time.  The environment should not be solitary, but should not be loud with excessive screaming or shouting. Remember to allow the birds to have natural daylight, and also natural night time.  If the bird is in a cage in a household room then a blanket can provide darkness, and allow some peace.  Good husbandry and fresh baths will allow the bird to exhibit natural behaviour and keep clean.  


Learn about Training too.

Training any animal requires patience, and it is the same when training any bird, young or old.  You must start any training with a calm and slow approach, never any quick or sudden movements.  Always keep training sessions short, ranging from five to fifteen minutes, depending on the individual bird, observing whether the bird has had enough.  Training sessions should be fun and mentally stimulating for the bird, not stressful or ever forceful. 

Who should do this course?

  • Anyone who loves birds or working with birds.
  • People wanting to work or working in the industry.
  • Manage an Aviary.
  • Learn about health and nutrition.
  • Become a breeder.
  • Learn the basics of training birds.




Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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