How to Get a Pet Raven: A Complete Guide to Owning and Caring for a Raven

Pet Type


July 7, 2024

Ravens are fascinating birds known for their intelligence, problem-solving abilities, and complex social behaviors. While they can make unique and rewarding pets, owning a raven requires careful consideration, commitment, and adherence to legal regulations.

This comprehensive guide explores how to get a pet raven, the legalities involved, and the care and environment needed to keep a raven healthy and happy.

Legal Considerations

Federal and State Regulations

  • Permits and Licenses: In many places, owning a raven requires special permits and licenses. Check federal and state regulations to ensure compliance. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in the U.S. protects ravens, making it illegal to keep them as pets without proper authorization.
  • Endangered Species Act: Some species of ravens may be protected under the Endangered Species Act, requiring additional permits for ownership.

Research Local Laws

  • Wildlife Laws: Local wildlife laws vary, so it’s crucial to research and understand the specific requirements in your area. Contact local wildlife agencies or animal control for guidance.

Finding a Raven

Licensed Breeders

  • Reputable Breeders: If permitted in your area, find a licensed and reputable breeder who specializes in ravens. Ensure they follow ethical breeding practices and provide healthy, well-socialized birds.
  • Health Certificates: Ask for health certificates and documentation proving the raven’s legality and origin.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

  • Adoption: Some wildlife rehabilitation centers may have ravens available for adoption. These birds are often non-releasable due to injury or imprinting on humans. Ensure the center has the necessary permits to allow adoption.

Preparing for a Raven

Housing and Environment

  • Large Aviary: Ravens require a spacious aviary to fly and exercise. The aviary should be at least 10 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 10 feet high, with secure and sturdy construction.
  • Enrichment: Provide plenty of environmental enrichment, such as perches, climbing structures, and interactive toys to stimulate their intelligence and curiosity.
  • Shelter: Ensure the aviary has sheltered areas to protect the raven from extreme weather conditions.

Diet and Nutrition

  • Balanced Diet: Ravens are omnivores and require a varied diet, including fruits, vegetables, meat, insects, and grains. A high-quality commercial bird food formulated for omnivores can also be part of their diet.
  • Supplements: Provide necessary vitamin and mineral supplements, especially calcium, to ensure proper nutrition.
  • Fresh Water: Always have fresh, clean water available for drinking and bathing.

Socialization and Mental Stimulation

  • Interaction: Ravens are highly social and intelligent birds that require regular interaction with their owners. Spend time playing, training, and bonding with your raven daily.
  • Training: Positive reinforcement training can help manage behaviors and provide mental stimulation. Teach tricks, solve puzzles, and offer challenges to keep your raven engaged.
  • Social Companionship: Consider the companionship of another raven or suitable bird species to fulfill their social needs if you are not always available.

Health Care

Regular Veterinary Care

  • Avian Veterinarian: Regular check-ups with an avian veterinarian are crucial for maintaining your raven’s health. Schedule annual exams and vaccinations as recommended.
  • Disease Prevention: Be aware of common diseases and parasites that can affect ravens, and take preventive measures to protect them.

Monitoring Health

  • Behavioral Changes: Monitor your raven for any changes in behavior, appetite, or activity levels, which can indicate health issues.
  • Cleanliness: Maintain a clean living environment to prevent infections and parasites. Regularly clean the aviary, food, and water dishes.

Challenges of Owning a Raven

Time and Commitment

  • Long Lifespan: Ravens can live up to 20-30 years in captivity, requiring a long-term commitment.
  • Daily Care: They need daily care, interaction, and mental stimulation, which can be time-consuming.

Legal and Ethical Concerns

  • Wild Nature: Ravens are wild birds, and their needs may be challenging to meet in captivity. Consider the ethical implications and ensure you can provide a suitable environment.

Noise and Behavior

  • Vocalization: Ravens are loud and vocal birds, which may not be suitable for all living situations.
  • Destructive Behavior: Their intelligence can lead to destructive behaviors if they are bored or not adequately stimulated.


Getting a pet raven involves understanding and meeting various legal, ethical, and care requirements. From securing the necessary permits to providing a suitable environment and diet, owning a raven is a significant commitment.

By ensuring you can meet their needs for space, mental stimulation, and social interaction, you can create a fulfilling and rewarding relationship with these intelligent and captivating birds. Remember, the well-being of your raven should always be a top priority, ensuring they live a healthy and enriched life.