Pet birds are great to have. Doves, especially, are very loving creatures and love to cuddle with their owners. Sometimes we might feel guilty that we're keeping a bird caged that is supposed to be out in the wild hunting for food and mating. But is setting a bird free always the right thing to do? Let's explore the ethics of keeping a bird and how it can be counter-intuitive to set a domesticated bird free.


Some people might say that keeping a bird is completely ethical as long as the birds are properly cared for and given the necessities for them to live a long and joyful life. Others, however, say that it is completely unethical to do so because you are keeping an animal that is supposed to be free to fly in the wild. But, there is much more to this conversation that is not talked about. And that is the fact that domesticated birds and wild birds are completely different animals.

-Wild birds

Wild birds have the necessary skills to survive in the wild. They developed behavioral patterns that are compatible with the wild, such as recognizing what food is, where they can find the food, how to avoid predators, and so much more skills that a domesticated bird doesn't have due to its inexperience. It's like comparing a baby and an adult; they're like night and day!

-Domesticated birds

Let's take, for example, the Ring-necked dove; they're the most famous doves, especially for pet lovers. These birds have been domesticated and are used to the conditions of living in an aviary, with them regularly being fed by their owner. If we were to say, "This bird should be set free in the wild; that's where it belongs." and we set it free, then most likely it wouldn't be able to last a week. It wouldn't be able to handle the drastic change in its environment. From finding food, avoiding predators, enduring the climate, and being hunted, all these things pose a danger to birds in the wild, and releasing a domesticated bird in the wild is like deploying an unarmed and untrained soldier out on the battlefield.

-Right and wrong

If you were to keep a wild bird for a short amount of time, then most likely, it will survive and do fine on its own if you release it. If you still want to release a bird that has been domesticated, then you need to make sure that they go through the proper training and conditioning to survive in the wild, which for the average owner will most likely be extremely difficult. The right thing to do would be to give your pet bird as much space as possible, a healthy diet, and a healthy environment that resembles the wild, minus the predators, harsh weather conditions, and even better, a companion to spend their lives with. If you're unable to take care of them anymore, it's best to give them away to a family that will take good care of them.