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Bird Farm / Avian Manager
Bird farm managers specialize in breeding birds of various types, ranging from exotic species to poultry. They breed birds and sell them to pet shops, customers, or export them to various countries. Bird breeders have to obtain special permits to do this.

The basic duties of a bird-farm manager include protecting the birds from their natural enemies, ensuring that the birds are healthy by feeding them and sheltering them from extreme weather conditions, such as strong winds that may damage or destroy their nests.

Bird farmers need to ensure that every bird is kept in an environment that is similar to its habitat. For example, owls need lots of space as they are used to hunting. Some bird farmers breed homing pigeons, often to sell them to pigeoneers or pigeon trainers.

If a bird farmer keeps chickens or other poultry, they shelter the newly hatched chicks in brooder houses. When the chicks are seven or eight weeks old, they are moved to pens. After six months, roosters are culled for meat and the hens begin to lay eggs.

They need to have an extensive knowledge of various bird species and their anatomy to run successful bird farms. They also need to be able to detect when birds are unstable, or uncomfortable in any way. They can detect a bird’s odd behaviour by comparing it to its normal pattern.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with beautiful and exotic birds, as well as with people
- helping birds maintain healthy and long life spans
- working outdoors

Demanding aspects
- the responsibility of keeping birds alive and well, especially when a disease or plague is in the area
- working long hours and with unpleasant smells
- working in all kinds of weather conditions

Bird farm managers should:
- be at least 16 years old
- have a love of birds and nature
- enjoy working outdoors
- have an aptitude for biology
- be self-motivated and dedicated
- be alert and very observant

School Subjects
No defined level of schooling is required

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Training is usually done on the job, working alongside an experienced bird farmer. No specialized training is available to become a bird-farm manager, however a keen interest in birds is a pre-requisite. These managers may find it helpful to do a course in Business Studies.

- private bird parks
- zoos
- universities
- bird farms

Percy Fitzpatrick Institute for African Ornithology
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701
Tel: (021) 650-3290/1/7 Fax: (021) 650-3295