Why have a cat or a dog as a beloved pet when you could have a crow which shares your food and sits on your head?
Vikkie Kenward, 29, certainly thinks crows make great pets – she rescued hers in May when it fell out of its nest and was lying abandoned by a roadside.
She named him Fagin after the pickpocket in Oliver Twist and hand-reared it, letting it nestle in the hood of her jumper.
Ms Kenward, who lives in Horsham, West Sussex, expected the creature to fly the nest when he recovered, but instead he preferred to stay with her.
Instead of having to dig for worms in the wild, the crow goes shopping, watches television and jumps in the van when Ms Kenward goes for a drive to McDonalds.
He even sits on her shoulder when she applies her make-up.
“Fagin comes absolutely everywhere with me,” says M Kenward.
“If I get in the van he jumps in with me. He comes through the McDonald’s Drive Thru with me and sits on the head rest.
“We are regular visitors at my local Pets at Home – he sits on my shoulder and they all know who we are.
“If I’m watching telly he’ll either be off doing his own thing or sitting on me – perching on my arm or on my shoulder.”
Ms Kenward claims he answers to his name and is even learning to talk.
“He also comes when I call him like a bird of prey and is trying to say hello at the moment like a parrot.”
However, owning a crow does come with its share of mess. She added: “He doesn’t go outside to poo, he does it from his perch or on me.
“I change my clothes a lot. It bothers me enough to change my clothes but not enough for me to kick him out.
“Other than that he is great for getting flies and spiders out of the house. If you don’t want spiders in the house, get a crow.”
And sometimes the clingy crow tears up her mail when she spends more attention on that than on him.
Vikkie found Fagin while out walking her Great Dane, Inca.
After watching the “ugly” featherless chick wriggling on the ground for a few minutes, she decided to take him in.
“His mum kept coming over to the nest to feed the babies but wasn’t feeding him,” she said.
“He had his neck extended and was squawking, but she kept ignoring him
“You would usually try and put baby birds back in their nest but it was too high so there was no way I could return him.
“I decided to take him home. I just fed him and looked after him.
“I have raised baby birds before but never a crow. His mouth was so big I had to feed him with a teaspoon and it was constant – every 15 or 20 minutes round the clock.
“I was feeding him crickets and mealworms that I bought from Pets at Home. They eat anything really – you just mush it up.
“At first I kept him in a cat carrier until he could fly and now he has his own metal pole and he just perches on that.”
She added: “He is completely free. The window is open and he could go if he wanted to but he chooses to come back every half an hour or so.
“To be honestly I can’t see him ever leaving. He comes and goes and he knows where home is.
“I would be really sad if he went – I’d probably have a little cry.
“He views me like a mum, but I never expected to have a baby.”