Saturday, October 8, 2011
Barn Owls in captivity
The Barn Owl is without doubt a beautiful and attractive
species which appeals to many people.
Wild Barn Owls are by nature shy and reclusive birds,
preferring to spend most of their time roosting in
seclusion. In captivity Barn Owls fall broadly into two
categories: wild disabled birds unfit to survive in the
wild; and those which have been bred in captivity.
Disabled wild Barn Owls cannot be tamed. Similarly,
captive-bred birds reared by their parents are not tame.
The only way a Barn Owl can be really tame is for it to
be hand reared from the time its eyes open at about 12
days old. This happens routinely where eggs are
artificially incubated and the birds hand reared from
If the first thing the bird sees after opening its eyes is
the human being that feeds it then it will naturally see
humans as parents and will be fully “imprinted” on
humans. The degree of imprinting depends on:
1) the age at which hand-rearing commenced in
relation to the eyes opening
2) whether the bird is hand reared singly or is in
close contact with its sibling
Barn Owls as pets
We do not consider that Barn Owls make good pets.
Feathers are not designed for stroking - it reduces their
natural waterproofing. Barn Owls have sharp talons
and strong feet which can inflict deep puncture wounds
and scratches. It is not a good idea to keep fully grown
healthy Barn Owls indoors unless you want your
curtains and furniture upholstery streaked with long
white droppings and your ornaments knocked over.
If you want a pet that can be stroked and cuddled then
you are far better off keeping a cat, dog, rabbit or
guinea-pig which are by nature sociable animals.