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The Barn Owl Trust

Conserving the Barn Owl and its Environment

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Thinking of having a captive Barn Owl?

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There are a number of things that should be given serious thought before deciding to take on a captive Barn Owl. The first of these should be whether you have the space to provide a large enough aviary for the owl. This needs to include enough flight room for it to move freely and enough space for a suitable shelter. The Trust publishes a leaflet on Aviary Design that can be accessed by following the link opposite.


Another factor is the longevity of Barn Owls - they can live up to twenty years in captivity. This obviously means a long-term commitment to the care of the owl and should not be taken lightly. You also need to consider the food supply and who will feed the owl if you need to go away. Do you have someone in mind, and enough freezer space to keep enough food?


There is legislation in place which makes it an offence to buy, sell or publicly display a Barn Owl without an Article 10 license issued by DEFRA. Remember it is up to YOU as the owner to prove that your owl is being kept legally. It is a possibility that it may have been taken from the wild and the keeper is guilty unless he/she can prove that the owl was obtained legally. This proof of origin applies equally to Barn Owl eggs, dead Barn Owls and parts of Barn Owls.

One of the main problems with Barn Owls in captivity is that they breed readily. This means that there is a huge number of surplus captive birds and prospective owners should be aware that if their situations change, it may prove very difficult to re-home their owl. Releasing it into the wild may seem like a solution, but it is illegal to release a captive Barn Owl with a fine of up to £5000 per bird or a six month prison sentence if found doing so!

If, after all this, you are still sure that a Barn Owl is a suitable creature for you to keep, then we would highly recommend that you read the leaflets and look at the slides in the links opposite first. How about looking after wild disabled owls from a local wildlife rehabilitator rather than captive-bred owls?

If you are certain that you can provide good accommodation and fulfil all the needs of a Barn Owl, then there's no reason why you should not be rewarded with years of pleasure in looking after one.
The Barn Owl Trust is dedicated to conservation & education and does not operate a visitor centre.
Barn Owl Trust staff and volunteers
Waterleat, Ashburton, Devon TQ13 7HU
+44 (0) 1364 653026