The Barn Owl Centre. A registered charity dedicated to community education, conservation and bird welfare

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Our centre is dedicated to the welfare of barn owls & birds of prey

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Should Owls be Pets?

The below story with images relate to 2 captive bred Barn Owls that were kept for a whole month in cat box.

Captive Bred Barn Owls - Mistreated!
Captive Bred Barn Owls - Mistreated!

The 2 Barn Owls shown in the below images were handed to us by a keeper who took them on as pets without having an aviary or somewhere suitable to keep them, basically they were bought because the person thought they would make great pets.

This sadly outlines the reality of what is happening in the UK to some of the Barn Owls that are needlessly bred, then sold & passed on to people who are inexperienced.

It is important to state that part of our job at the Centre is to offer supportive care for the number of birds that are handed to us. It is also important to stress that we unable to take in every mistreated or unwanted Barn Owl or Bird of Prey, even though we are now up to 61 birds, which are a variety in species!

We must also point out that we are always contactable by telephone (01452 383999) to help people when we can, this is to offer advise & to guide keepers when asked on issues that can help support the birds welfare. When there are approximately 100,000 + Barn Owls in captivity or in the pet trade, this does create a huge problems, which is getting worse every year. For ourselves as a rescue Centre, how many aviaries can we keep building & most important where is the financial support needed to take in more unwanted or mistreated birds?

We cannot stop people buying birds as it is not up to us, also we cannot stop the influx of birds being bred to support demand, this as to be down to the buyer & the many Centre's & private breeders who are simply increasing the annual population of captive bred birds, only if they would face up to the problem they are causing instead of passing the problem onto buyers & then to rescue centres. As a Rescue Centre we can only voice what we encounter & we can honestly say with hand on heart that we see the ongoing problems first hand & so do many other Rescue Centres around the country!

With any breeding project of any species, Owl or Bird or Prey, there must be a release program to shout about or is there? Ask the question & ask to see some evidence linking to the birds release program. You never know you might be surprised but then again you could be infront of a legal bird trader hiding behind something that seems amazing!

Rescue & Rehabilitation Gallery

Below is a link that will take you to our rescue & rehabilitation gallery, this visually shows some of the birds that come into our care. The Barn Owls beauty together with the high level of interest shown in keeping one as a pet can sometimes overshadow the reality, which can be soul destroying. When a Barn Owl can live for about 20 to 25 years, how many people are able to keep a Barn Owl that long?

View our Rescue & Rehabilitation Gallery

Brief history on the circumstances of the below Barn Owls.
These two Barn Owls were sadly kept confined in a Cat Box & as you can see, they were confined like this for approximately one month prior to them being handed to us still in the cat box.

On opening the door of the cat box we were very saddened & shocked to see the state they were both in, they were covered from head to talons in their own mess & they were both mentally & physically stressed.

On a closer inspection we found that one of the Barn Owls (right) was suffering with a broken leg. It is a disgrace that a person could treat these Owls or any animal like this!

Repairing the damage caused.
With proper care & attention, a good avian vet & a comfortable aviary to rest, it wasn't long before these birds were back to good health. They are now doing exceptionally well as seen in the far right hand image.

If you would like to support us in our work please Click Here

Important Notice: It is illegal to release captive bred Barn Owls in to the wild. It is important also to state that there is a legal line drawn between what is a wild rescue & what is a captive bred rescue.

Note: For help, advice or guidance please do not hesitate to call us: 01452 383999, if we can help, we will.

Some people might find these pictures a little disturbing. We certainly do!

This is what we were faced with when they arrived Barn Owls in captivity need better legislation to protect them from human abuse On close inspection, one of the Barn Owls had suffered  certain damage to one of its legs Further inspection was then followed by a trip to our avian vet for a further health checks & to repair the damaged leg A happy ending to a traumatic experience
Arrival A Sad State Leg Damage Further Checks Now Doing Well


Information from DEFRA's Website (Link Here)
I have recently acquired a Captive Bred Barn Owl.

Q: By Law, does an Owl need to be registered with anyone?

There is no requirement to register owls and generally no licence is needed to keep them.

However, a certificate known as an ‘Article 10’ will be needed for the ‘commercial use’ of an owl if it is listed in Annex A to the EC Regulations.

It is not an offence to be in possession of an owl without a certificate, whether it is ringed/microchipped or not, providing it can be proved that it is captive-bred and not being used for any commercial gain.

It will be your responsibility to show that a bird is lawfully in captivity.


The Barn Owl Centre is a registered charity dedicated to community education, conservation and bird welfare
Charity. No : 1097410
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