When installing a barn for owls such as a screech owl ensure the entrance faces an open area in an easterly direction. Studies found that the owls like to face eastward toward the warm, rising sun after a chill night.
There are other factors to your owl barn that will help make an owl feel more comfortable.
In This Article: We will take a look at the best ways to set up an owl barn and why having these birds of prey around is a good thing.
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Why Have an Owl Barn?
For years vintners, orchardists, and property owners have used screech owls as natural rodent control.
Screech owls are particularly suited for this as they have high appetites, high rates of reproduction, and attract easily to nest boxes.
They also have a willingness to live in close proximity to other barn owls which encourages a dense population; while their nocturnal habits mean that they won’t disturb farm animals or pets.
What Type of Rodents are Barn Owls Helpful Against
Luckily barn owls are highly adaptive and will eat whatever is most common in their area.
For example, if they are surrounded by sugar cane they will eat more of the common cotton rat, while in rice fields they will go after rice rats.
What Else Should You Know About Building an Owl Barn?
As mentioned, there are a few things you should keep in mind while setting up a home for the owls.
Here are some things to consider.
How High Up Should You Install an Owl Barn?
You needn’t build the barn too high off the ground.
Per studies, roughly eight feet off the ground is an ideal height. Barn owls have been known to even nest on the ground so you don’t need to go too high.
Keeping it low will also help for easy maintenance.
Make Sure They Have an Open Area
Keeping an open line of sight for them is an easy way to make the visiting owls feel comfortable.
If they are able to see the area around them owls will be able to plan accordingly with any dangers that may cross their paths.
Lay Down Mulch on the Floor of the Barn
To keep the eggs safe from rolling around and to add more insulation, add three to four inches of bark mulch to the bottom of the barn.
Use large bark mulch of pine and/or fir, but steer clear of cedar, sawdust, and wood shavings.
How Often Should You Clean the Barn?
Owl barns require little maintenance, as barn owls do not bring their own nesting materials to nest boxes, nor do they clean the nests.
Once the breeding season ends is usually the best time to change out the mulch flooring–which would be between October and December.
Be sure to make sure that there are no barn owls currently taking up residence in your barn, though!
Some barn owls are known to breed in the off-season and could have picked your owl barn.
Limit the Outdoor Lighting
While they are useful to us, outdoor lighting can be a hindrance to barn owls.
They are naturally nocturnal predators and are built to hunt in complete darkness.
The light pollution from your porch or other outdoor lights can make hunting difficult for them.
What to Expect with Barn Owls on Your Property
So you’ve set up the barn and now owls will start to consider nesting there.
What habits will you start to see in these birds of prey?
Prepare Yourself for the Noise
Barn owls are particularly noisy birds, so be sure to place the box in a location that will not disturb you.
Being nocturnal barn owls are more actively making noise at night when you will be trying to sleep.
Young owls in particular will beg for food all night long with different shrieks and cries.
Avoid Pesticides and Poisons for Rodents
Having a barn owl on your property is already all you’ll need to keep rodents at bay.
Poisons do not tend to kill rodents immediately, and if a rodent is ingested by an owl after eating the poison, the owl will also become poisoned.
This is referred to as “secondary poisoning” and is the leading factor in the death of owls and hawks.
A dying or sick rodent is easy prey, thus many of these birds will pick them up quickly once the sick rodent wanders outside.
Keep Your Distance
Yes, owls are adorable, but they are still wild animals and birds of prey.
Do not approach them, and if you happen to do so and they flush from it’s nest or perch you’re too close.
This is especially true with nesting owls, which will go hand in hand with the owl barn itself.
They will guard their nest and young owls fiercely.
Owl barns require little maintenance and having an owl barn will help to encourage them to nest near your home.
They prefer the barn roughly eight feet off the ground and facing east so the rising sun can warm them up.
Barn owls are an eco-friendly way to keep the rodent population down near your home.
Be sure to keep the area safe and hospitable to the owls by not using rodent poisons and reducing outdoor lighting.
If learning more about these owls makes you want to build your own owl barn, check out this helpful build guide!