Index Home About Blog
From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Caring for an Owl
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 16:33:54 -0500
Message-ID: <>

Hi Andy,

As a kid, I raised orphan barn owls and kept one as a pet for years
until it died of old age.  I've also raised and owned a falcon and a
few other predatory birds including a Great Horned.

What Don said about feeding is OK as far as it goes.  Don't be
surprised if the bird doesn't eat the mouse.  A broken wing is a
severe injury and the odds of it surviving are slim.  If it does
survive, the chances of it being able to fly well enough to feed
itself are even slimmer.

Sometimes you can get it to eat by killing a young mouse and cutting
it up while it's still warm and fresh and putting pieces in its beak.

I gently sit the bird on the cuff of some long cuff welding gloves
while attempting this.  The gloves are thick enough to keep the talons
from penetrating.  Many times even a shocky bird will reflexively
swallow when it tastes fresh meat in its mouth.

I disagree with Don re: avoiding contact.  Owls have lived with humans
for hundreds of years and are used to us.  You're not going to
domesticate it enough to do it any harm by handling and feeding it. No
owl I've ever handled has been so phobic of people as to go wild,
injure itself or go into shock (like a dumbass dove, for instance). If
you grasp around the butt of the tail and the ends of the wings, this
forms a "handle" and calms the bird nicely without pulling out too
many feathers.  Slow movements are the key.  Birds' instincts are to
react to fast movements of any sort as potential predators.

Please don't do Don's suggestion to call the cops.  That'll result in
the waste of thousands of dollars of tax money as the "machine" cranks
up to save a common forest critter that has a relatively short life
anyway.  If it dies now then that only changes the natural order of
things by a few years.  Do what you reasonably can to save the bird
and if you can't, well there are more out there.

You can, of course, Google for more information on owl care.


On 18 Mar 2006 10:58:21 -0800, "Andy" <> wrote:

>Andy writes:
>  I have just found an owl (great horned) with a broken wing
>and have put her in a large cage.  She was being attacked
>by a flock of crows, and had no chance at all.
>  I called the nearest raptor rescue place and left a message
>on their machine, but it may be Monday before they reply with
>instructions.  Even so , they are located a couple hours away
>from me, and I can't make a special trip for several days...
>  Can anyone here make suggestions on what I can feed her
>that I am likely to have lying around ?
>   It looks like I might have to keep her for a few days before I
>can manage a trip to the center, and they only have an
>answering machine so I have to wait for them to call back.....
>                                      Andy

Index Home About Blog