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A Guide to Keeping an Owl as a Pet


Some people think that keeping an owl as a pet is a simple process, that isn?t going to be much more work than your run-of-the-mill parrot. Those people are sadly mistaken. An owl is very different from a parrot. It requires a more specific diet than a parrot, and it requires a larger investment of space, time, and money than a parrot does.

With all of that aside, an owl can make an interesting, and even exciting pet, as long as you take the time to learn how to care for it properly.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

One of the more challenging aspects of caring for an owl is maintaining the right kind of diet for it. You can?t just go and buy a bag of bird food and feed it to your owl. Owls are carnivores, so you must keep a supply of animals to feed to your owl. One of the best food sources for an owl is dead chicks. Chicks have great nutrient levels, and an owl can live off of them without any supplements at all. Domestic rats are another good food source, as are domestic mice, but these are more expensive. Your owl should eat a diet high in chicks with the occasional mouse or rat, but not a diet full of either of the latter.

Providing a Proper Aviary

An owl cannot live in a small cage happily or healthily. Instead, you have to provide a much larger living space for your owl to be comfortable. A standard aviary should be 12-by-12 feet square, and about 12 feet high. This aviary should be located outdoors, and should provide both cover to protect the owl from the elements, and an open, caged-in section so that the owl can get fresh air and sunshine when it desires to. Leaving the aviary open also allows insects to get inside; these provide an additional snack for the owl.

Keep Your Distance

Even though an owl may look nice and soft, and you might have the urge to pet it, you should avoid that urge. Most owners avoid contact with their owls, because owls don?t like being touched by humans. They have been known to lash out when touched, and with sharp talons on their feet, they can be quite dangerous. If you are going to have an owl as a pet, you should only plan to watch it without having much contact with it.

Adopting an Owl

If you are unsure of actually keeping an owl as a pet in your home, you can take a different route. There are plenty of sanctuaries that allow you to adopt a pet owl. These sanctuaries let you to come and visit the owl, but they take care of the bird for you. This is a great situation that allows you to see the owl, without having to care for it personally.

A standard owl lives about 20 years, if properly cared for. That means you are making a significant commitment when you decide to adopt a pet owl. Owls as pets aren't nearly as exciting as dogs, cats, or even parrots, but if you really want one, then following the above advice will give you a head start on how to care for one, and give you an idea of what you are in for. Don?t be fooled by movies or books, such as the Harry Potter series, which make it seem that owning an owl is a simple matter, because it is not; there is plenty of work involved that isn't depicted in the movies.



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