If you’re dealing with a rodent problem, you may be wondering how to attract barn owls to your property.
Barn owls offer a natural way to kill mice and keep them from turning your farm into their permanent home.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to attract barn owls and the benefits of having these birds on your property.
Do Owls Keep Mice Away?
Do owls eat mice? Owls are birds of prey, so they must eat other animals to survive. Their diet is varied and includes spiders, insects, snails, earthworms, crabs, reptiles, fish, birds, amphibians, and small mammals.
Those small mammals can include mice.
The species of the owl determines their main source of food. Barn owls primarily eat mice, shrews, and voles.
If you live in Canada or the upper northeastern states, the Northern Hawk owl shown below also has a preference for mice.
If you’re dealing with a rodent problem in the lower 48, barn owls are the species you want to attract to your property.
How to Attract Barn Owls to Your Property
To attract barn owls to your property, you must make your land attractive to these birds of prey.
There are several ways to attract barn owls to your property.
1. Make Your Property Attractive to Owls
The ideal foraging habitat for barn owls is rough grassland. These owls prefer to hunt over open fields, primarily low-land farmland.
They’re naturally attracted to pastures, woodlands and croplands because they tend to have higher populations of rodents. When hunting, these owls fly over low open fields and grasslands.
2. Provide Food When the Weather Gets Bad
In times of severe weather, it can help provide a temporary food supply to keep the owls on your property. The Barn Owl Trust recommends keeping any supplemental food to small mammals that they would eat in the wild.
If you find you need to buy food for the owls, you can purchase domestic mice or even day-old chicks from a hatchery. And if you have a cat that likes to bring you little presents, such as small birds or voles, they can also make a good meal for the owls.
3. Don’t Use Rat Poison
If you’re trying to attract barn owls to your property and you want to keep them around, make sure that you’re not using rat poison.
Rat poison may kill the mice, but the barn owls that eat those dead mice will also get poisoned in the process. Eventually, this can kill the barn owl, or, in the very least, make hunting and breeding less successful.
4. Add Nesting Boxes For the Owls
If you have a rodent problem, building and installing nesting boxes will give barn owls a place to call home. If you can create a suitable nesting site, these owls will stick around and hunt the mice on your property.
Barn owls prefer to use nesting boxes that are:
- At least 12 feet off of the ground
- In dark, secluded areas
- Placed near croplands, grasslands, and open areas
This species of owl is not especially territorial, so you can place nesting boxes just a few hundred yards apart.
If you want barn owls to use your nesting boxes, you need to choose an appropriate design. Your boxes should be:
The goal is to make sure that young owls cannot accidentally leave the nest and fall out. Owls that fall out of the nest usually die.
Cleaning and Maintaining Nest Boxes
Once you have the right nesting box design and you install your boxes in the right places, it’s important to maintain them. Nesting boxes should be cleaned and maintained in late fall and winter.
Barn owls are least likely to be in the nesting boxes during these months, but it’s important to check and make sure the nest is empty before you start cleaning it out.
When cleaning, it’s important to be as quick and quiet as possible. Barn owls can nest any time of the year, so get in and get out as quickly as possible when cleaning. If you disturb a female who is sitting on her eggs, she will likely abandon or even destroy the nest.
If you find a female nesting in the box, defer any cleaning until her babies have left the nest.
When it’s safe to start cleaning:
- Remove all nesting materials, pellets, feathers, and other debris.
- To disinfect the space, spray the interior of the box with a 2% bleach solution.
Avoid using insecticides to keep bugs away.
Frequently Asked Questions When Using Owls to Control Mice
What Kind of Mice Do Barn Owls Eat?
Barn owls eat a variety of different mice and rodents, including:
- Deer mice
- House mice
- Pygmy mice
- Jumping mice
- Grasshopper mice
- Eurasian harvest mice
- Pocket mice
How Many Mice Can an Owl Eat in a Night?
If you’re interested in barn owl rodent control, you may be wondering how many mice an owl can hunt and eat in an evening.
Owls are nocturnal hunters, which makes them ideal for catching and eating mice. Mice, too, are nocturnal animals.
Using their superior night vision and stealth hunting tactics, barn owls can hunt and eat up to 12 mice per night. Barn owls are more sociable than other species, so they tend to hunt in groups.
When hunting together, barn owls can quickly get a rodent population under control. In just one season, a group of barn owls can kill several hundred mice and other pests.
Are Mice Afraid of Fake Owls?
Owls and mice aren’t exactly the best of friends. But can you scare away mice with a fake owl statue?
Unfortunately, most mice won’t pay any attention to fake owls.
You’ll need the real deal if you want to use this natural predator to get rid of mice.
Benefits of Owls on Your Property
There are many benefits to attracting barn owls to your property.
1. Control the Rodent Population
One of the main benefits of having these owls around is that they keep the rodent population under control. Remember, a single barn owl can consume 12 mice in a single evening.
2. Keep Other Pests at Bay
Along with mice, barn owls can also keep other pests away, including insects. They can also help control rabbits, skunks, voles, squirrels, and rats.
3. Low Cost to Keep Them Around
Barn owls cost virtually nothing to keep around. They don’t eat birdseed. They don’t eat domesticated fowl. They hunt mice to keep themselves fed. In the long run, these birds can save you money on pest control and extermination services.
Bring on the Owls!
Use these tips on how to attract barn owls to keep your rodent population under control. By making your property attractive to these owls and providing a suitable nesting box, you can naturally control the number of mice on your property.