Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the Barn Owl Box’s dimensions?
A. 17″ H x 17″ W x 26″ L — not including landing ledge and rain guard. (Metric: 43.2 cm H x 43.2 cm W x 66 cm L.)

Q. How much does the box weigh?
A. The Barn Model weighs approximately 14 pounds (6.4 kg) ; The Pole Model (due to its double-box system) weighs approximately 25 pounds (11.3 kg) but keep in mind it is put up in stages–each component can be carried easily in one hand.

Q. How easy is the box to install?
A. We have designed the box for simple installation. It comes with all of the necessary hardware for mounting, including the support bracket and instructions. Also, because the box is lightweight, it is much easier to carry up a ladder than a heavy wooden box.
The Pole Model will mount by means of a galvanized metal bracket on top of a wooden 4 x 4 or 6 x 6, or attach to the flange on top of a metal pole. The Barn Model requires a six-inch opening to be cut in the side of the barn at the proper height, then is mounted to its support bracket. The front then attaches to the exterior of the barn.For more information go to our Installation Page

Q. Is any assembly required?
A. The Pole Model requires that the weather-proof vents be fastened to the roof. Both models require the viewing window assembly and two-piece lid to be attached.

Q. What kind of substrate should I put in the bottom of the box?
A. The best substrate is mulch, preferably hardwood, although you can use pine or fir. (This gives the birds a softer place to rest, and keeps the eggs from rolling.) Avoid cedar, sawdust, and wood flakes. You will hear from some sources that you do not need to put in bedding–this is simply not true in a box with a smooth floor where the eggs will roll early in incubation.

Q. Can the box be mounted in a tree?
A. Yes. We recommend that you use the Pole Model for use in a tree unless you are certain that the box will remain in complete shade. Since tree-mounting methods vary from tree to tree, we allow you to determine how best to adapt the box for installation.

Q. How likely is it that barn owls will use my nest box?
A. This depends on how dense the barn owl population is in your area. Boxes in areas with many owls will naturally stand a greater chance of attracting these birds. However, by installing boxes in areas of low populations, not only do you increase the likelihood of attracting barn owls, you also do your part in aiding their conservation. A lack of suitable nesting places is often cited as one of the prime reasons for the barn owl’s decline in certain areas. Check our Barn Owls by State page for the status of barn owls in your area.

Q: How many boxes should I put up?
A: This depends on the numbers of rodents in your area. In areas of high rodent density, the more boxes the better. Barn owls tend to be less territorial than other birds of prey when there is enough food. This trait of being able to live in close proximity is what lends the barn owl to intensive pest management programs. Several cases of numerous barn owl pairs living in the same barn have been reported, and in 1968, 34 barn owls were discovered living in an abandoned steel mill in Utah.
In the oil-palm plantations of Asia, boxes are placed one per ten hectares (or one for every 24 acres) with almost full occupancy. Going by this, a one-hundred acre farm could use four to five boxes. In areas of very high gopher or vole populations, one box for every 10 acres or so.

Q. How does the Barn Model get installed in a metal building?
A. The best method is to follow the instructions of your barn manufacturer for cutting a 17.5″ rough opening. The box then slides in from the outside. A flange on the outside of the box butts up against the outside of the barn, and is screwed to the wall. On the interior of the barn, the owner will mount a simple brace under the box for support.

Q. Now that I have a box, how can I attract barn owls?
A. All animals, including barn owls, possess excellent skills for finding new homes and good territory. Much of this is visual. Barn owls are skilled at noticing dark holes that indicate a hollow they can use for a nest. The entrance hole to the box is all they need to see. Once their curiosity is aroused, they will eventually perch on the landing ledge and inspect the box for its potential as a home.

Q. Can I create habitat that will make it more likely that barn owls will choose to nest on my property?
A. Yes. One of the problems facing barn owls has been the practice by farmers of reducing or eliminating hedge rows which provide good habitat for a lot of wildlife. Leave pockets of high grasses and second growth on your property and you will increase the chances of attracting many types of wild creatures, including barn owls.

Q. When is the best time to put up boxes?
A. Barn owls can nest at any time of the year, so it really does not matter. You do want to have them ready by spring. Best rule of thumb–don’t wait, put them up when you are thinking about it.

Q. Can the Pole Model be painted?
A. This is not recommended. The Pole Model’s white color and a special additive in the plastic keep the interior of the box cool in full sun. Painting would negate their effect.

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