Contact Information

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Wildlife Diversity Permits
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744


Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit General Facilities Guidelines

Minimum Standards

Protected wildlife held in captivity by authority of a rehabilitation permit and the facilities in which they are held, shall be maintained in accordance with the following minimum standards:

  1. Holding facilities shall be constructed of materials appropriate to hold the wildlife involved and shall be maintained in good repair so as to protect the wildlife from injury.
  2. Holding facilities shall provide adequate and appropriate heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and shelter from inclement weather conditions so as to provide for the protection and health of wildlife held.
  3. Outdoor holding facilities shall contain sufficient shade to protect wildlife from direct sunshine.
  4. Holding facilities shall be equipped with potable water. Water receptacles shall be appropriate for the wildlife held.
  5. Wildlife held shall be provided with wholesome palatable food sufficient to maintain good health. Food receptacles shall be kept clean and sanitary and shall be adequate to contain the food supplied.
  6. Holding facilities shall be cleaned daily or as often as necessary to minimize disease, hazards and odors.
  7. An efficient program of disease prevention and parasite control shall be established and maintained by each permittee.
  8. Wildlife held shall be observed daily. Diseased, stressed, injured or lame wildlife shall be provided with appropriate care or humanely destroyed.
  9. Handling of animals shall be done expeditiously and carefully so as not to cause unnecessary discomfort, behavioral stress, or physical harm to the wildlife.
  10. Holding facilities shall be located and constructed so as to minimize human contact and secured so that the wildlife is reasonably protected from theft or predation by other domestic or wild animals.

General Considerations

Infant mammals and birds can be housed in incubators or 10 to 20 gallon aquariums. Heating pads or hot water bottles (with insulation), should be used to provide heat. Juvenile to adult small mammals should be housed in enclosures ranging from 3′ x 3′ x 3′ to 6′ x 8′ x 6′ <.

Juvenile to adult songbirds should be housed in enclosures ranging from 1′ x 1′ x 1′ to 2′ x 4′ x 4′ <. Increasing the size will increase the numbers that can be housed together. Same species can generally be housed together safely. Avoid integrating different species.

Fawns should be kept in enclosures (pens) ranging from 4′ x 4′ x 2′ (1 to 2 fawns), 10′ x 15′ x 6′ (4 fawns), to 30′ x 50′ x 6′ (6+ juveniles). Fawns shall not be kept passed weaning age (3 to 5 months old).

Individual injured adults are recommended to be confined to an 8′ x 8′ x 8′ pen for recuperation. Adults should not be placed in large enclosures which make it difficult for recapture and release. Under no circumstances, are adult deer of opposite sex to be mixed together.

Enclosure sizes and construction materials need to follow guidelines outlined in Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation, 4th edition, published by the US National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association (NWRA) and The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC). This 116-page book is available as a free download to IWRC members under the member-only page, Minimum Standards and Position Statements or for purchase for $15.00 from the IWRC shop, Minimum Standards of Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Facilities Standards for Rehabilitation and Holding of Raptors

(These facilities standards apply in addition to those specified in the General Facilities Standards.)

Triage Equipment

The permittee shall have the following initial exam and intensive/pre-surgical treatment facilities:

  1. Designated treatment area, at least 6' x 6'.
  2. Medical kit, including tubing, large syringes, gauze pads, betadine flush and topical antibiotics.
  3. 2 to 5 non-wire holding cages measuring 18" x 18" to 36" x 36".
  4. Heating pad or heat lamp.
  5. Set of washable food and water bowls for inside use only.
  6. Record keeping/daily log system.

Enclosure sizes

All raptors held by authority of a wildlife rehabilitation permit for post-trauma/post-surgical treatment, observation, conditioning, educational or fostering purposes shall be housed in holding facilities sufficiently large to allow for the birds' comfortable movement without making contact with walls or ceiling of enclosure. All enclosures shall be constructed to conform approximately to the following dimensions:

  1. 4' x 8' x 7'
  2. 8' x 8' x 8'
  3. 10' x 10' x 8'
  4. 8' x 32' x 10'*
  5. 8' x 60' x 12'*
    *large enclosures for flight conditioning


The walls of enclosure should extend at least 6 inches into the ground to prevent predators from digging their way into the cage. Walls and ceiling should fit securely together and not have any gaps. The above facilities shall be constructed with any one or combination of the following:

  1. Rubber coated non-galvanized wire. Chain-link fencing, chicken wire, or any non-coated wire alone is not acceptable.
  2. Non-abrasive synthetic netting.
  3. Lumber slats spaced no more than 3/4" inches apart.
  4. Solid sheets of wood (spaced in a manner that allows for air flow)
    ** It is recommended that chemically-treated wood should not be used due to chemical leaching.

Additionally, if the enclosure(s) are not constructed of lumber slats or solid wood panels, then there must be material (such as plywood, fiberglass screening, or slats) on the interior of the walls to:


The floor must provide quick drainage of water, be easy to clean, and not be abrasive to a raptor’s feet. Wood chips, hay, or straw hold moisture and promote mold and fungus growth. Concrete is abrasive to a raptor’s feet. Sand, pea gravel, (living) grass or artificial turf are ideal.


Raptors require furnishings that are sturdy and easy to clean. Natural limbs can be used if periodically replaced and have had all protruding branches removed to prevent bumblefoot. PVC pipe, wood dowels covered with artificial turf are ideal. Pet store variety perches are not acceptable. Perches should not be placed in corners of enclosures in order to prevent tail feathers from touching the walls.

This is your guideline check sheet. The criteria listed here are itemized on the game warden’s inspection report. You will be expected to fulfill all requirements.