View Full Version : advice needed from a new member

15-09-2006, 06:09 PM
hi to one and all..:-P ime new to this foram but was hoping i could get sum advice regarding my 20 week old male redtail..i got alfie from emma at the falconry center near biggleswade..he was obviously very distressed wen i 1st got him 2 weeks ago so i left him for 2-3 days to calm down before i started to handle him..emma advised me to feed him in his mews to get his weight up before trying to feed him on the fist..i managed to weigh him for the 1st time last sunday (2lb6oz) and he has kept that weight fairly constant since feeding on 3 turkey chicks per day..he sits quite well on the fist after his anitial flapping frenzy but i cant get him to feed off the fist..have i shot myself in the foot by throwing food in to his mews in the 1st week..has anybody got any advice on what i could do to encourage him..all the books seem to advice you only to feed on the fist but how long can i continue this non feeding as it does seem to distress him not feeding..please could sumone offer me sum advice..:rolleyes:

15-09-2006, 06:57 PM
try dropping his weight! also you may be ok to try and put the food in the fist for feeding if he has it great if not he doesnt get fed (or he only gets say a head instead of a whole chick im not one to favour not feeding the bird)! DO NOT DO THIS WEEKLY ETC but one day with out food or a head should not hurt! by doing this he should realise that the food he is offered on the fist is he's dinner and thats all his getting so its worht his while eating it! but if i were in your position i would try fropping his weight a little and seeing if this makes a difference!!

what exeprience do you have in birds of prey?

15-09-2006, 09:31 PM
thanks for your advice mate..as you can gather this is my 1st bird...i have spent a huge amount of time with a couple of experienced falconers in my area and it has always been a childhood dream of mine to have my own bird..i suppose i could have gone for the easier option of the harris but i just fell in love with the redtail and when emma offered me this one it was like a dream come true..i am like you in the sence that i dont want to starve the bird but it must feed off the fist in the end by hook or by crook..he hasnt fead for 2 days now so i might have to give him sum titbits in the morning and try again on the fist tomorrow night...just spent 2 and a half hours tonight but to no avail:(

Dave G
15-09-2006, 09:42 PM
redtails can be very stubborn and go with out food if at fat weight for a week if not a little more so i would not worry too much there, try to feed the bird outside the mews as not a good thing if your red will only take food in the mews cheers dave

15-09-2006, 09:42 PM
You should be dropping the weight. All you are going to do by working with him fat is encouraging bad habits that will be hard to break later. Don't worry about not feeding him. He will eat when he is hungry. I would also suggest lots of time on the fist. It is Friday and I am going to assume you have the weekend off. He should be on your fist from now until you have to go to work Monday. Don't feed him at all. Offer food on the fist, but don't throw food to him in the mew. Once he starts eating off the fist, don't feed him too much as you want to get him hopping to the fist right after that.

Do you have a mentor that you can bounce questions off of?


15-09-2006, 10:19 PM
thanks for all your help..i do have 2 mentors as such but they differ so much in there approach to training..i seem to be bugging them a lot at the mo but at the end of the day i want to achieve this on my own without sumone holding my hand if you no wot i meen..anyway i will take your advice and stick at the non feeding bit and keep him on the fist as long as possible..he was nearly there tonight but it was a case of so close and yet so far..is it worth trying different food ie quail,rat,beef etc or should i stick with the turkey ckicks for now..

15-09-2006, 11:02 PM
I find that a Rabbit leg works, as you can hang on to it. Plus if he sees you cut it off a rabbit it will put that prey picture in his mind. Keep him on your fist in what ever you are doing. Bring him in the house and put some newspaper down. Most falconers I know can type with one hand. Manning Manning Manning....That is the name of the game.

As far as doing it on your own....Why reinvent to wheel. We have an apprentice system over here so new ppl are required to have someone help them. Most falconers are very willing to give new ppl advice.


16-09-2006, 12:30 AM
If you can actually watch someone training up a new bird it's amazing all the little tricks you can learn. Unless you ask a specific question (and you have to know enough to be able to ask the right questions), people will often forget to tell you the little things they do that make things run smoothly. You should really pick ONE of the people that are helping you and make them your mentor. It's great to get other opinions, but if you mix and match too much you will end up with a mess. Find one method and stick with it till you know enough to experiment and do things your own way. The way I train a redtail (as Greg taught me) is to start small. First: get the bird to eat tidbits. Tickle their beak with a tidbit, when they bite it if they don't swallow it down on their own, use a plant mister and spray a bit of water in their beak. They will automatically swallow and eat the tidbit. Hmmm...that was tasty-maybe you're not so bad after all-lol. When they're willingly taking tidbits (I use forceps, Greg uses his fingers-don't use your fingers for too long or you'll get a nippy bird that sees food coming from your bare hand-not good), get a tougher strip of meat. If the bird will hang onto the tidbit you can pull his head down to the glove. Or, alternately you can just give the bird a large chunk that he can't swallow in one bite (important!). The bird will likely set it down and start eating it on the glove, if he's hungry enough. Next step: getting the bird to step up onto the glove. Yes, you can get the bird to step up just by putting your fist in it's chest, but this will help work into jumping to the fist. Using a larger chunk of meat (like a quail leg or something that won't just fall apart), while the bird is sitting on a perch, let the bird grab the piece of meat, but when he tries to pull the meat off raise the meat up to his chin so he can't. The bird will quickly get frustrated and step on the meat on the glove to hold it down. Raise your glove just a touch and the bird is sitting on the glove eating. Next step: jumping. This part is pretty simple-hold the meat too far for the bird to stretch and get it. When he's hungry enough, he'll jump for it. It can help to hold the tidbit just above and a bit in front of the bird. The bird will want a higher perch, anyways, and when you add that to the tidbit it's all the more enticing. After that it's just a matter of increasing the distance and teaching him to come DOWN from a perch (a more difficult thing than just coming straight across or up). Each time you start a session, start with something you've already done-don't just start something entirely new. I just did exactly this with my new passage redtail I caught 10 days ago. She's coming down from the balcony and all the way across the living room yesterday. Today we tried to go outside for the first time, but her weight was up 15 grams (about 1/2 an ounce) and she wasn't having any of it. She would come down from the balcony and across the living room, but outside she wouldn't even take a freebie tidbit. I expected as much, though. No dinner tonite (aside from the one tidbit for coming in the house) and a bit of outdoor manning and hopefully she'll start jumping outside tomorrow:) Oh, and they can go a long time without eating much. Shanti didn't get anything but a few tidbits for the first 4 days. A starling on the fist (there were starling feathers and bird bones in her casting, so I knew she would recognize it as food) and she came around. She would eat tidbits, but not hang onto them, so I couldn't get her to step up or eat on the fist that way. I had offered her a nice juicy quail leg and a rabbit leg just prior to offering the starling and she turned her nose up at both of them. But she snatched the starling right out of my hand before I could even put it on the glove. If you put a whole mouse on the glove and wriggle it a bit that might work well for you, so long as it's something they will recognize as being tasty food. Hope this helped a bit, let us know how it goes and good luck:)

16-09-2006, 10:38 PM
..he hasnt fead for 2 days now so i might have to give him sum titbits in the morning and try again on the fist tomorrow night...just spent 2 and a half hours tonight but to no avail:(
Hi. forget about giving him titbits and trying again to get him feeding on the fist. Just feed him on the fist- he'll sharp learn to feed when he gets hungry if your manning of him is correct. I didnt understand your initial thread where you said you were advised to feed him up upon getting him to get his weight up either. This doesnt make sense to me.

16-09-2006, 11:08 PM
It took my RT 9 days until he fed on the fist... very worrying at the time :)

16-09-2006, 11:28 PM
It all depends on how fat the bird is when you get it and if you use tricks and techniques to help the bird along (like a whole prey item on the fist). If it's fat as a pig and just not hungry no trick will get it to eat off the fist until it is-and that can take a bit with a redtail.