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-   -   Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words! (http://www.falconryforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=132894)

Sharpster 26-12-2013 05:33 PM

Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
Zeus is a male goldie, produced by the great man- George Mussared 2013. He's fully parent hatched and reared by his own parents- exactly what I wanted. Reared in an open fronted pen enabling him to see dogs, lawn mowers and people etc from Day one! Resulting in a very steady and feather perfect bird from day one of training.
I can't thank George enough for producing yet another stunning eagle.

The thread may well go a bit awry on here........ but I'll try and update pics and stories in no particular order!

Her'es todays events:

I had a short window to get Zeus out in the fine afternoon weather. An hour or so is all we had in the field. The first hare was unsighted and Zeus flew off in the wrong direction, and worryingly gained height into the slight breeze- he cirlcled around me 3 times before coming back in. This was very pretty to watch, but I could see him scanning around whilst on the wing and the last thing I want is for him to take a hare sitting in it's form. The next slip was a long one, he flew the hare but as it neared the distant hedgerow Zeus pulled off and again soared slightly on his way back to me, then a hare got up right under him, zeus went to wing over but then the hare had already ran under him and away, instead of chasing, Zeus came back to me, but landed on the ground nearby- another hare got up right next to him-and he watched run away! 3 hares wasted! I was by now sweating,as usual I'd overdressed! And was thinking the damn birds too fat to commit(although he was on perfect weight...) The next hare got up jut behind me, the superb JM Falconry Hoods slip on hood was off before I'd turned to see the Hare! The hare was off up hill, but this time Zeus was oozing confidence and was powering after it-not missing a wingbeat. The eagle flicked over, the hare dodged, but the eagle turned too and powered back after the blur that thought he had done enough. Go -on boy I was thinking loudly! Zeus was now all over the hare, he shot out one of his long legs upto his armpits that most girls would be proud of, YES!!....NO!! DAMN IT! the hare was now head down, rocketing skywards tailfirst 4 feet up he went...Then time started agan, the hare hit the ground behind Zeus and went up through the gearbox like rossi leaving the start line. Zeus came back to the fist with talons full of fur, soooo close, and the closest yet!!

The last hare was right back at the van, I had quartered a field slowly(not easy walking up hares alone!) and he hare got up with a loud rustle of rape leaves, the hood was off in a flash, but the hare had used that flash to go into warp drive before Zeus was even airborne, I could see the hare would reach the all too near hedgerow and was willing him to run straight through into the next field! As the Hartley made the hedgerow, Zeus anticipated a run through and went up to clear the hedge, but we both saw the hare turn and run the hedgebottom, Zeus changed his plan and CRUNCH! he hit the hedge feet stretched forward, the hare chuckled and knocked his legs down a gear, and was gone! Zeus is everything I hoped he would be so far- and just needs the field hours to become what nature intended!

First time on the glove- when George pulled him from the pen and had him cast under his arm- ready for me to fit the furniture, I will admit I saw those feet and thought 'oh heck'!
And when holding him here I was a little tense, not sure how the bird was going to react- the result being my arm was killing me-much to the mirth of George and my good friend Mike!
George went and got his arm brace and said 'maybe you will need one of these- I do' They both fell about laughing again when Mike said' yeah, but George is nearly 70 and flies a female!!'

We drove all the way back from Hull, and I was excited and nervous to the extreme! what will tomorrow bring?!

Sharpster 26-12-2013 05:56 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Zeus (who didn't have a name for two weeks or more....) was left hooded and boxed the first night, then hooded at night in his mews for a further week. This is the first morning at home, I didn't sleep much the night of collection, everything was going round in my head- mostly worrying if id end up in casualty the next day if it all went wrong! When I peeked into the box in the morning, to see Zeus had got his hood off(something he hasn't done since, oddly) I did think '******'! Of course, nothing to worry about, and With careful training Zeus has been a puppy dog from day 1.
Pen weight at 16 weeks was 9lb 8oz, the first morning he was 9LB 4oz, and not fat at all on the keel.

We popped him out of the box when I dropped Mike off, and weighed him at Icarus.

My goal is to have a puppy dog eagle, around food or otherwise. fit, bombproof, not vocal, and a good hare hawk. and a bird I enjoy being a slave to for a very long time!

He was left food by his block, and unhooded as I walked away and hid. This went on for a week, and would be he only time he saw food at home.He ate within 2 minutes the first time he was left food, and incidently he regained his block after a bate by he first day-although hooded if he bated too much, and unhooded after a while. he was hooded if I left him the first week-My big paranoias were stress induced aspergillosis and damaged legs!

I wanted a small male goldie! bu George bred them how I wanted, but his are a tad large!nice feet........

Sharpster 26-12-2013 06:15 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Sharpster 26-12-2013 06:25 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
after a week of manning and going through all the pleasantries, Zeus was offered food on the glove at a busy horse racing event?! he ate without fuss, despite being fed well and a weight of about 8lb 12 being maintained. so the second day at the event, with a dog agility display going on 30 yards away, I tried jumping Zeus to the glove- no problems at all!! pleased? yes!!

Sharpster 26-12-2013 06:46 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
maning was going well, I constantly fiddled with his feet, and unlike most hawks I've manned, with zeus I regularly 'stroke him', feel his keel and underwing muscles and legs etc. I also clean and look after his feet regularly and clean his beak after a feed- he has a lovely habit now of as I hold my loosely clenched fist up, after he's fed- of putting his beak inside and feaking.
He was almost bombproof with the outside world- of course using the hood,as I do for most hawks, meant the ability to develop a bombproof bird fast( those that don't understand hooding- will not get that last bit at all!!)
So it was time to move forward with training-with a view to getting those big flabby muscles working!
I had and have a clear goal of what I want him to be, I've been out with eagle lads for several years now, asking advice, watching and listening. I've read everything I can find eagle wise for many years. Whilst I have my way of doing things nowadays,and may not take all the advice I'm given, I know what looks good and might fit in with me and what looks naff, that maybe I could overcome with muy eagle.
So generally the way I have done some things may seem odd to others, but has been for a reason, even if the reason doesn't work in others ideas!

Zeuswas called to the fist from day one of training, to small bechins hidden in the gloved palm, he is always hooded when I take food from my pocket, and is never ever robbed of food on the glove. I always use my bare hand to feed him pieces pulled off his meal, if more than a bechin. And twice when food has fell onto the floor I let the bird jump down, walk a way, and call him back up to the glove. He is fed anything upto a hares back leg on the glove, if that is what I'm giving him. Zero aggression.

once Zeus was coming well on the creance, it took a few days to get his weight right for this. He would always come to the glove, but ould be hesitant at times even over say 12 feet. He was fed for what he worked for and his weight gradually came down to a weight he felt confident at, and actually soon went back up a few ounces for training work, once he had the idea.
pulling a light rope meant that he has to flap his wings and cant glide-so keeping the muscles pumping-sometimes he's on his way back before I'm at the full rope length!!

zeus is never fed food off the floor-ever! he was started at the ropes furthest point by placing food onto a rubber car mat,and over time I have cut this down to about 10 inches square for my convenience. the food shows up well on this mat-and is unnatural-not something he will find everywhere we hunt!
Why? or why not astroturf? Because I have heard stories of eagles that have been hunting already, being trained on some ropework to improve fitness- the food being placed on the ground at both ends. shortly after the bird then flying out of the hood, missing quarry, then going soaring-scanning the field below for food- spotting form sitting hares, catching them, unbreakable bad habit formed. coincidence? maybe, but I'll stick with the mat!

Sharpster 26-12-2013 07:04 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
Zeus was clumsy and unfit to begin with, not being able to pull the rope if it got wet, or it snagged on a tiny piece of grass. Things slowly but surely changed with daily exercise. And it was time to do more lure work to sharpen up his senses and fitness. I began by having an assistant pull a foxpelt or a hare carcass on a 30 metre line( in a desperate attempt to distant the runner from the lure,,,,,!) This was great for a start, but I was paranoid about Zeus connecting food with joggers! and of course it meant relying on an assistant! So I thought a lure puller would be the thing, but then it would mean planning ahead because my training field is a half mile walk away. So in the end a rc car pully was used!! I can carry this in a big rucksack and operate the car, the eagle and the hood with to hands,just! This lure bounces about like mad, goes fast and I can also turn the car left and right, I think its the best mock up I can use!
The first drag was out in the field, by hand, using a fresh caught Hare that was Travis's AHE first kill! Zeus was a puppy dog on that and is with every carcass or lure since- he has no reason to be aggressive and so far isn't!-which is nice!

Sharpster 26-12-2013 07:34 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
Despite having a truly gorgeous block to weather on Zeus is a tad restless-always better when flown and fed sooner rather than later in the day! However, autumn dampness was now upon the weathering lawn and Zeus was destroying the grass day by day semi circle by semi circle. Time to try something else to accompany the block!( prolonged hooding or time spent in the mews wasn't for me personally.)
Now I've never liked the idea of swing perches for my hawks- always preferring tall rotating ring perches. But I decided to try Zeus on a swing perch, I made a prototype, and it was funny to see him hardly able to balance to start, but very quickly sitting there with no movement at all!! This perch style has been a great success for him. Although my prototype broke!! and it was by an unbelievable stroke of luck I was right there when it did-as it resulted in an eagle with jesses, swivel and tether ring, sitting free on my weathering lawn, surrounded by falcons that didn't bat an eyelid! I'll never forget that moment and the shot gun sound as the perch broke! sometimes luck is everything!
For now he sits on a commercial perch!

Flying Zeus out of the hood and watching him learn and seeing his fitness and agility falling iinto place is fantastic. I envy those that have been able to hunt a goldie from waiting on, Using the wind as they are honed to do, instead of the wind being a major disadvantage to hunting as it is for us.
However There is no way in the world flying a goldie around here from waiting on would ever be possible- not because he might rake off and kill someones dog- but because he would without doubt do that! I've never flown a hawk and been so paranoid about other people in the countryside- perfectly illustrated recently, when whilst walking stubble, in the distance I just noticed a woman walking her dogs- miles from the nearest footpath or public access, I was in the right- but that hardly would have mattered if I hadn't spotted her!

Sharpster 26-12-2013 10:07 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
After a short while I decided to see how the bird faired on Real hares, His first was quite a close slip in heavy rape- Zeus was instant out the hood and soon on terms with the hare, He was surprisd when the hare dodged at such a last moment, it wasn't meant to do that! Zeus was very wet from the rape leaves, but shortly after another flash of fur got up- Zeus was off, but this time it turned out to be a rabbit, it just made the close by hedge and Zeus slammed in behind it. I was pleased with his efforts! A similar story every day out hunting, but Zeus was getting fitter day by day, I remember one of the first slips, a big hare got up not far away down hill, the bird was straight after it, until it turned up hill- he was beat on the spot! Fitness then was still lacking somewhat
Another slip Zeus flew a hare in tall rape, Went in hard, but The hare seemed to slip between his legs- the eagle was sure he had it! head back, crest up, looking very pleased with himself! He had caught a big juicy rape plant! in the end he retrieved It to the fist!

ShaneShac 26-12-2013 10:32 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
Awesome looking goldie and you seem to be making great progress :supz:

GreenOnions 26-12-2013 10:39 PM

Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!
lovely bird would love to see it fly...... the block is nice too

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