Home › Forums › General Discussion › Ambassador Raptor Feeding Schedule?
Tagged: #raptor #feed schedule
- This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 week, 6 days ago by Heather Natola.
March 5, 2023 at 5:02 pm #2128Stephanie JoeParticipant
Hello IAATE Community! I wanted to ask if people would be willing to share their feeding schedule for their ambassador raptors? We are currently feeding our pygmy falcon her full diet daily (even when not worked), but I have heard of some facilities replicating how raptors may not always feed daily in the wild and thus fasting their birds occasionally.
Just some background on our zoo’s pygmy falcon… she is newer to our program but has been doing great on the glove and is showing good signs of being comfortable in front of people and in novel situations. Currently, we work her about 4 days a week (3 sessions informally just for training and one session as a presentation/encounter). She is somewhat food motivated, and we are continuing to evaluate whether simply being out on the glove and having such stimuli could be a strong secondary reinforcer. We are wondering if adjusting her feeding schedule would help to encourage her motivation, but we do not have lots of bird savvy people on our team to know what changes could be good to try or what aspects to consider.
Any thoughts, example schedules, or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!March 7, 2023 at 11:07 pm #2129Josh SankoParticipant
Hi Stephanie. Is there any food she seems to be particularly reinforced by? Using the diet items that are more reinforcing on the days she’s training could bump that motivation to what you’re looking for. That could also help outcompete the reinforcement of being outside when you’re looking for attentive behavior. There is a position statement on Food and Weight Management on the website you can check out, too. If you haven’t used those strategies, I would reach out to some experienced trainers who have to ensure you’re doing it safely. I hope this is helpful!March 9, 2023 at 8:48 pm #2130Anna MorrisParticipant
This is a great topic. I agree with Josh, and will say that we don’t fast our ambassador birds either. For our American Kestrels, we don’t vary the amount of food they get dramatically, maybe 1 or 2 grams at a time, in relation to our knowledge of their health and motivation level, and they get their full diet amount regardless of their efforts in a given day.March 14, 2023 at 12:42 pm #2140Heather NatolaParticipant
Hi Stephanie, this is a huge topic that may be bigger than this forum. I know it’s something that I have been struggling with for the birds at my facility. Do you have an IAATE mentor? They can help you come up with a diet that works for your team and your bird. Is it possible for her to do the informal training sessions you mentioned every day? For the animals that are in training, we feed them based on their behavior for the day. Instead of always giving the bird, for example, 100g of food no matter what, we cut that food into pieces and once they learn that they are fed based on their behavior, they mostly are all working for the same diet we were prescribing before we started using it to train. I want to throw the huge caveat on this that you should absolutely work with an expert on this topic, and not just take my word for it as the animal’s welfare is too important.
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