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Old 24-04-2013, 01:08 PM
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Default How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

Hi Guys,
Read a few approaches, what do you guys propose as best way to establish this....

KR

Norrie
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Old 24-04-2013, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

Get a good mentor and follow his/her system until you have enough experience to develop your own system.
All systems start with determining a top weight.
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Old 24-04-2013, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

For me the only way is when you get the bird it should be scared of you and bate off the glove relentlessly, spend a couple of hours untill you can get the bird to stand on the scale, note this weight, the bird wont eat but you man it regularly to tame it with food on show, the first time the bird takes a bight note this weight as the first reaction weight, this will come in handy later, then you get the bird to hop jump and fly to the fist each time the weight is noted, when the bird is on the creance you want an instant responce, with harriss' hawks they can lead you up the garden path and drop you like a brick, instant has to be instant i.e you put the bird up a tree start to walk off go for youre pocket and the bird is there before you can turn round, this is the point at flying free, now you have to show it some rabbits, if it chases them with vigour you have youre flying weight, as the bird gets fitter and more confident at flying this may well increase only you can then gauge what youre individual bird hunts at
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Old 24-04-2013, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevarth View Post
Get a good mentor and follow his/her system until you have enough experience to develop your own system.
All systems start with determining a top weight.
OK Trevarth, noted ... thanks... but really appreciated the diverse comments and experiences coming in... thanks y'all, soaking all this up!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiff View Post
for me the only way is when you get the bird it should be scared of you and bate off the glove relentlessly, spend a couple of hours untill you can get the bird to stand on the scale, note this weight, the bird wont eat but you man it regularly to tame it with food on show, the first time the bird takes a bight note this weight as the first reaction weight, this will come in handy later, then you get the bird to hop jump and fly to the fist each time the weight is noted, when the bird is on the creance you want an instant responce, with harriss' hawks they can lead you up the garden path and drop you like a brick, instant has to be instant i.e you put the bird up a tree start to walk off go for youre pocket and the bird is there before you can turn round, this is the point at flying free, now you have to show it some rabbits, if it chases them with vigour you have youre flying weight, as the bird gets fitter and more confident at flying this may well increase only you can then gauge what youre individual bird hunts at
And, if you get the weight too far out, it either won't fly or will fly off?
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Old 24-04-2013, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

No if you get it that wrong , to high lost hawk , to low dead hawk!
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Old 24-04-2013, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiff View Post
for me the only way is when you get the bird it should be scared of you and bate off the glove relentlessly, spend a couple of hours untill you can get the bird to stand on the scale, note this weight, the bird wont eat but you man it regularly to tame it with food on show, the first time the bird takes a bight note this weight as the first reaction weight, this will come in handy later, then you get the bird to hop jump and fly to the fist each time the weight is noted, when the bird is on the creance you want an instant responce, with harriss' hawks they can lead you up the garden path and drop you like a brick, instant has to be instant i.e you put the bird up a tree start to walk off go for youre pocket and the bird is there before you can turn round, this is the point at flying free, now you have to show it some rabbits, if it chases them with vigour you have youre flying weight, as the bird gets fitter and more confident at flying this may well increase only you can then gauge what youre individual bird hunts at
This is bang on the money. I would add/ask though Jiff, Where do you stand on the Harris which chases like mad across open field but refuses to commit until the rabbit hits cover and then tries to go in for the kill. My first was like that and i reduced weight a couple of times, but he was the same. I then gave him rabbits in cover and he was mad for them and didnt hold back. I dont think that weight reduction in this case would have ever got him taking rabbit in the open. once cover rabbit was tasted, then open ones were much more attractive to him. Would like your thoughts on the subject... as it may well come in useful for anyone reading. particularly the thread starter; Mr Tartanraptor
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Old 24-04-2013, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

I think that Jiff's account is ok to the point of going free. Normally the weight of a hawk when they fly free for the first time is the lowest that they will ever be as they are still in the process of overcoming fear, assisted by hunger and manning - as well as the falconer's own fears when facing that crucial first free flight who is inclined to look to the reassurance of a tighter weight to overcome their own insecurity.

As the hawk's fear abates with time weight will be less to do with overcoming fear and more directly proportional to its desire to perform the food related tasks required and so the hawk will respond as well, if not better at a higher weight.

This is also the time at which the hawk is gaining muscle mass and the weather is getting colder.

Therefore, with a young hawk that is flying free and entered the falconer should experiment with increasing weight as the hawk becomes more relaible in the field. The hawk's weight should be increased until a drop off in performance is noted. Throughout the hawks first season a bit of careful experimentation in weight should be attempted looking to find the parameters at which it will perform well whilst looking to fly at as high a weight as possible without it being to the detriment of performance. The caveat here is that a beginner may take this too far and settle for poor performance due to flying at too high a weight. As you get to know your hawk better the subtle differences in small changes in weight will become more apparent and allow the falconer to fine tune the hunting/flying weight of their hawk.

However - Don't get caught in the trap of believing that weight is the be all and end all, that all you have to do is dial in the right weight and you get the required performance. It is not.

Weight is just one of many tools to help the falconer understand the mental and physical condition of their hawk. Weight is just a proportional representation of the body condition of a hawk and how much 'excess' it is carrying, or not. An unfit hawk freshly trained hawk with little muscle is in the same physical state of 'need' as the same hawk that is heavier in weight due to factors such as: carrying more muscle mass after flying a lot: having fed on a larger crop of low calorie food over a greater time ago; a large drop in temperature; being better motivated hawk due to being consistently well rewarded over time and learning its role and on an on and on.

Finally, I have flown hawks and falcons that have shown markedly different behaviours due to a difference of less than 1/2 ounce and others that showed little difference over a broad weight range of several ounces. All hawks are different. There are no rules.
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Old 24-04-2013, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

Jiff,

Why would you let a fresh hawk bate relentlessly?
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Old 24-04-2013, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Norrie View Post
Jiff,

Why would you let a fresh hawk bate relentlessly?
I think jiff is saying that all a new hawk wants to do is escape from your company and is terrified. They do initially constantly try to bate until hooded or sat in the dark or get tired out. It's not a case of letting them. It's just what they try and do.
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Old 24-04-2013, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: How best to determine your hawks flying weight?

To me its much like a dog. You dont give your dog eighteen tins of dog food a day, you know how much to feed him to keep him healthy, rather than fat, or starved. It the same with a hawk, only more so. You will be feeding the amount he needs to keep him healthy, and to get the responses you want. This is done with trial and error. And as a beginner, keeping rigorous notes will help you work it out. A mentor, or experienced falconer is the best person to guide you in the early stages, and to stop you making potentially catastrophic mistakes.
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