View Full Version : Very Early Fist Feeding

07-15-2010, 02:30 PM
I was recently reading a discussion on the IFF by some British falconers who feed their imprint spars on the fist as soon as they can stand and tear food properly. They say this prevents aggression and mantling later on by conditioning them/ establishing trust early in life. Has anyone here tried this? In this country, I know Steve Layman hand feeds his imprints with tidbits from the bare hand, but I'm not sure about large chunks from the glove.

I was unable to get an eyas this season, but next year I want to imprint and tame-hack a goshawk or coopers, and the glove feeding thing makes a lot of sense to me. Seems like a good way to avoid having to reduce weight in an eyas to counter the developing fear during the withdrawal stage.



07-15-2010, 03:06 PM
Makes sense to me. It establishes the glove as a place to eat. I think where you would run into trouble is IF you needed to drop the weight to a point where the bird was very hungry and he/she was pissed because you wouldn't give food. That's the root of the food aggression. Layman's method goes around this by using OC to shape the aggressive behaviors away from the falconer.

07-15-2010, 03:32 PM
I've only raised three imprint goshawks over the years, but I used to feed all three on the fist. They all turned out really nice. Never any hint of aggression. Although picking them up off of kills wasn't always so poetic, but we worked the bugs out. All three tuned out to be long term, multiple intermewed game hawks.

07-15-2010, 04:09 PM
Having done this before, I will tell you, you will have to learn how to handle the screaming issues at some point that will when weight is addressed....They will ALWAYS at some point revert back to remembering you as the parent that feeds them. It's all they remember, all they know, it's all they have to turn to. I have a gos that was raised that way, by someone else, then eventually was given to me when neighbors started to object.... She is now 8 years old, but to this day if she is cut to quickly , or is what SHE preceives as to low, she will scream and beg and let the world know she is dying....
I hate it ... but other than that she is a great bird. The only saving grace the smaller the bird the less shrill the noise.

07-15-2010, 06:51 PM
I opted not to feed my gos on the glove until well into the first year after many, many kills, wild and otherwise. I've never flown her to the glove for food, just picked her up from kills with it- again, well into her training. She has remained an extremely quiet hawk and I still have both of my eyes. :D

07-15-2010, 07:02 PM
Hi Tom glad to see you posting.. I have often wondered how your gos is doing as you did a great job rearing/training her.... Hope all is well...now back to the issue at hand..sorry.

07-15-2010, 08:19 PM
Thanks Barry! Just sent an update in a PM.

07-17-2010, 12:29 AM
I've flown many imprint gosses trained to the fist. The females seem fine with it. The males are a bit more difficult and sometimes prone to aggression when fist fed.

Coopers are a whole different story. Every coopers that I have seen flown to the fist for food has been dangerously aggressive. I have no experience with spars and so can't speak for them.

I would be curious to know how many people have trained imprint coops to feed from the bare hand and what their experiences were? Or have they all been traumatized and dropped out of falconry altogether?

09-06-2010, 10:55 AM
When I was a kid I found 3 downy coops in a fallen nest. I fed them by hand and then off the fist...but it wasn't too long until I got impatient to hunt with em so I started to set up baggie situations and then would just pick up the young hawk and its "kill" so the meal was eaten off the fist. By the time they were flighted they made some noise when they were getting hungry, but were (mostly) quiet after they ate.

I remember that the hawks had constant interaction with people as they were kept on the porch and in the living room of the ranch house on my parents small horse farm. Now, before it sounds like I was doing some sort of intelligently and deliberatly planned imprinting here I assure you that in reality I was just going by the seat of my pants, and a borrowed copy of North American Falconry and Hunting Hawks. (did not know what I was doing was wrong. Released all birds when I figured it out. frus)crazyyfrus))

All I can figure these days as to why I did not encounter much aggression is the constant exposure to people and the early bagging...confuseddconfusedd One male was isolated from people and its siblings for a while due to an injured leg he had when I found them in the fallen nest. He was the only one of the three to be scary aggressive that I remember (but it was a long time ago). He was also much more vocal than his siblings. (a big female and a male) The siblings were basically creche reared with people and commotion galore. Pluss daily baggies.

I never imprinted another coop, but have really had some fun with some passage birds since then though:D

The point of all that? 2 out of 3 social imprint coopers say you can possibly feed off the glove and not fear for your life...In one poorly documented experiment.

great hawkin