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Weight Management

Falconry with kestrels is a ton of fun and the key to being successful with them is proper weight management! This is a huge topic but I will try to cover the basics on this page.

Proper Weight Management for your American Kestrel

First thing you will need is an accurate scale. A triple beam scale by Ohaus is the type that most falconers use to weigh their birds. I would stay away from digital scales. Digital scales usually don't have the accuracy of a triple beam scale. Many times digital scales will have a accuracy rating of +/- 5 grams. Kestrels are very light weight maxing out at approx 130 grams on a fat female Kestrel. That 5 grams is a huge difference when trying to get to your birds perfect weight. Right now my Female Kestrel is hunting well at 112 grams.

Grams are a smaller unit of measurement than ounces and it is highly recommended that you use grams when weighing lightweight raptors or really any raptors. Kestrels are very light and have a high metabolism. This combination makes them more delicate than other larger raptors. Ask questions and get a scale and equipment BEFORE you get a kestrel or any falcon. Also, before you get a kestrel....know how to use your scale. There are small lead weights that have preset weights like 25 or 50 grams that you can use to check the accuracy of your scale.

Second thing you will need is a sheet of paper to record your daily weights and notes. It is always good to be able to go back over your past notes and weights to check for mistakes or to be able to repeat a good thing. As you go from season to season you will be able to go back and avoid mistakes you made in the past or conitinue to do certain training methods that worked well for you. Keeping a Falconry journal of your day to day activities might be more than you want to do but you should at least keep a Falconry Weight Chart. I have attached one below that you can print and use. The file below is a PDF file, just click to open then print.

Once you have a scale and know how to use it (and have a falconry license), then you can trap a kestrel. You want to weigh your kestrel as soon as you trap it. The trap weight is important because it gives you a place to start. You should also make a note if you see they have a large crop already. If they just ate a huge meal before you trapped the bird then you might be a little off for a true trap weight. So check their crop and make a note if you see they have a full crop. More coming soon....


I am still working on this page, more coming soon!
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