10 week old Ravens, help? - Reptile Forums

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Old 05-06-2016, 06:00 PM
Egg
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Default 10 week old Ravens, help?

I work for a bird of prey centre, and am only used to training birds of prey (duh), who will do pretty much anything so long as they're getting food. I have recently acquired two 10 week old Ravens, my concern in that I've got them too late and that they are not imprinted on me. I've had them in my care for nearly 3 weeks now, I sit in their aviary with them for 2 hours every day to get them used to me. (Their aviary is off view from public at the moment.) They no longer freak out whenever I go in there, and they call to me for food if they can hear my voice before I reach them. For the last week I have been trying to get them to come to my arm/fist for food. Am I doing something wrong, because they're having none of it. (Like I said I've only ever worked with birds of prey, so please don't judge.) I have trained exotic mammals, so I'm wondering would it be best to train them with those techniques, like target training and clicker training etc. How do I get them used to me handling them also? With the birds of prey in our care they are all wearing equipment but I've heard you shouldn't put equipment on corvids because the hate being forcefully restrained. I am under some pressure from my boss to have them 'show ready' by the summer holidays but I know I can't rush this process because any mistake or upset I cause them, they're so intelligent they'll remember me for it and I'll take a huge step backwards with them. Do I pick them up, and force them (in the nicest sense of the word) to let me hold them, or is that a massive no go? Sorry for the stupidly long message!!! Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:21 PM
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I'd have thought being extremely clever birds they'd do always anything for food. But that could be a double edged sword. They already think you're the enemy maybe? I'd say put food in dishes when you go into their aviary. So they start to associate you with food without having to come to you. Then after a while replace this treat food with normal food and put the treat food near/on you. They'll soon figure things out. Although I'd say it might be a case of just being you. Good luck and PLEASE post pics/make a thread of the birds of prey your work with.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:38 PM
Egg
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Thanks for the reply! I have already been placing their food at the furthest end of their aviary and gradually been bringing it forward closer to where I sit. Maybe I'll start leaving it on my lap, or at my feet or something and see what they do. I'm also going to start using their highest value food, instead of food that they will eat but not necessarily enjoy the most. Their favourite food is beef chunks or minced beef, so maybe I'll hold off giving that to them tomorrow so the next day they'll be really keen for it!
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sopf View Post
Thanks for the reply! I have already been placing their food at the furthest end of their aviary and gradually been bringing it forward closer to where I sit. Maybe I'll start leaving it on my lap, or at my feet or something and see what they do. I'm also going to start using their highest value food, instead of food that they will eat but not necessarily enjoy the most. Their favourite food is beef chunks or minced beef, so maybe I'll hold off giving that to them tomorrow so the next day they'll be really keen for it!
With them being so intelligent it won't take them long to start associating you with food..
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Jack Torrance: Mr. Grady. You were the caretaker here. I recognize ya. I saw your picture in the newspapers. You, uh, chopped your wife and daughters up into little bits. And then you blew your brains out.

Grady: That's strange, sir. I don't have any recollection of that at all.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:16 AM
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It will take a little time to gain their trust but spend enough time with them and they should get there. Were they hand reared originally? 10 weeks is pretty old to be starting with parent reared birds but if hand reared they don't need to be specifically imprinted to you, they will come around. How do they react when you approach them? Will they hand feed?

Higher value food is the way to go with training. Flying weight is not so important with corvids if trained right as they enjoy and value certain foods more, even to the point they will perform the behavior to receive the food when not hungry, cache it somewhere, then come back to get more. Play is also a good way to gain their trust, as there is far more that motivates them than just food. Bringing interesting objects into the aviary with you may also entice them closer to you. (keep in mind that corvids are also phobic birds, so certain objects may also panic them, especially large or stick like things that are moved around) I do sometimes use jesses with corvids (never tethered though) just to help with handling as they can be a little hyper and this teaches them to sit still while being carried. These would need to be fitted fairly early for them to accept them but I would not restrain them until already happy with being picked up or you are likely to put yourself back.

Our Raven came to us as a rescue at a year old, hand reared but not handled or trained. He was never taught to step up and even now, will do it if in the right mood, but resents being forced, and will not stay if carried. There are ways around this though. He is target trained (amongst many other things) but will come when called by name, and for transport to and from shows, schools etc he will put himself in and out of the car and the tent/school hall etc, sometimes with a little herding if at an area he has not visited before.

Honestly, if the birds are not even approaching you yet then I think it is a little optimistic to think they will be show ready by the summer holidays. It is not just you that they have to accept, but the arena, the public, and anything that may be going on that could distract or spook them, which is a lot more of an issue with covids than with raptors.

What are you hoping to train them to do? Have you considered partial wing clipping? This is a controversial technique that many people automatically do not like on principle, but partially clipping them on both sides to limit, but not prevent, flight, can make it safer to manage them out of the aviary, giving you the chance to get them used to free roaming around the arena and build up their confidence outside the aviary. This is important as even if you get them perfectly trained in their own space, take them to an area were something is different, even just the other side of the wire, and they are likely to spook and take off. Training on creance as you would with raptors can work, but many resent the line, especially if not used to it early, and this may also set you back. It also relies on very uniform, A to B flight that is not very corvid-like behavior, and is likely to restrict and frustrate them.
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