This may be mentioned somewhere else but I was curious as to the opinion of the general falconry community as to weather you prefer to free-loft FALCONS or prefer to keep them tethered during the moult.
Reguardless of the species, I free loft everything. Now for the difference between me and many falconers.....I fly during the moult as well. The simple fact is wild birds have to fly during that time and it is even MORE stressful on them because they are raising young at the same time which means they are having to fly and hunt several times more per day to keep themselves alive along with their mate and their kids!
Well I'm sure this has been covered before but as we have added more people to the group it would be interesting to bring this up once again. The bird I have now I have free loft. She has been free lofted right through the manning process. But this is what worked best with this bird. Now I to fly throu the molt but I cann't say that every bird I will ever have will be free lofted. This said let's hear from others I'm particularily interested in those posessing eagles. I could see the advantage of teathering them even if you fly them throu the molt.
I keep my rt on a bow perch during the molt she takes to it very well. She doesnt bate much at all usually only before dark trying to roost. My fiance"s bird doesnt like being on a bow perch and bates alot more so we free loft her and she does well with that method. So my advice to you is do what works best with your bird.
During the moult, I keep my birds free lofted. During the hunting season I keep them blocked in the house for ease of weight control.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion................ and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish."
I keep both eagles free lofted all year unless of course I have them in the house. I tried tethering the rehab eagle when I frist got him because he was always lunging towards me. Tethering did not work for this bird and he broke a few feathers and was even harder to mann down. I also keep the HH freelofted and I have had falcons in the past that were always free lofted.
I have done both and prefer free-lofting if the bird takes to it. I had one bird that just would not settle down and bounced off the walls like clockwork 24/7 and destroyed feathers, other than that i have not had a problem free-lofting.
Another thing though, with fresh caught passage birds i keep them teathered atleast until they are hopping/flying to the fist.
Falcon Boy Apprentice Falconry Administrator
Ethics make the individual, not the other way around.
A freshly caught red-tail is kept in the giant hood between manning sessions. Once he's hopping to the fist reliably I freeloft him. Thereafter, during hunting season he is tethered in the weathering area most days, to maximize exposure to sun/rain. At night he's put into the mews. During the moult he remains freelofted in the mews day and night, being tethered in the weathering only when I'm cleaning the mews (once every week or 2).
Give a man a fire, make him warm for a day. Set a man on fire, make him warm for life.
Yeah, the only time my birds are not fee lofted is during manning. Once the bird is manned and hops to the fist I free loft. Usually at that point you can just walk into the mew, walk up to the bird on the perch and call it to hop to the fist for its tidbit. Time frame for that is different for everyone and every bird. I can usually have a wild passage out free flying in about 9-12 days unless I get that stubborn one that takes 3-4 weeks.