6 months before they loose most of their nutritional value so i wouldn't do any longer than 5.5 months
" Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH" -Patrick Henry
i always use DOC when i want to lower my falcons weight, while not giving her less food. i prefer to feed her pigeons. nowadays when she makes a kill i crop her up on them, and the next day she is keen again, and 3grams higher at most
2010 season: Firefly- daisy cutting rhab peregrine, problem child Caspian- tiercel lanner, and hopefully a high flying killer
I use DOC as a pick up when huning, my boy will do back flips for them and sometimes in the summer when flying(becasue I find that the water content is higher then quail, but only for tidbits) I oreder live, cull, cool, freeze and store myself
Found this old thread and just wanted to say that despite what that pamplet said, I personally don't believe that DOC are an adequate staple food anymore. Can birds stay alive on them? Yes. Will they "be all they can be"? I don't think so. if you feed chicks for a while, then switch to a more complete whole food, such as mice, you'll probably see a big difference. DOC have their place in falconry, but I use them as 'filler' more than anything else. In other words, they get their normal ration of mice, then I feed them an additional chick or two or three so they can get a larger reward but still make weight the next day.
Last Edit: Oct 8, 2014 17:31:22 GMT -5 by Falcon Boy
Falcon Boy Apprentice Falconry Administrator
Ethics make the individual, not the other way around.
My experience is for Red-tails and Harris’, DOCs are a fine staple diet. Over the past 30 years I've tried varying diets that included whole rodents, bird and wild caught game. During the early years I bred mice and rats and my bird's diet consisted mainly of them. In the field I would use DOCs to call the bird in or transfers. Then I started mixing in quail. Eventually I moved where breeding rodents was not an option so I changed my bird’s diets to mostly DOCs and that was supplemented with the daily catches. For my Red-tails and Harris', this has worked out well for me. After the hunting season and after the stash of game is depleted, my birds are molted on DOCs. The only variety they see then is an occasional mouse if I trap some in the house or maybe some road kills if I find a fresh rabbit or squirrel hit in front of my house. All in all, my birds have had very few health problems. A couple years ago my 29 year old Red-tail finally died. At one time I did a quick calculation and came up with my Red-tail had eaten over 35,000 DOCs in his lifetime. Who knows; maybe if I fed him a more varied diet he may have lasted to 35. My other old bird is a 24 year old harris. When hunting my harris I try to average one rabbit a day. Last year he meet that goal.
I'm not trying to tell people that they should be using DOCs as the main diet for their birds. The point I'm trying to make is some bird can be maintained on them and do very well. I would never argue the fact that a varied diet is a good diet but for some birds varied it is not the only healthy option. My Red-tails and harris hawks have done well on a diet of mostly DOCs. That being said, DOCs probably are not a good staple diet for many other birds. As the study has pointed out, kestrels love DOCs. That has been my experience also. I still feel their diet should also include mice. I would certainly change things up if I were flying a long wing or an accipiter.
I guess in the end, diet need meet a few points
Is it healthy for the bird
Is it convient
Is it affordable
For me and the types of birds I fly, DOCs fit my needs. I've had no health problems feeding them, they are easy to portion meals, and at 3 cents each it is hard to find something more affordable.
Mark T, Where are you getting DOC for 3 cents? What about shipping, or are you picking them up yourself? I have 2 local breeders who supply me with quail, which I use to supplement wild squirrel and rabbit, but I would like to add DOC for a convenient sized pickup piece.