Hey guys! Sorry for not doing this last week, but I have been so busy! Anyway, I thought I would include the week I missed (week 5) in here as well as week 6, to keep you updated!
Monday (week 5)
There seems to be a certain knack to flying the birds. Full chick legs are given to birds of prey on falconry gloves, whilst owls are given up chick legs. Your arm also has to be horizontally straight in front you, with yourself angled to the side, so that the bird can fly and land easily on your glove. You must keep the reward food upright if it’s a bird of prey you are flying, as they have very curved beaks. After landing, you must turn to your left with your arm straight, and pull the jesses and training rope in front of your hand, so they can fly to the other person without getting tangled.
Wednesday (Week 5)
The two dogs that live on site (Quaver the PNG Singing dog, and Saxon the wolfdog), have to be walked twice a day together, and are kept in enclosures that are right beside each other. This is in the hope that they will begin to get along better and so can be let out at the same time through the centre.
Thursday (Week 5)
Chicks are de-yolked by squeezing from their stomachs to their bottoms (some animals can’t eat the yolk, some can), and pushing out the resulting yellow liquid and string. Normally, the yolk is still unabsorbed from the egg, and that’s why the chicks still contain it. Chick heads can also be chopped off sometimes for raccoon dogs and many of the other animals, and quails can be cut in half and hand fed to some animals, for enrichment.
Friday (Week 5)
The reptiles are sprayed every day with water, so they can shed their skin, and gives hydration. It helps to loosen resistant skin, and thus allows it to shed. Their diet mainly consists of cabbage, some fruits, and other veggies. Also, when doing bird of prey experiences, make sure you do a few warm up flights first so the bird knows what’s happening and will abide to your command, and also will fly properly.
Tuesday (Week 6)
Many hedgehog casualities are brought in throughout the week (and many other species of animals, mainly owls/BOP), meaning that many ticks have to be removed. The ticks are killed in a long process by drowning them in water for at least two days. Unfortunately, sometimes there are too many ticks, or there can be maggots in the skin, which means that that hedgehog has to be put to sleep.
Wednesday (Week 6)
The marmosets are now on ZolCal-D, a calcium supplement with vitamin D, to give the remaining two better overall health since a couple tragically died. It can be given in squash, water, and even on grapes. Sometimes, during flight training, running flights are used to test and train the bird’s agility. They are usually performed by running with your gloved hand held out horizontally. The bird will have to try and land fast and stably while you’re still moving.
We had fun at the centre today, participating in the ALS ice bucket challenge, Donating half of the money raised by donations to throw a bucket over someone to ALS, and the other half to repairing the broken roof on the hospital! Quaver now has a door so we don’t have to traipse though Saxon’s enclosure to get him out!
Friday (Week 6)
The aviaries, which house the birds during the day, need to be cleaned out daily. During this, the baths/water bowls need to be cleaned and refilled, the perches need to be spray cleaned, and feathers/pellets/poo needs to be removed, and the nest box in the corner needs to be checked, cleaned and any bedding replaced. Then, chicks/mice/rats are pushed down the shoots to feed them.
So that’s it for those weeks! As I write this, I only have two/three more days left at the centre (week 7 has mainly been conducting research for my mini project for uni!), but I’m definitely going to be going back there again! Don’t forget to visit this great place, Gentleshaws Wildlife Centre, check it out online or on FaceBook!
Have a great Wednesday!