Yesterday, Big Girl and One-eye got the day to themselves– when last we left off, we’d fed them up in the hopes they’d be ready to work. Unfortunately, I massively underestimated the power of Metabolism(tm)– despite the increase in intake, they both barely held even weight-wise. In order to avoid repeating previous mistakes, I did what I should have done the day before: they both got a truly ridiculous amount of food (more than twice the usual amount) and took the day off from training. Apparently One-eye’s reaction to the unexpected pile of food was to mantle over it and then look suspiciously at the handler, with a sort of “…I really don’t have to do anything for this?” expression.
Today, they were back up to a comfortable weight and ready to work! Perfect!
We took it slow today — I used her in a short presentation, in which she was excellent, and then followed it up by a session of step-ups. She was very well-behaved. Nothing special to note… just that she was receptive and seemed happy! She got half a rat to work on back in her mew.
The cue/no-cue issue is perhaps at 70% now… he (nearly) always comes when cued, and definitely ignores the glove’s movement when not cued much more frequently. He checked himself today a few times, although he came a few times without the cue as well. I’m trying to figure out if there’s a secondary cue I’m not seeing or if it’s just that he’s having trouble with it after ten years of coming to the glove when raised.
We did point-to-perch for a while, then jump-ups from the ground (he did much better this time and only missed the perch once), then long flights glove-to-glove with a volunteer — he was awesome. A little sticky-footed, but his weight is back where I need it, so I think he may just have been overly excited by working again after a break.
This is not a new raptor– it’s a sick bantam chicken I brought home from the barn at work, who has needed some supportive care to get over an illness complicated by a high parasite load. Tonight, the stinky thing needed a bath, which then progressed into a shower once I realized he seemed to enjoy being rinsed off. Then I spent 30 minutes carefully blow-drying him until fluffy so that he wouldn’t catch a chill. The rooster seemed to enjoy the attention.
Oddly, nobody who knows me is surprised by this. If anything, I am surprised by its normalcy.
C’est la vie.