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Keeping wild animals

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Keeping wild animals

Post  tigerburnie on Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:26 pm

I thought I'd put forward my thoughts,not intended to sway people,just my personal experiences.
There seems to be some being interested in Owls,never kept one myself,my old history teacher used to breed Barn Owls and I knew a falconer who tried to fly an Eagle Owl who failed.
I flew a Saker Falcon for eight years,have kept a wild rabbit as a child and also kept grass snakes as a child(not a very nice child really!!)kept loads and loads of fish(even tropical marines and invertibrates).
Something you must understand as an owner of any animal is you must understand them and know their requirements,not just to live,but to thrive and enjoy life in captivity.Wild animals,including captive bred ones are different to usual pets.A neighbour might look after a cat whilst you're away for a few days,feeding a bird of prey dead animals might cause a few problems.
Birds in particular are prone to ailments,so do you have a vet nearby with knowledge of wild birds and will they treat them.Some vets don't touch wild birds,especially birds of prey,and some wild animals.You need to have room for them to live,where they won't come to any harm,whilst you are at work and at night.You have to have a supply of food,Owls in particular need a supply of meat that has either fur of feather on it as they need to be able to cast a pellet(same with diurnal birds of prey).
I personally think it's a bit unkind to keep a large bird in an aviary and not fly it freely,as much as anything,it's exercise and stimulating.
So if you're planning on flying your bird,you need to gain it's confidence,then to get it to come back to you need to get to it treat you as it's source of food.This means handling your bird every day,every day,if you don't you may lose it.
That means every holiday has to include your bird,so check where you are planning to go lets you bring your bird.
Now it's not all doom and gloom,on the holiday front,we had a caravan with an awning and stayed all over the country.We even hired a boat and went cruising on the Norfolk Broads one year.
Owning something special like a bird of prey was very rewarding,but you have to understand the commitments,they are very demanding if you want to fly them,oh and remember,some species live for a very long time.

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Re: Keeping wild animals

Post  littlewid on Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:27 am

Thanks for the advice TB ( I think this is slightly aimed at me Very Happy ).
I have not looked after a truely wild animal before but I have rescued birds before and I have looked after Dogs,Cats,Gerbils,fish,rabbits,Hedgehog,rats,hamsters. I have also managed three very sick animals care who's health needs changed on a daily basis. The most acute one was being entrusted by the vet to post operatively look after my cat immediately after his second thyroid operation which was a very critical and dangerous time as it was not only recovery but monitoring for signs of complications such as raised calcium levels,many would say he should have been at the vets but it was a benefits V's risk situation in this case and discussion with all the vets at the surgery it was agreed his post op care was best served at home with me monitoring and observing round the clock for the first 36hrs critical stage. This was because he was an older boy and any minimal stress can raise the calcium levels and lead to death, so post op recovery was best served at home. It was a lot more complex than what I have written and your knowledge base and understanding has to be great and also the understanding of animal physiology to be able to manage such a case.
Bentley my Golden Retreiver had Systemic Lupus to it's severest end and his life was managed on a daily basis, even to the extent of was it too warm to take him for a walk and is this a normal doggy upset tummy or a Lupus flare. Bentley had Lupus right from a puppy so his whole 11 years were normal doggy years to him as he knew no different and even though his whole 11 years controlled my life as he always had to come first and all decisions were centred around bentley, I would not have had it any other way. Before I had Bentley I was lucky enough to have four holidays abroad each year and often going for three weeks at a time but the minute I got bentley, that had to stop, for one, I could not vaccinate him to kennel him (not that I would have anyway)as the vaccine would have killed him plus I would never have left him anyway, together we were a partnership and Bentley trusted me to be there for him and I could read him on a daily basis and he knew that.
I think I am very responsible to my pets and although I know I come across as a ditzy blonde and a whimsical animal lover I would never embark on anything without doing the proper research and first and foremost it has to be right for the animal because if it's not right for them it wont be right for me. I am huge on animal welfare and do not shy away from saying when something is wrong.
You are right that yes, I am thinking of owning an Owl, I have always had a love of them and a great fascination but turning that into owning one is another ball game but thats why I do appreciate all the help and advice from EG and yourself as you both have experience. So my research goes on with gaining knowledge and I would also need to do course as well and handle an Owl, no good getting one if you can't handle it properly, it can't be tied to it's perch all day.
There is as you say, so much to consider plus the longevity of the bird as I don't have 60yrs to give to a Eurasian Owl, so thats a thought too.
yes I would dearly love one but only if it's right and if it isn't then I will have to accept that I just have to visit centres (and hopefully Sage one day), continue to look after my animals and rescue the birds that need rescuing ( we have a very good and large animal hospital that deals with wildlife, not sure about my vets, that would be another query)I will also continue my quest of removing injured or dead animals off the road so they do not succome to being driven over again and some may actually be able to live.
There is alot to think about TB and I do appreciate your thoughts and also your experience, it has been greatly received.
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Re: Keeping wild animals

Post  whitestarling on Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:55 am

I have to say, very wise words from both of. TB for pointing out the pitfalls of owning a wild animals, and the devotion, and time needed to do it right. LW for understanding the problems, and doing the correct research that will allow her to make a level headed decision, not one ruled by the heart.
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Re: Keeping wild animals

Post  Laikipia on Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:58 am

Well said WS I couldnt agree more. I for sure know I would not be able to give the time needed for an owl, so I will admire them from afar.

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Re: Keeping wild animals

Post  tigerburnie on Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:42 pm

The conversations do lead to you a bit littlewid,but I am not pointing at anyone,hence rather than do that , I started a new thread in a different area.The idea of my thread was to make all of you think about something a lot different from"normal" pets.
Some neighbours of mine reported me for having my falcon and flying it,they thought I was bringing a danger into the village and surrounding area.Some loved it,but be aware,you will attract a lot of attention,that at first is nice,but the hostile ones can become wearing.
Birds of prey are not ideal animals to have as a pet is I think what I'm saying,indeed that's exactly what I'm saying now I do think.
If however you wish to become a keeper of a wild bird(you are only their keeper,you never own one),then good luck and do your homework,spend some time learning directly from another keeper and prepare for the hard work.I did two years in charge of the ferret,for an Austringer(a flyer of Hawks as opposed to a falconer who flies falcons) and was made to fully understand the responsibilities.

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Re: Keeping wild animals

Post  littlewid on Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:57 pm

Didn't take it as pointing the finger TB so don't worry, I just thought I was an obvious maybe owl keeper. All the advice and pro's and con's are very welcome and much appreciated.
As I said before I know I can come across as ditzy and do appear as though I would jump straight into things and often my heart does rule my head but thats usually when speaking out about animals, I will go full gusto to protect animals and their rights. I try and speak with the knowledge I have but sometimes my gut instincts take over and I will rant forcefully.
However, I wanted to let you and EG know that I can also be very responsible and do the hard work of research and assessing the situation with a level head.
You are so right that owning or keeping a wild animal is not like snuggling up on the sofa with your cat or dog and keeping your cats indoors to keep them safe and feeding them their nice food is so not the same as having a bird of prey in the house and affording it the due respect of a wild animal that allows you to live with it. There is also no room for sqeamish jumping up and down feeding it dead mice etc because I think mice are cute, their has to be a level headed reality about it all.
A lot of what you have mentioned I have thought about but it is only through talking to you and EG at the moment and hearing what you have to say and advise will be what helps me investigate further. So I am truely grateful for all comments and help and reality checks over looking after a truely wild animal.
If it's right then I would go ahead but if it's not then I would make that decision and stick with it. I suppose what I was trying to say in my other post was, rest assured I will be responsible because you are right, most of our pets are domesticated over time and even things like their digestive systems have changed over the years, which is why as long as we feed them good dog food they are ok, let them rumage through the bins and they get bin belly, whereas years ago that wouldn't have happened. Wild animals have a digestive system that we can't change to suit ourselves. The physiology of owls is so structured, we wont kill a dog by changing it's diet but we could an owl.
It's great to get us all thinking on different lines from our standard pets to wild animals as pets TB, then I suppose you go through the thought process of should owls or other birds of prey be captive, should captive ones only be the ones who would not survive in the wild.
So much to think about but lets keep talking.
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Re: Keeping wild animals

Post  tigerburnie on Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:34 pm

I've been giving this a lot of thought,I am uneasy with any animal being kept as a pet.We humans tend to put our needs above the animals and the animal could be loser in the relationship.
We all , I hope do not condone the old fashioned Zoo cages that had animals pacing up and down.Now bigger enclosures have shown that then some of the animals needs are met and the pacing up and down reduces.
We owe it to our animals to make certain they get something out of the captivity and not just our company.
I am uncomfortable with a house pet,Dogs need to be exercised so do Cats need to get out and run around.The same must apply to Owls and other birds,they should be flown to get a life close to their natural one.Aviaries for large birds, or leaving them tied to a Bow perch or Block is not in the birds best interest.That,to me is going back to the old bad ways of Zoos.

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