For a 1Kg falcon, 50 ml of water daily is recommended. The water should be clean and clear from any contaminates. Falcons will generally lose water as vapour through the mouth, and can be compensated through the following ways:
1 Pouring water into baths will allow the falcon to drink and clean his feathers. The water should be changed at least twice a day.
2 The falcon can get water from the meat he eats, though it is not sufficient to satisfy his needs. To reduce water being lost through defrosting, try to defrost the meat in warm water.
3 Use a water bottle spray to spray at the falcons’ beak, nostrils and other parts of the body.
During the training and hunting season you must increase the amount of water you give your falcon to avoid dehydration. This can be calculated at roughly 10% of the total body weight of the falcon – so if your falcon weighs 1000g, 100 ml is recommended.
To check for dehydration, you can pinch the skin on the foot of your falcon to check its elasticity. The time taken for the skin to return to its natural state can be categorised as follows:
- The skin will return immediately if the falcon is healthy.
- If the skin remains creased for a few seconds your falcon may be suffering from mild dehydration.
- If however the skin remains creased for more than 30 seconds your falcon is suffering from severe dehydration.
Cases of dehydration should be treated immediately as this could lead to mortality. Fluids can be given by mouth, subcutaneous injection, and intravenous infusion.
You can treat dehydration by giving Pedialyte® or Lectade® which is locally available at pharmacies. They will contain essential salts and minerals that are usually lost through dehydration. The falcon should also be brought to a veterinary hospital for further examination.