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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Adding saline to food appears to increase weight gain in hand-reared falcon Falco spp. chicks

Published source details

Oliphant L. (1988) Effect of saline added to food on weight gain of hand-raised falcons. Journal of Raptor Research, 22, 119-120

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Artificially incubate and hand-rear raptors in captivity Bird Conservation

A small study in a breeding centre in New York, USA, in 1977 and 1980 (Oliphant 1988) found that hand-reared chicks from five pairs of peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus and one pair of gyrfalcons F. rusticolus were twice as heavy at ten days old in 1980, when saline solution was added to their food, compared with 1977, when no saline was added. This was a significant difference, despite the small sample size. The authors note that food supply was not strictly controlled and no monitoring of chick health and survival was performed after day ten, therefore it is not certain whether the saline caused the increase in weight. Chicks were hand-raised on ground common quail Coturnix coturnix with or without 0.9% saline added. The amount of saline was not measured, but it increased the water content of the food to 73% from 68%.