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Nutrition in Raptors


This classification includes birds of prey from many genera. Most medium to large raptors consume whole vertebrate prey. Commonly fed items include mice, rats, young chickens, quail, and pigeons. Kestrels generally consume insects. Fish are the natural diet of piscivorous raptors such as ospreys and sea eagles. If fish or day-old chicks are fed, thiamine supplementation (30 mg/kg feed) twice weekly is an average recommendation. Commercial diets for birds of prey are available and can be fed to decrease the amount of whole prey that must be offered.

Small raptors can eat as much as 20–25% of their body wt/day; larger raptor species may consume considerably less (as little as 5%). Captive raptors should be weighed regularly, and food volume adjusted as indicated. If an organ meat-based diet must temporarily be fed, calcium supplementation at 10 g calcium carbonate/kg fresh meat should be added.

Last full review/revision July 2011 by Joeke Nijboer, PhD; Teresa L. Lightfoot, DVM, DABVP (Avian)

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