Raptors: reproductive disease, incubation and artificial insemination

image of Raptors: reproductive disease, incubation and artificial insemination
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Raptors tend to be monogamous and pairs are more or less in close contact throughout the year; most have well demarcated territories, which are defended most strongly in the breeding system. This chapter covers normal reproduction; artificial insemination; incubation techniques; infertility; reproductive diseases; egg pathology and hatching problems; and neonatal mortality.

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21.1 Display behaviour of an imprinted male Peregrine Falcon, demonstrating ‘bowing’. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.2 Breeding chamber for falcons with two nesting sites (covered), gravel on the floor, sides closed and perches with artificial turf. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.4 Imprinted Gyrfalcon male copulating on a special hat to collect its semen from the hat’s border. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.5 Sperm collection using the massage technique. Collection of semen (watery appearance). The white colour shows that it has been contaminated by urine. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.6 Giemsa stain of falcon spermatozoa for evaluation of semen quality: normal appearance; deformed head; multiple tail; deformed body and double tail; double head, deformed body, no tail; deformed sperm and a granulocyte indicating an inflammatory process within the testis or deferens duct. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.7 Insemination of a female falcon. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.9 Shell of a Peregrine Falcon egg after grinding to make it more porous to increase the loss of water (weight) during incubation. 1 = shell; 2 = shell still intact; 3 = egg membrane. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.11 Buddy Digital Egg Monitor for the evaluation of the embryo’s heart rate during incubation. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.12 The air cell within the egg becomes oblique, indicating that pipping of the embryo will soon occur. The arrow indicates the usual place for the first pip.
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21.13 A commercial brooder for falcons for the first 2 days of life. The chicks are kept clean and dry by using tissue paper in cups and changing it regularly. Using a red light with dimmer for chicks older than 2 days is of great advantage as the light (and thus the temperature) can be changed according to the chicks’ behaviour. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.14 Immediately after feeding the chick is still sitting but starting to sleep. The crop is nearly full and further food should not be offered. The chicks start to sleep but are still sitting; the temperature should now be slightly increased for about 30 minutes. If more than one chick is reared, they huddle together immediately after feeding. The temperature should be increased slightly for about 30 minutes until they relax and lie down. 30 minutes later, the chicks lie down separately but still in contact. The temperature can now be slightly reduced. If breathing is calm and regular and the extremities are near the body, the temperature is at its optimum. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.15 Minced day-old rats can be easily fed to the chicks using a syringe. The amount of food can easily be adjusted for each bird. Food remnants should be removed. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.16 Cloacal neoplasia in a female Peregrine Falcon. Such abnormalities can lead to infertile eggs. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.17 Radiograph of a Peregrine Falcon demonstrating medullary bone in the tibiotarsus. Lateral view of a Harris’ Hawk with egg binding and a palpable egg in the abdomen. Note that there is no medullary bone present. Treatment with subcutaneous 10% calcium borogluconate and a substantial oral dose of powdered calcium and vitamin D (Nutrobal, Vet Ark) solved the problem. This egg was of normal size. (Courtesy of Nigel Harcourt-Brown)
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21.18 Ventrodorsal view of a Goshawk with egg binding and with a palpable egg. The egg was shelled and adequate medullary bone was present. Note the piece of lead (arrowed) in the gizzard. The bird was given edetate calcium disodium by intramuscular injection and laid the egg within 12 hours. Further treatment for the lead poisoning was required. The egg was of normal size. (Courtesy of Nigel Harcourt-Brown)
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21.19 At the blunt end, the egg is opened at the air bulb border for investigation. This demonstrates the correct position of the embryo in the egg immediately prior to pipping. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.20 enrichment.
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21.21 Peregrine Falcon chick that failed to retract the yolk sac. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.22 Gyrfalcon embryo that died directly prior to pipping, demonstrating severe neck oedema. Frequently the cause of this alteration is insufficient loss of water/weight during the incubation period. (© Michael Lierz)
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21.23 Post-mortem examination of a Peregrine Falcon egg that failed to pip. It shows that the embryo’s position made it impossible to move its beak into the air cell. (Courtesy of Nigel Harcourt-Brown)
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