Feeding birds of prey

Source: E. Manuhutu, 2006
What’s the difference between a piece of beef and a wild rabbit? Heaps, of course. You may expect that a bird of prey would see a tasty bite in both. This is probably true, but are both ‘prey’ just as suitable as feed?
When we look at the nutritional composition, a remarkable difference can be found. A raw piece of meet does not contain a lot of calcium. Calcium is especially important to oviparous birds during the breeding season.
The optimum calcium phosphor ratio in the feed is 2:1. This is due to the fact that the mineral which is abundantly present represses the absorption of the other mineral, increasing the risk of a shortage of this mineral. Vitamin D also plays a role in the calcium regulation, as it stimulates the absorption of calcium and phosphor.
When meat is opted for, it is advisable to use calcium carbonate supplements, as recent research has shown that the calcium level in the so called carmix does not suffice. It is recommended to add one gram of chalk to hundred grams of meat. Because this is a very small amount, the chance of excess is relatively high. Summarized, it can be stated that feeding birds of prey entire prey offers them a better composition of nutrient than feeding them pure meat, and is the thus the better feed.