Game Bird

Breeding Game Birds

Wellness : Nutrition

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Purina Animal Nutrition

Management is crucial to a successful game bird breeding program.

The following are several sound game bird management practices that can help ensure your breeding program is fruitful.

Bird Selection: Whether you raise quail, chukars, pheasants, mallard ducks or ornamentals you should select birds to fit specific needs. The following points offer guidelines for selecting game birds.
 
  • Shooting preserve birds should be selected on the basis of flightiness, wingspan, feathering and size. Select only the common strains which hunters prefer.
  • Meat type birds should be selected for size and conformation. Selection on the basis of egg production is also important.
  • Eggs and chicks should be purchased from a reputable breeder who carefully selects and breeds healthy birds that produce well. Examine the parent stock whenever possible.
Bird Housing
Breeding game birds will perform better in enclosed type housing. Outdoor pens allow little environmental control resulting in depressed performance with changes in weather, shorter day length, pests and other disturbances.

Optimal performance potential can be attained with insulated, fan-ventilated houses. Floor pens with litter are recommended for pheasants. Wire flooring is recommended for chukars and quail. Mallards require flooring that will provide the maximum drainage. Rock or sloping pens can be used successfully for mallards.

Mating game bird breeders
Breeding season naturally comes with spring, and game bird hens usually produce eggs from early spring to early fall. Hens should be mated with cocks about one month before expected production. For best fertility mate one pheasant cock or mallard duck with five to eight hens. Quail and chukars have been successfully mated in pens with one cock or two, three or four hens. As the breeding ratio widens keep in mind some fertility is lost.

Egg production
Game birds naturally start producing eggs around April 1. Breeders can be placed on Purina Game Bird Breeder Layena® one month prior to onset of egg production (approximately March 1).

To maximize egg production, a lighting schedule should be followed. The schedule below is designed to yield optimal egg production for game bird breeders.
 
    Lights On
(A.M.)
Lights Off
(P.M.)
    Lights On
(A.M.)
Lights Off
(P.M.)
April 1
8
15
22
29
5:15
5:15
5:30
5:30
5:15
7:00
7:00
7:15
7:15
7:30
July 1
8
15
22
29
4:00
4:00
3:45
3:45
3:30
8:30
8:45
8:45
9:00
9:00
May 6
13
20
27
5:00
5:00
4:45
4:45
7:30
7:30
7:45
8:00
August 5
12
19
26
3:30
3:15
3:15
3:00
9:15
9:15
9:30
9:30
June 3
10
17
24
4:30
4:30
4:15
4:15
8:00
8:15
8:15
8:30
September 1
8
15
22
29
3:00
2:45
2:45
2:30
2:30
9:45
9:45
10:00
10:00
10:15
        October 7 2:15 10:15

 
This program is designed to fit most areas of the United States. It allows a gradual increase to a maximum of 20 hours of light. This rate should be held constant if birds are maintained in production. Never decrease light during the production period because it can decrease egg production.

Collect eggs three times daily to avoid embryonic destruction through environmental change. Also, game birds have a tendency to eat eggs left in pens for prolonged periods. If the ambient temperature is above 85 degrees F, then you should collect eggs as often as possible. If the egg is cracked, it is not recommended to save this egg for hatching. The crack will allow moisture to leave the egg and will prevent the proper development of the chick. Avoid excessively large or small eggs and oddly shaped eggs. If the egg is excessively soiled, then it should not be saved for hatching.

By managing these key elements, and providing game birds with proper nutrition, breeding