Game Bird

Feeding Game Birds for Life

Wellness : Management

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Purina Animal Nutrition

The Purina Game Bird Life Cycle Feeding Program has been developed and tested at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Missouri.

All phases of the game bird feed program are designed to meet specific nutritional requirements of game birds at various stages of growth and production. Purina feeding programs stress efficiency based on research conducted exclusively with game birds.

Quality game bird feeds from Purina®

Purina® Game Bird Chow® products are manufactured according to strict specifications. Purina® Game Bird Chow® products are not commercial turkey or poultry rations; they are unique products for unique species grown for unique reasons. We feel this is important because game birds eat such a relatively small quantity of feed. A quail chick, for example, eats only a thimbleful of feed in four days. Every bit of Purina® Game Bird Chow® products are Micro-Mixed® with Purina’s exclusive process. Every bite brings your birds complete, wholesome nutrition. Purina’s Life Cycle Program can help you efficiently raise all types of game birds from hatch to release or finish. 

How to feed game birds for shooting preserves

  • To grow solid well-feathered game birds that will fly in the field like natives, start chicks on Purina® Game Bird Startena®. For the first few days sprinkle Startena® on egg flats or pieces of cardboard several times a day outside the brooder where plenty of light is available. As chicks begin to eat out of small chick-size feeders, remove the cardboard. 
  • When game birds are 6 weeks old, change to Purina® Game Bird Flight Conditioner. This highly fortified, low-fat ration is a complete diet and should be fed free choice. For best results feed Flight Conditioner until birds are released. Game Bird Maintenance Chow® is recommended for birds held over for breeders. Do not practice restricted feeding with game birds as it may produce molting. 

How to feed game birds for meat

When raising game birds for the meat market, start chicks on Purina® Game Bird Startena® just as if you were growing birds for the field.

When chicks reach 6 weeks of age, switch them to Purina® Game Bird Finisher. Continue to feed Game Bird Finisher free-choice until birds are well-finished and ready to dress for market. Pheasants and chukars usually reach market weight in about 14 weeks and quail in about 16 weeks. 

How to feed game birds for show condition

Fanciers want beautiful, bright plumage and firm, solid body condition on show birds, including ornamental varieties and waterfowl. Birds must be alert and proud — in the peak of health.

Start chicks on Purina® Game Bird Startena®

When they reach 6 weeks of age, slowly change them to Purina® Game Bird Flight Conditioner Chow®. Continue to feed Game Bird Flight Conditioner Chow® free-choice right up to show time.

How to feed game birds for breeding 

By the same principle that a mother grows a stronger, healthier baby by eating well during pregnancy, the game bird hen directly improves the vigor of her chicks by eating a well-balanced ration while she is producing hatching eggs. That’s why Purina has taken such care in formulating Purina® Game Bird Layena®, which is specially fortified with nutritionally important vitamins and minerals.

Four weeks before the breeding season begins, switch to Purina® Game Bird Breeder Layena® and feed it free-choice to all breeders through breeding season. No extra grain needs to be fed.  

Six special rations for game birds

  1. Purina® Game Bird Breeder Layena® (20% protein) is formulated to support egg production, fertility, embryo development and chick vigor. Feed Game Bird Breeder Layena from one month prior to start of egg production until birds go out of production.
  2. Purina® Game Bird Startena® (30% protein) is formulated to promote rapid growth through bone and muscle development. Feed Game Bird Startena for the first 6 weeks of life.
  3. Purina® Game Bird Flight Conditioner (19% protein) is formulated to stimulate growth and feathering with a minimal amount of body fat. Feed Flight Conditioner from 6 to 16 weeks to attain maximal feathering. Continue feeding Flight Conditioner until release to keep flying birds in top condition.
  4. Purina® Game Bird Finisher (20% protein) is a meat-producing ration. Feed Game Bird Finisher from 6 to 14 weeks (6 to 16 weeks for quail). Birds should be slaughtered as soon as possible after 14 weeks to insure maximum return on investment.
  5. Purina® Game Bird Maintenance Chow® (12.5% protein) is a holding ration for game birds that have reached maturity. Maintenance Chow can be fed after 16 weeks of age or after the shooting season, whichever is desirable. This product is especially valuable for holding breeders over the winter.
  6. Purina® Gamebird Pheasant Chow® is available with or without Amprolium. Line up consists for five products each which include Starter, Finisher, Flight Conditioner, Maintainer, and the Breeder ration. Legally cleared for pheasants only to prevent coccidiosis in growing pheasants. 

Total game bird feed consumption

Game Bird Startena® is a complete feed for starting quail, chukars, pheasants and mallard ducks.
Game Bird Feed per Bird Age
Quail 0.8 lbs 0-6 weeks
Chukar 1.4 lbs 0-6 weeks
Pheasant* 1.8 lbs 0-6 weeks
Mallard 6.5 lbs 0-6 weeks

Game Bird Finisher® is a complete feed for quail, chukars, and pheasants raised to be slaughtered for meat.
Game Bird Feed per Bird Age Final Weight
Quail 6.6 oz. 6-16 weeks 2.5 lbs.
Chukar 1.2 lbs. 6-14 weeks 5.0 lbs.
Pheasant* 2.5 lbs. 6-14 weeks 9.0 lbs.
Mallard 3.0 lbs. 6-14 weeks 12.0 lbs. 

Game Bird Flight Conditioner® is a complete feed for developing and conditioning birds for shooting preserves.

Game Bird Maintenance Chow® is a complete feed for supporting egg production, fertility, and hatchability.

Game Bird Maintenance Chow® is a complete feed for maintaining shooting preserves and breeding birds.

Figures shown here are actual amounts consumed by birds at the Purina Animal Nutrition Game Bird Research Unit in Gray Summit, MO. Under similar conditions birds on preserves or raised for finish can be expected to consume approximately the same amount of feed.

* Pheasant Chow® feeds are available in medicated (Amprolium 0.0175%) and non-medicated rations. Feeding recommendations are those given in the above outlined program.