It is the time of the year that grower diets are slowing down and we are beginning to look at different feeding options. But, how is one to know when to move forward with diets and feeding plans? And, when should we change to contribute towards the best possible bird performance and the best possible bird returns?
At Keepers Choice, we suggest a range of feeding options to cover all feed changeover scenarios – some of which are:
- Feeding Grower from 7-11/12 weeks and moving straight to wheat
- Feeding Grower from 7-13/14 weeks and to a withdrawal diet to maintain a high level of protein
- Feeding Grower from 7-13/14 weeks and moving to our 15% Covert Pellet
- Feeding Grower from 7-13/14 weeks and moving to wheat/maize mix
- Feeding Grower from 7-11/12 weeks then withdraw and feed a maintenance diet until the end of season
Nutrition, cost and performance
From early May, all game birds are fed on high protein diets that contain a multitude of vitamins, supplements, amino acids, oils, fats, fibres and a whole list of ingredients that meet the birds’ nutritional requirements. As each week passes, the diets gradually drop in protein and micronutrients to meet the birds’ ever-changing nutritional requirements.
As we know, pheasants and partridges need to be performing like well-tuned athletes from September 1st to Feb 1st and it is up to us to provide them with the fuel they require.
For example, if birds are dropped from a 20% grower diet to a 12/13% plain wheat diet, this sees a huge nutritional difference and can cause birds to wander more than they already are – often to look for more food. It is also important to have plenty of feeders and plenty of drinkers with clean, fresh water to prevent wandering further.
Generally, poultry will simply eat to fulfil their energy requirement, meaning feed consumption should be lower on a diet with a high energy content. For example, by feeding a plain wheat diet the birds are going to be missing out on energy and protein; leading to higher consumption, stalled feathering up and less weight gain.
We would always recommend not being too quick to move over to wheat. We appreciate that there is a noticeable cost difference between pelleted feed and wheat but, as a lot of people have said in the past, “If you look after your birds, they’ll look after you” and a good diet and the correct feeding options are a key way of looking after your birds.
Judging by the trend of the last few years, there is strong evidence to suggest that the demand for shooting in December and January is increasing and by feeding pellets for a longer period of time, returns will inevitably increase.
As well as pelleted feed, there are other feeding options to consider, such as holding mixes. Holding mixes are extremely attractive to game birds, hence the name. The holding mixes that we supply contain a range of different raw materials such as; wheat, cut maize, peas, red & white millet, dari, soya oil, aniseed and various other seeds too.
Holding mixes can look expensive at face value, however, if you take one tonne of any holding mix at a standard rate of £470 per tonne, and you shoot 13 birds at the going rate of £38 per bird, you have covered the cost of the tonne. As well as that, you’ll be holding more birds which will be helping towards end of year returns – resulting in a happy boss!
For more information on feeding options please call 01508 470661 or head over to our website www.keeperschoice.co.uk
To contact me directly please call – 07793491999 or email me – firstname.lastname@example.org