At MacFarlane Pheasant Farm, we take our protein very seriously. Years of work and study and hands-on research has shown us the optimum diet for raising healthy gamebirds on a farm.
In the wild, pheasant food consists of grain, insects, worms, and pretty much anything they can peck at – even if it’s not good for them. Our pheasants are fed a balanced diet with a set protein content tailored for their age. Because we buy in bulk, we have the feed mixed to contain the correct protein content. Check the ingredients on commercially purchased game bird feed and try to duplicate the following recommendations for best results.
Up to three weeks of age use pre-starter feed with 28% protein; from three to seven weeks use starter feed with 26% protein; from seven to 24 weeks use grower feed with 20% protein content and past 24 weeks use maintenance food with a 14% protein content. If you can’t find game bird feed in your area, turkey feed – not chicken – is the next best thing for keeping pheasants on a healthy diet.
Our hens don’t get a different diet unless they are breeding and then they get a feed that is fortified with calcium.
We recommend eliminating Dried Distilled Grains from the diet of gamebirds. We find it throws off metabolism and they just don’t thrive as well. Remember, they are going to eat less as it gets hotter, and when the temperature starts to drop, their eating habits will change again and they will be eating more. If the temperature stays low for a prolonged period of time, we do supplement the pheasant diet with a little cracked corn. But moderation is the key – the sugar metabolizes quickly and a little is all they need.
For partridges, we have found the best results with 28% protein game bird prestarter from up to age nine weeks and then 24% protein game bird grower.
If you are starting out, we recommend buying large feeders right away. They may cost a bit more, but they will greatly reduce feeding time.
Feeding pheasants is a science. Making sure you are offering your birds the correct protein percentage will help you to raise the highest quality pheasants. Shop around to find feed with the correct protein content and remember an abundant supply of fresh water is an extremely important component of any game bird’s diet. If you would like more information on feed consulting please visit https://www.pheasant.com/consulting/feedconsulting.aspx.