Healthy Game Birds Require High Quality Feed

Published On: July 28, 2020Categories: Farm Management, Feed

You can depend on MacFarlane Pheasants to feed the pheasants and other wild birds they raise, the highest quality feed available on the market. MacFarlane Pheasants is a family owned pheasant business. It was started 91 years ago by Ken MacFarlane, Bill MacFarlane’s uncle. After his passing, Don MacFarlane, Bill’s dad, who was operating a pheasant business next to his brother, took over both farms. In 1985, Bill MacFarlane, the current owner, began running the business after his father passed away. The brothers had degrees in Agricultural Science, Gamekeeping and Chemical Engineering. Bill has a degree in Economics. The 91 years of experience and continuing education at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. have led us to understand the optimum diet for raising healthy game birds on our farm.

To provide the optimum diet, you need to start with the highest quality feed that is available. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for.  We buy our feed from Kent Nutrition, in bulk, and have the feed mixed to contain the correct protein content. We use pre-starter feed with 28% protein, up to three weeks of age, from three to seven weeks we use starter feed with 26% protein, from seven to 24 weeks we use grower feed with 20% protein content. We fortify with calcium, if hens are breeding. Partridges stay healthy with 28% protein game bird restarter until nine weeks and then, 24% protein game bird grower.

MacFarlane Pheasants recommends eliminating dried distilled grains from the game bird diets. It throws off their metabolism, and they do not thrive well. Also, in hot weather and when the temperature starts to drop, eating habits change, and the birds begin to eat more.  If the temperature stays low for a prolonged period, we supplement the pheasant diet with a little cracked corn. Moderation is important. The sugar metabolizes quickly, so a little is all they will need.

It’s essential to stick with a fixed formula. Avoid by-products such as distiller grains, grain by-products, or cheap filler ingredients if you want your birds to perform well. We recommend working with a nutritionist to develop the specifications for a balanced diet for your birds.  When you use a fixed formula, the nutrition level will stay the same, but not the prices. For example, currently, the China Trade War has lowered the commodity prices for corn and soybeans. The lower commodities prices dropped the price we are now paying per ton of feed. We can also keep costs lower by using our semi-trailer to haul feed to our farm locations. It’s hard to say if the pandemic has affected feed and prices. There have been disruptions to supply chains as the need was lower across the country.

On the other hand, prices were at low levels in March, so this has not significantly affected our prices.  There was an oversupply before the pandemic. Fewer gasoline purchases also affect the corn market since the ethanol supply is growing. Circumstances in the market are always changing, but to raise the healthiest game birds, you can’t let these prices affect the quality of feed you provide. A balanced and well-planned diet plays a tremendous role in bird health and performance. MacFarlane Pheasants would be happy to help if you have questions about our feeding program.

Photo of Hungarian PartridgeHardy Hungarian Partridges Are Available At MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.
Flight PenFixing Feeder Issues in The Outside Pens

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