At MacFarlane Pheasants, we don’t raise the same old pheasants as other farms, and we don’t build all our outdoor pens the same. Our Hungarian partridges have different requirements than our ringneck and Manchurian Cross pheasants, so we cater to them just like we cater to our customers.
Your average Hungarian partridge weighs about a pound. When compared to our average Manchurian Cross pheasant, which tips the scale around 2.8 pounds, it’s about a third of the size. Naturally, we scale the pens down to suit. Our partridge pens are 9,000 square feet (about half of a pheasant pen), and this is in part because it makes it easier to get the birds out of the pen when it’s time to ship them to you. We scale the bird density to their size, and in an average pen we’ll have around 900 partridges, or one for every 10 square feet.
We switch our netting mesh size to a 1.5-inch for Hungarian partridges versus our standard two-inch netting for pheasants. The reason is simple: if we used the bigger netting, there’s the potential for the partridges to pop right through if they flush, and we can’t have escaped partridges flapping all around the farm.
Another difference in the pens is the type of cover we grow. At MacFarlane Pheasants, we’re a huge proponent of growing live, natural plants in the pens to shelter our birds. For partridges, our favorite is milo, also called sorghum. It’s a great low cover for the birds at beak-height, but it takes a higher soil temperature to germinate, so sow it well after the spring thaw for your summer birds.
One last piece of advice: When the daylight hours get longer in the late winter and early spring, the birds get restless, and the females can be particularly aggressive, going after the males and picking at them. To prevent mortality, we segregate them by sex as the snow melts to avoid these issues.
Every year MacFarlane Pheasants sells 40,000 mature Hungarian partridges to our diverse customer base across the country. Just like each of our customers is different, we treat every bird species we raise on the farm as unique, with different requirements to make it to your doorstep healthy and vigorous for the fall hunting season. Our first partridges hatch on April 1, so get your orders in now.