French Partridge Chicks
Full Grown French Partridge
French Partridges are a little smaller than a pigeon, fast and exciting to hunt, and delicious to eat. They can also be finicky to raise. MacFarlane Pheasants brings in French Partridge eggs from France and hatches them in our hatchery. This past year alone we had three hatches with 12,000 chicks in each hatch.
Once these tiny chicks leave the hatchery they’re very vulnerable and require special care. But Brian Klein, Production Manager for the chicks at MacFarlane Pheasants, has developed a system for raising the French Partridge that is beyond compare. These are the secrets to his success:
Pay Attention to Lighting
- Chicks tend to bunch in the corners of the brooder house and smother each other. To avoid this, we remove the lights bulbs in the corners. Their fear of the dark protects them!
- We lower the ceiling lights after about a week and keep bright hanging lights about 30 inches above them to draw the chicks to the safest area. The lights hang next to the brooders, a propane heat source.
Take Precautions with Feeding
- Food and water are kept close to chicks, but precautions are important. We use a nipple line for the first 25 days, not a bell waterer, because chicks can drown in a bell waterer.
- A flat tray, similar to a McDonalds’s tray, is used for the feed for a similar reason; the chicks can fall into a deeper pan and smother.
- At 25 days, bell waterers are added and left in place for 3 days. Then it is time to move the chicks to the next room, which is double the size.
- Now the fragile chicks are ready for the bell waterer and automatic feed till they are 8 weeks old. After that they are moved to the outside pens until ready for shipment.
After Brian’s team works their magic raising them, MacFarlane French Partridges are shipped to both hunt clubs and ranches and eventually make their way to someone’s dinner table.
To get an inside look at how these and other birds are raised here at MacFarlane Pheasant Farm, schedule a tour of our facilities—we’d love to show you around!