The Big Cost of Small Birds: Chukars and Partridges Versus Pheasants

Published On: April 7, 2014Categories: Brooders, Chukar Partridge, French Red-Legged Partridge

There’s a lot to that old saying “Bigger isn’t always better,” and at MacFarlane Pheasants, we know that good things come in small packages. Besides pheasants, we also raise smaller birds for the hunting season, including French Redleg, Hungarian, Chukar, and Chukar/Redleg Cross partridges. These birds are often a third of the size of a pheasant, so wouldn’t it make sense that they’d be a third of the cost? It’s a common misconception that smaller birds are cheaper. They’re often more costly to raise for a bunch of reasons.

True, smaller birds do have some inherent advantages. A smaller bird requires a smaller space, and therefore, more can fit comfortably and luxuriously in MacFarlane’s series of outdoor pens. But that’s about where the advantages end.

Chukar/Redleg

The smaller the bird, the more delicate their constitution, making the mortality for the partridge family higher than the hardier pheasants we raise. The partridge family is more susceptible to worms, for instance, and for that reason we house the Chukar/Redlegs on wire instead of hay as we do for the pheasants, getting them off the ground. It’s more expensive, naturally, but with smaller birds, it’s even more important that our care begins with disease prevention rather than treatment.

Partridges are also more labor-intensive, meaning that these smaller birds, when it comes to man hours, can actually be more expensive than the pheasants. We estimate that these birds, despite their size, can actually demand about 25% more time than our pheasants. Much of this is in the brooder, where Hungarian partridge chicks pose unique challenges, one of which being the feed. It must be pulverized into a flour-like consistency for the birds to bite. The chicks are even hand-watered!

They further demand more time by requiring a preliminary step before the A and B brooder rooms. We call that first area the table room, which is just that: tables, off the ground, where the birds live for the first week so we have immediate and easy access, providing clean bedding and water at all times. A smaller environment is easier to prevent catastrophe and make immediate changes, and it’s essential to raising these birds.

But the reason we breed French Redleg, Hungarian, Chukar, and Chukar/Redleg Cross partridges is the same reason our customers keep ordering them year after year: they’re a thrilling hunt. They’re a lot quicker in the air and harder to hit because they present a smaller target. And it’s because our customers crave variety year after year that these birds continue to be favorites. So try them out this season, and order your partridge chicks today (http://chicksquote.pheasant.com/Scripts/prodList.asp).

Photo of French PartridgesBirds On Top of Birds: Preventing Piling with Partridge Chicks
Does Actor and Outdoorsman Michael Keaton Hunt MacFarlane Pheasants?

Related Posts

  • Flight Pen

    Preparing Our Barns & Pens Each Spring

    Read Post

  • Brooder Room

    How We Prepare For Brooding Our Chicks

    Read Post

  • Photo of Ringneck

    Our Milton Farm in 2024!

    Read Post

  • Photo of Brooder Barn

    10 Ways To Get the Most Out Of Brooder Barns

    Read Post

  • Photo of the Production Palace

    Air Flow in Barns

    Read Post

  • Photo of Milton Barn

    Barn Maintenance at MacFarlane Pheasants’ Milton Farm

    Read Post

  • Photo of Milton Barn

    Best Bedding for Pheasants

    Read Post

  • Photo of French Partridges

    Birds On Top of Birds: Preventing Piling with Partridge Chicks

    Read Post

Subscribe to the newsletter

Take Advantage of These Free Resources

As the biggest game bird farm in the United States, we want to share our experience with you. Download our free resources below and get started.

Pheasant Design

Setup & Care for A Delivery of Adult Birds Manual

Get free tips about holding facility setup and daily care instructions.

Pheasant Chicks

The Insiders Guide to Pheasant Rearing

Get our insight as to what it takes to successfully run and manage a gamebird farm in this free guide.

The Complete Flight Pen Construction Manual

Flight Pen Construction Manual

Receive expert tips to help you design & build flight pens for your game bird farm.