How do I hold my gamebirds?
PUBLISHED: 17:36 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:36 13 September 2017
How can I stop my gamebirds wandering too far from the release pen? Graham Cocker replies...
Q: How do I stop my birds wandering too far?
GRAHAM CROCKER replies: Pheasants will naturally try to move out of the release pens at this time of year because of peer pressure and the temptation of the natural food source of insects outside the pen.
From a disease and general environmental point of view, gradual migration away from the pen can be a good thing, but the trick is to contain the birds so they don’t roam so far that they get lost and forget where home is!
I always treat the release pens as the pheasants’ hotel. They should have plenty of nice food and clean water with good cover and access. Once this habitat is right then half the wandering battle is won. Decide which direction you want to encourage the birds out of the pen and start to feed just outside the wire with either a line of hoppers or by trailing feed on the ground on a regular basis. Don’t forget to have plenty of fresh water near the hoppers. I prefer to use nipple drinkers as this not only entertains the birds and stops them from moving away too fast, but the tapping noise also encourages other birds, which is particularly useful at night when the young birds are finding their way home.
We sell a lot of Quill aniseed oil all over the country at this time of the year which keepers use to mix with the corn to help hold their birds on the feeders. You simply mix with the corn as you fill the hoppers and the birds go mad for it!
For areas around the pen where you don’t want the birds, either erect a buffer fence a short distance from the release pen or dog the birds back in early in the morning.