FEEDING GAME BIRDS


All gamebird and poultry feeds are referred to as "complete" feeds.  They are designed to contain all the protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary for proper growth, egg production and health of the birds.  Feeding any other ingredients, either mixed with the feed or fed separately, will upset the balance of nutrients in the complete feed.  Feeding additional grain or supplement with the complete feed is not recommended.


Young game birds kept for meat production are fed differently than birds saved for egg production or reeing.  In addition, meat-type Bobwhite quail have larger bodies and are expected to gain weight more rapidly than birds grown for "flight" purposes.  Therefore, birds are fed diets that contain nutrient levels that reflect the dietary needs of the specific type of birds being produced.  Meat-type birds are grownb as flight birds will be more expensive to produce since they will consume more feed, be larger than necessary and are not considered as good fliers.  In contrast, smaller strains of Bobwhite quail that are usually considered as good flight birds are not recommended as good meat producers.  They are not efficient converters of feed to meat and produce less desirable carcasses when slaughtered.



FEEDING PROGRAMS


Feed game bird chicks a "starter" diet soon after hatching.  Continue feeding the starter until they reach six or eight weeks of age.  The starter diet has the highest level of protein that a bird receives during it's liftime  As the chicks age they require lower levels of most nutrients including dietary protein but need a higher level of energy.


After the chicks reach six or eight weeks of age, feed them either a "finisher" diet (meat-type birds) or a "developer" diet (flight birds or those saved for egg production). Feed meat birds a finisher diet until they reach slaughter size. Feed the flight birds and immature breeders the developer diet until they are sold or about twenty weeks of age. A few weeks prior to expected egg production, the breeders are fed a "layer" diet until they complete their egg production period.
The  species of gamebirds often produced are the Coturnix or Pharaoh quail. They are grown for both meat and egg production and are fast becoming used  for flight or hunting. They mature at an earlier age than Bobwhite quail and may begin laying eggs as young as six to eight weeks of age. As with Bobwhite quail, Coturnix grown for meat are provided starter and finisher diets, whereas laying/breeder birds are fed starter and breeder diets.
It is important to provide the correct diet to the birds if desired result are to be attained. Remember, breeders saved for egg production are fed developer diets, not finisher diets. Laying/breeder birds are fed only laying diets. Otherwise, you will observe reduced egg production and increased numbers of thin-shelled eggs.

NOTE: We recommend a starter feed of at least 28% protein and grower or layer feed to be 17-18% protein. After the chicks reach six or eight weeks of age, feed them either a "finisher" diet (meat-type birds) or a "developer" diet (flight birds or those saved for egg production). Feed meat birds a finisher diet until they reach slaughter size. Feed the flight birds and immature breeders the developer diet until they are sold or about twenty weeks of age. A few weeks prior to expected egg production, the breeders are fed a "layer" diet until they complete their egg production period.


NOTE: We recommend a starter feed of at least 28% protein and grower or layer feed to be 17-18% protein.









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