Feeding Your Gamebirds

Feeding

  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.