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Keeping stress levels low and having the right nutrition at release time can show huge benefits by the time the season comes around.

Afbeelding: images-b35daimkrSYXbAxDR-Pheasant-poult

It is getting to the time of year when pheasant poults will be ready to graduate from the rearing fields to the wood. Just like when a child moves from nursery to primary school, this change is a stressful time for your birds: taken from the protective cocoon of the nursery, suddenly everything is different, from the environment to the food, to the threat of predation.

In order to get the most from our birds, we need to keep these stress levels as low as possible. Stress can lead to poor feed conversion rates and reduced growth, and even open the door to diseases taking hold. So what can be done in order to make this important transition as smooth as possible for your birds? When it comes to the change of environment or the threat of predators, there is only so much that a keeper can do about those. However, we can have an influence on other aspects. One element that is within our control as gamekeepers is the feeding regime. 

Jamie Horner, game feed specialist at Marsdens, recommends a two-stage feeding programme. Upon moving your birds into release pens, Jamie suggests that you feed the Marsdens Grower, saying: “They are the ideal pellets to have waiting in the feeders for your birds. The 20% protein and fishmeal content helps to keep growth rates strong, while the high energy content helps to keep birds on their toes to avoid predation. Keeping birds on a higher protein feed for a week or two longer helps to reduce stress and the risk of disease.” 

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