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Spice things up to keep your birds happy at home

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Gamekeepers are all too familiar with the challenges of ‘holding’ poults. Great nutrition and a bit of spice can reduce the risk of both partridges and pheasants straying and can help the birds adapt to their natural environment.

It is about this time of year, when the pheasants are starting to explore their surroundings a bit more, but with just a few weeks to go until the start of the season, that gamekeepers up and down the land begin to fret about their birds thinking that the grass is greener on the neighbouring estate.

Once they’re gone, they’re gone

As any keeper will tell you, once your birds have crossed that boundary, there’s no getting them back, but what’s equally important is making sure they are in the right places for your drives to go well once the season begins. The key is to make sure that they have all they could desire in the places where you want them. There are any number of variables involved in holding game birds in the right places, and only a few are in the gamekeeper’s control: much as we might wish it otherwise, there’s not much any of us can do about the weather, or rogue dog walkers.

Control the controllable

Of course, the role of the gamekeeper is to reduce the variables, or to put it another way, to control those things that can be controlled. Predator control and providing good habitat and cover are two examples, but perhaps the most important is feed. Of course, a nutritious feed blend is key, with the right mix of protein and carbohydrates to give the birds the right stuff to keep them healthy, help them grow big (for the table) and strong (for good flying), but also to give them no reason to go a-wandering. If they can smell the food from a good distance away, and that they like the taste?

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