Gamebirds are started in buildings. We use propane heaters to brood the birds until they are big enough to sustain their own body temperature.
We utilize both small & large scale brooding methods to start chicks.
Pheasants are very cannibalistic. Therefore, at approximately 5 weeks, we put specs on their beaks, instead of beak trimming, to minimize feather picking.
It is a lot faster to catch the birds while they are in buildings to apply the specs, compared to catching them in outdoor pens to beak trim. Even when considering the time it takes to remove the specs, it is still more cost effective for us to apply the specs.
After the specs are applied, we add extra feed and water in pans, until they get used to eating with the specs.
We move gamebirds outside at an average age of 6 weeks. At that point, they are typically large enough to maintain their own body temperature in adverse weather conditions.
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Weather Conditioned Birds
Although we occasionally sell some started pheasants straight out of our buildings, the majority of our started birds are purchased at 8-10 weeks old. It is a lot less risky to purchase a gamebird that has been acclimated to outside weather conditions for 2-4 weeks.