Important! Gamebird farm layout questions
Im trying to start up a gamebird breeding program on a 4000 square foot converted rectangular chicken layer shed. The shed is cleaned, disinfected and being reviewed for further repairs and I pretty much now have a blank canvas to start from. My previous experience is of raising day old layer chickens and then running the chicken laying cycle including molting. As I am starting from scratch with game birds I’m in desperate need of advice on all aspects. Please see my plans below and advise accordingly, I will mention pertinent particulars as I go along.
1. Proposed Shed layout
In terms of shed layout I was thinking of dividing the place into three sections with various design of laying cages for the different species (pheasant, partridge and quail) at one end of the shed, egg storage, incubation and 1st week brooding room in the middle, and grow out pens on the rest of the shed. Windows from the grow out area will lead to outdoor flight pens.
I do not know which breeds will be successful so I would like a layout which is adaptable. In this regard I had specific questions?
- Is the way to go large cages with nest boxes for pheasant and battery layers for chukar and quail?
- Do the battery layer cages need to be different for chukar and quail?
I am in the subcontinent where the summer temperature reaches 40-45 degrees centigrade! So, extreme desert conditions in the summer, a monsoon period in june, july and august followed mild winters in dec, jan and feb. Typical species here are black francolin, grey francolin courtinix quail migrations, sandgrouse and so on. So conditions are similar to East Africa.
There is a huge hunting market and the stress on our local indigenous game birds is intense, creating an urgent need for breeding programs of introduced game birds which can relieve shooting pressure on wild stocks while at the same time not causing the danger of intermingling with local species.
Thus the pheasant, chukar (resident but in higher elevations not in my area), bobwhite and gambels quail are the species I am looking to start with.
What issues can I expect with the weather conditions I face? Especially for pheasant?
4. Egg production and incubation planning
Since stock of pheasant, quail and partridge is very limited and very expensive, I am restricted to acquiring about 25-30 pheasant (1 male to 2 female ration so far till I can breed more layers!), and 30 gambels and bobwhite quail each for now (two to three females to a male). Any chukar I get my hands on is a bonus.
I plan to use a lighting regime to induce as many hatches as I can so I can achieve a larger flock size and get more breeders. Genetic stock here seems to be of the larger type of pheasant and inbreeding is apparent so some husbandry and selection of good hunting bird charecteristics will be important over the next few years. At this stage most hunting will be released and soon after walked up shooting. However there will eventually be driven shoots with release pens and earlier pheasant releases for acclimatization.
I was interested in a importing eggs from a strain of pheasant which is resistant to hot weather. Perhaps the texas blueback or one of the smaller, faster flying species.
These are the details I have worked out for now, however I am a chicken farmer and certainly would have made fundamental mistakes above.
Could experienced breeders point out how I could go about this the best way given my conditions as there is a fairly hefty investment to be made to create the layout and I have to get it right.