Partridge Farming For Beginners
Starting on partridge farming can be tricky as they are wild birds and capturing them would be done in a technical way. So when partridges move in coveys of twenty or above, an average of five parent–reared pouts must be held back as breeding stock for the following year.
Research was conducted to monitor their breeding process in early spring of the following year; and it was discovered that the birds held back are better off when paired with single males or females trapped from the wild. The techniques used were traditional and labor intensive but highly effective.
When planning to raise partridges, rather give yourself some time to carefully know when to capture them and if possible, capture birds from different places so that when pairing them it is easy to monitor their breeding process. Though for a beginner, it may be prove futile to manage the techniques as a lot of patience is required.
Partridge Habitat Degradation And Destruction
- Captive breeding for partridges in general, may not always yield guaranteed success especially from using birds from the wild population.
- The captive bred reared partridges tend to have a high mortality rate making it ineffectual to raise them in places where the bird species is extinct.
- The grey partridges have been becoming sparsely distributed due to loss of seed source for food, loss of nesting habitat, and predation. The habitat of partridges is also threatened in deforestation as well as overgrazing by livestock.
- Though not much effect on partridges has been detected in regards to the agricultural effects but the chemicals herbicides contribute to the decline of some species.
Species And Conservation
These terrestrial birds have about 35 species as they are named after their habitation. Some of the species are endangered, vulnerable and low risk in their conservation status; hence there should be action plans taken to preserve the species. Let us look at some of the species;
- Sichuan hill-partridge / Orange-necked hill-partridge / Chestnut-headed hill-partridge are part of the endangered species because their population is very small, and severely fragmented, and it is continuing to decline because of ongoing habitat loss.
- Black wood-partridge / Udzungwa forest-partridge / Chestnut-breasted hill-partridge / Hainan hill-partridge these species are vulnerable because continuing rapid reduction in extent and quality of habitat across much of this partridge’s range implies that its population is undergoing a rapid decline.
In order to conserve the species according to their habitation, project action plan should be undertaken and the beginner farmer is advised to engage other game bird farmers in preserving the habitation loss and halting the use of chemicals used on the habitat of the birds. Also, deforestation should be practised as well especially where the birds are mostly located.
Partridges like most birds have a way of storing their food per season and they feed on caterpillars, beetles, bugs, ants and aphids (especially the partridge chicks in summer); the adult grey partridges feed mainly on seeds and shoots throughout the year in winter season. Partridge chicks should feed on high protein food which will boost their immune system and lessen the morality rate.
Nesting Sites And Hunting
Grey partridges nest on the ground in hedge bottoms, grass margins, beetle banks, cereals, game cover and nettle beds. Dead tussock grass left over from the previous year is particularly attractive as nesting cover.
The pair and their chicks were checked regularly for short periods of time throughout each day of their confinement. Contact with chicks was kept to an absolute minimum to prevent habituation.
These terrestrial birds are hunted for sport which has made them to be extinct in some areas; with some species have a small fragmented population.
How to raise partridges. The effects of hunting are indeed hard to quantify, but there are several species for which direct over-exploitation is considered to be having significant negative impacts. Humans have always had a close relationship with partridges and most species are regularly hunted for economic gain, sustenance, and other purposes.
Rearing And Managing Captive Birds
The birds are trapped directly from the wild and then paired or in open areas in a homestead whereby a trap box is used. However, the chick survival rate of the wild birds is very low because of their new habitation.
When the partridges are trapped, their sex should be determined so as not capture more male than females. Breeding of the birds is done in pairs; record keeping is recommended to monitor the process and see if the captured species is doing well in pens.
In the event of extinction of wild population or some species, the captive birds can be re-introduced into the species native range; so the captive population is highly considered as a safety net.
Re-introducing the species has a number of concerns regarding the potential success of captive breeding projects such as the reduced ability of individuals to survive in the wild; with the critical issue being the maintenance of birds that resemble wild birds as much as possible genetically, morphologically, and behaviour ally.
The endangered partridge species are disturbed from their favoured habitat especially during their breeding season because they favour habiting in bamboo area places; then they are disturbed when the bamboo shoots are collected in spring and autumn season.
Some partridges are negatively affected by the disturbance by humans yet there are those species that can tolerate human disturbances.
The bird growers are advised to have housing (pens) that are about 2.5 m (8.2 feet) long by 1.2 m (3.9 feet) high and at least the pen should be pentagon shaped. There should be boxes readily constructed for nesting, egg-laying and incubation.
In case the birds have chicks, the family unit is then placed in a brood–rearing box measuring 1.5 m (4.9 feet) long by 0.6 m (1.97 feet) high by 0.6 m (1.97 feet) wide.
The box should be covered with a dust proof green mesh to prevent injury; a clear sheet of acrylic glass can be placed at one end of the box over the top one–third of the unit so it will be easier to monitor the birds.