Newbie deciding between chukars and ringneck pheasants

Discussion in 'Pheasants and Partridge (Chukar)' started by aznature, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. aznature

    aznature Hatching

    Oct 5, 2011
    I want to raise gamebirds from eggs in groups of about 100. I tried quail last year and ran into too many problems. I want to try something hardier and am now trying to decide between chukar partridges and ringneck pheasants. Which is the hardiest and easiest to raise, especially in the first 5 weeks? Which has the fewest disease problems? Thanks!
  2. MVchickens

    MVchickens Chirping

    Dec 8, 2010
    Martha's Vineyard MA
    None of the two mentioned are easy to raise, quail should be the easiest of all.
  3. Tony K T

    Tony K T Crowing

    Jul 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    There is nothing easy about either of these 2 species.They both like to kill their pen mates.Quail would be much easier,but you have to medicate them for the first month or so.Vitamins and electrolytes have to be given once a week.I had to give mine sulmet.I was losing 4-5 a day and asked the guy I bought the eggs from if he had any problems,and he told me to give them sulmet.Well it stopped them from dying,but I don't remember the reason he told me to give it.
    In N.H.,Tony.
  4. ranit

    ranit Songster

    Apr 14, 2010
    If you're just raising to butcher, coturnix quail are by far the easiest to raise - 6-8 weeks and they are ready.

    I have raised bobwhites, ringneck and chukars (no chukars the last few years though) and find they all have their ups and downs. I think the ringnecks and chukars are hardier the first couple of weeks but do require more space later to avoid fighting. With any of them be sure and feed a quality gamebird starter that is 28-30% protein. What I use is also medicated with BMD which helps prevent enteritis (also known as quail disease). I feed this until they are about 5-6 weeks old and then switch them over to a maintenance gamebird feed. Also make sure there are no drafts around the brooder.

    Best not to mix different age groups with any of them as they will pick on the younger ones. The more space you can give them the less they will fight. In my wet spring climate the bobwhites and chukars tend to be harder to raise on the ground. Pens that drain well are a must and if you have cover in the pen that helps with all of them.

    Hope this helps some.
  5. Woofless

    Woofless Chirping

    Apr 7, 2010
    I raised 500 quail and 100 chukars this year from day-old chicks. Was my first time for baby chukars, have raised older chukars and quail chicks before- and I didn't find the chukars to be much more difficult than the quail. If anything, mature chukars seem to be hardier than mature quail, we keep chukars for dog training in the winter as they seem to handle the bitter SD winters and the wet springs better than quail. But as chicks they seemed to be about the same as quail. Lost about 4 out of 100 in the brooder during the first 2 weeks, lost a couple more as they started to feather out but haven't lost any since (they are 14 weeks old now). This was about the same death percentage I had with the quail (kept 100-150 quail per brooding ring same as I did with the chukars).

    If the older birds have enough space and you don't go mixing age groups, you may not have any issues with aggression either. If you keep the birds that originally hatched together in the same pen you may not see any aggression at all- mine are fully mature and I still have about 60 in the same pen with each other (we used some for dog training this year). No issues. We did try putting 5 fully-feathered 18 week old chukar in another pen with about 10 one-year-old birds and we *did* see aggression- the older birds ended up killing 4 out of the 5 we added. So definitely mixing different groups of chukar is not a good idea. We keep the older birds in a wood-floored coop with a raised wire-floored outdoor pen. We keep plenty of fresh alfalfa (from a bale) on the ground for them to peck at, seems to help keep things plenty works in our climate anyhow.

    Now I have never raised pheasants but I work for a hunting preserve and the landowners used to have a pheasant farm here.....from what I have been told, pheasants seem more difficult to raise; I would personally not be real interested in raising more than a handful if I had the chance. My other boss (not the preserve owner, I also work for a dog trainer) had 5 pheasants at one point and he had to keep the roosters in seperate pens with a couple of hens each. They need more space per bird, roosters *will* be aggressive (the pen raised roosters we buy to release for hunting all have enlarged nostrils from the blinders they have to wear while being raised, to keep them from pecking each other, and they are even kept in huge flight pens with a lot of cover to hide). And at least where I am, predators- mink- always seemed to be a problem despite them having a 3 acre pen resembling Fort Knox to keep the birds in (12 foot high walls with sunken concrete base and a flight netting cover, concrete and metal growout pens, etc). Now if you are just raising a handful of pheasants for fun, it might not be that big of a deal, but if you are looking to raise them in any kind of quantity you may find yourself needing a more elaborate facility than you would for the same number of quail or chukar.

    As far as disease, I *swear* by a medication called LS-50. You can buy it online or if you have any livestock-type vet supply places near you they should sell it. It's labeled for chickens but it has proven to be a lifesaver for quail and chukar. One of the breeders I got the quail chicks from reccomended it, and my death rate in the first 4-5 weeks was cut to almost nothing. A quarter teaspoon of powder per gallon of water until they are feathered out (use a half teaspoon if you notice any sick looking birds).....and the only chicks that died were the ones that were stunted or seemed to have some other kind of deformity (funky legs, etc). The first couple of times I raised quail chicks I lost 3-4 per day for the first 4 weeks, ended up losing over 30-40 out of every 100. After we started using LS-50, the death rate was cut to 3 or 4 out of fact I still have my last 99 quail in a pen, they are now 14 weeks old and I have only lost a total of 5 (the breeder always gave an extra chick with every 25, so when we bought 100 we got 104). Same with the 100 chukar we started with, used LS-50 and only had a few chicks die at the beginning. I have put it in the water for older birds too if I notice any looking droopy or thin and it almost always seems to perk them back up. It is a really good medication IMO.

    Feeding, I start quail & chukar chicks on a 28% protein feed for 4 weeks, then cut to a 24% for the next 4 weeks, then down to a 20-22% for the next 4 to 8 then a 16-18% maintenance feed seems to work just fine from about 16 weeks on (we have had some chukar live for 7 or 8 years eating a gamebird maintenance feed with 16%).

    Hope this helps, good luck [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011

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