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Author Topic: Flight Pen for chukars...  (Read 7347 times)
AnnabellaGamebirds
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« on: March 30, 2007, 02:55:45 PM »

Enjoy reading all the posts on this forum. Some really great stuff and some neat people. I have 500 chukar chicks coming in mid-may. Need ideas for building a flight pen in one end of my barn. Started clearing things out the other day. The area is about 28X36 with 10' of height and I am hoping it is big enough. I will be selling the Chukar in the fall to a Pheasant Hunting Farm down the road. Hoping to breed and hatch my own next year. Just wondered about a few things like - are pine shavings ok for the floor? Currently it is a concrete floor. Any pointers would be great as I am starting this project from scratch in my 48x100 foot barn (Used to be a commercial Turkey operation).


This is the North Side and will connect to the two adjoining brooder rooms.


This is the South facing part with the windows for natural light and air.

I'm really interested in the "if I could start over again" type of comments from the experienced breeders.
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jk
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2007, 09:40:03 PM »

That will not be big enough for 500 chukar all at once until the end of fall... that is quite a bit of room, but not near big enough for the number you stated. The math works out to around 2 sq. ft. per bird. I can guarantee if you keep 500 in there until they are nearly full size, then you will have a LOT LOT LOT more problems (cannibalism, pecking to death, etc.) than if you cut that number down to 100 (which is what I would keep in there at adult size if I were raising them for the stated length of time). That would work out to around 10 sq. ft. per bird, which is okay.

Just my opinion on this...
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CharlieHorse
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2007, 12:11:08 AM »

I wouldn't use pine shavings for any stage of their life. As stated on another thread..........the birds will ingest them and they tend to collect to their feet with the manure.   

If that is a concrete floor?, I'm not sure what you would use if anything.....maybe sand? Others with more experience with birds on concrete will hopefully chime in and give you some ideas. Most are raised on wire or bare ground.
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jchiar
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2007, 05:17:49 AM »

use that enclosure as a shelter and add a flight pen made of wire and netting to the barn. To many birds to be on a concrete floor.
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jk
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2007, 11:07:49 AM »

Quote
use that enclosure as a shelter and add a flight pen made of wire and netting to the barn.

That sounds like a good idea...
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AnnabellaGamebirds
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2007, 05:50:55 PM »

What about installing a raised floor? Would that be better than concrete? The thing I like about the concrete is I can just drive the tractor in and scrape out the poop. Installing a raised floor over concrete would make it harder to cleanup, while the birds would definitely stay cleaner.

I thought with blinders on you could crunch the square foot per bird ratio down quite a bit? I was thinking the birds would be in the insulated brooder rooms until they feather out a bit. Then they would go into the new pen for a few months at the most.

I'm hoping to keep a group of them as breeders for next year. It would be tricky to add a flight pen onto the barn but that is a viable option. 10 square feet seems pretty generous for a grow-out pen for chukars.
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Jon Lee - Web Geek
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transzam
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2007, 05:02:27 AM »

As a complete beginner, I would like to hatch coutrnix jumbo brown  quail and then release to a newly made pen.cage etc.
What is the ratio for these brids in an enclosure per sq ft or sq m ?
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gsc
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2007, 02:37:25 PM »

AnnabellaGamebirds-- There is a difference between what you "can" do and what will work best.  You will find references that will give you smaller numbers then what you are being told here.  The information you are being given here is to get healthy, flight conditioned birds to the field.  The less square feet will result in problems, loss of feathers, etc which will not get the best birds out the door.  They will live, but there will be damage.  There is "what will work" and then there is "what works best".

Tanszam-- The jumbo browns are very laid back birds.  I keep 7 (6 hens and 1 cock) in a 2' x 2' roll out pens and have no pecking.  These birds DO NOT FLY if that is what you were wanting.  Just big calm birds that can fly sort of from your hand to the ground.  If they get loose, they will walk back to you!  Just fat, dumb and happy.
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Reeves
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2007, 09:56:42 AM »

Quote
I thought with blinders on you could crunch the square foot per bird ratio down quite a bit?

The blinders will deform their nostrils. In your first post you say that you'll be selling to a Pheasant hunting farm. As others said, you'll have picking problems. The farm will want birds in good shape. If you take any to them that are beat up/deformed, they'll not likely be calling you for more.

An outside run or less birds will be the way to go.
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JohnInDixon
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2007, 10:26:59 AM »

Just fat, dumb and happy.

You forgot food processors!  They turn food into poo

;-)
John
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huntingken111
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2007, 04:41:06 PM »

One thing people are not telling you is that baby chukars love to pile on each other and the bottom ones get smothered.  I found the first two weeks of their lives is the most difficult.  I thought that 6 square feet per adult chukars would be fine but they would pick at each others tails and create a bloody mess if not missing feathers.  I gave them 12 square feet and they did alot better.  Game bird farms look for the best of the best and will not come back if they are given an imperfect bird.  Some of their clients like to get these birds stuffed so they need good looking birds.  One of my sources for eggs raises his birds on cement floors but puts sand down and scrapes it off twice a year.  Hopes this helps.  I put my chukars on wire because they are so quick to get worms.  I have not had worms in my birds so far (nothing like knocking on wood).  Good luck and hope this helps.  One other thing I learned the hard way is always have food available to them because them without food even for one hour will make them attack each other.
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Bird Brained
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2007, 09:26:18 PM »

Please send a money order in the amount of $500 for this initial consultation session.... :laugh:

Here are just a few of my personal experiences with raising Chukar commercially in the areas being discussed...

An electric debeaker (used properly) will definitely solve the picking problem and by the time you sell the birds, the beak will be rounded back off from them picking around and no one will know you ever did it.

This will allow you to commercially grow the birds in less than desired square footage and keep them feathered nice (that's not all to nice feathering).

I'm not a fan of keeping them completely under roof as your barn appears in the pics will be doing.  They need rained on, or rain simulated for them so they will oil their feathers and fly for the preserve when it's wet (dew, misting, raining, snowing) out.  It's not always sunny and dry when people hunt and if the bird gets wet, it still needs to perform the way the preserve owner and hunter expects it to.

The last thing someone wants is their dog catching the bird and not getting a shot off because the bird didn't fly but 2 feet of the ground or only flew 20 feet just over the dogs head and the hunter couldn't get a shot off for fear of shooting the dog(s).

If you did everything right, those chukar should be as skiddish of people, dogs, etc.  You'll know this when you try to approach the pen to feed, water or check on them and they exploded into flight versus stand their and eat from your hand.

I don't know if you've every hunted birds, but if you have, you should know what is expected from the birds (atheletes actually) you are going to be raising....Dog goes on point, hunter approaches, hunter flushes bird, bird shoots out of cover strong, fast and flying high, hunter hopefully hits (makes me more proud to hear they miss because my bird out-flew the gun and I know I raised as wild acting a bird as I could that performed top-notch in the setting it was intended for.

If you don't use blinders, rings, or debeak, you will most definitely be needing a much bigger pen for the number of birds you are talking.

Many hiding places need to be provided to allow those that are being picked on to get away from the others.  A huge open room will not provide a good outcome, unless you're setup is a "dark room" environment....That's a whole other thread.

Obviously, this thread is only scratching the surface of what you need to know, but ultimately, experience, experience, experience....luck and trial & error are going to be your best lessons.   No two farm setups are identically the same.  Each one is what each farm found to be the best that works for them.

I can arrange a one-on-one personal consulatation session with you via phone for another $500 fee... :laugh:

I highly recommend that if you're getting into a commercial level setup, you join NAGA (North American Gamebird Association).
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AnnabellaGamebirds
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2007, 11:31:32 PM »

Thank you for all the good input. I can see that I will need to do something different to have a successful first run. I understand that nothing can teach me more than real-life experience raising some birds. I am just hoping to avoid repeating any mistakes that others have made.

I especially appreciate those with commercial experience raising gamebirds, specifically chukars. The game farm I will be selling to raises around 5,000 pheasant each year and just wants a few chukars for some variety. They understand that I am a rookie and are willing to work with me and even help me (ordering feed together will save some $$$).

A few more questions: Would an L shaped pen work okay? With the small part being inside the barn then running a longer outdoor flight pen down the side? How big of opening do they need to access the outdoors? Can they go through a window/opening or does it have to be at ground level?
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Jon Lee - Web Geek
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jchiar
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2007, 04:52:06 AM »

L shape run will work make opening at ground level as big as you can 4'x4' or bigger
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AnnabellaGamebirds
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2007, 11:48:06 PM »

Update...

500 Chukar chicks arrived two weeks ago and so far I have only lost eight of them (Knock on wood). I have decided to only keep 100 in my barn and move the other 400 to my neighbors large flight pens when they turn 6 weeks old. He will keep them with his 2000 pheasants and use/condition them for use on his game bird farm. I struggled to keep the temps up the first few nights with just the 250 watt bulbs in the brooders, had to supplement with a propane heater. I divided the group in half and made two 10 foot circles to help avoid piling. I chose to use the nipple waterers from Natures Way to avoid any drowning incidents and am extremely pleased with their product. Today I eliminated one of the circles as they were starting to jump/fly over the fence. I can't believe how much they eat!? They consume a 5 gallon bucket of feed each day. So far so good...

« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 11:52:29 PM by AnnabellaGamebirds » Logged

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