Raising Gamebirds > Build It Yourself

Flight Pen for chukars...

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huntingken111:
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.

Bird Brained:
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).

AnnabellaGamebirds:
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?

jchiar:
L shape run will work make opening at ground level as big as you can 4'x4' or bigger

AnnabellaGamebirds:
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...

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