Says Susan Evans, "This is my favorite time of year as spring breeding season will be here soon and it's time to get ready! Our whole family is involved in raising our game birds. It's such a wonderful activity for the kids especially. We love the Gazette and look forward to the new issue.
We've been very happy with everyone we've bought birds and eggs from and have made some great friends through the Gazette. We like how most advertisers in the magazine include their phone numbers and addresses in their ads which is really helpful."
In the Game Bird Gazette appeared a terrific article and pictures by John Kerr of Duck Haven Farm telling all about how they keep, breed, and market gamebirds and ducks. The picture (upper right) shows us newly hatched ringneck pheasant chicks. Ringneck pheasants are incredibly popular among breeders, hobbyists and hunters.
Says Jim Matheson, "The demand for eggs and meat for the gourmet food market is increasing at an amazing rate. Hunting clubs are buying lots of bobwhite quail, chukars and ringneck pheasants. Hobby breeders also buy thousands of eggs and chicks each year. Many of the different quail breeds are especially in demand and some are produced all year long. We expect 2014 to be our most successful and profitable year to date. We credit the Game Bird Gazette and the great articles, people, and contacts we've made through the magazine for our success."
Coturnix & Bobwhite Quail
Dr. Tom Baldwin says: I'm sometimes asked by those just getting into raising quail whether coturnix or bobwhite quail would be best for a business startup geared to producing quail eggs and meat for the restaurant and gourmet food market.
Coturnix quail are most often used for this purpose. Coturnix quail are generally more resistant to disease, mature and can thus be sold more quickly, and they do better in closer confinement and mass production. Coturnix quail are selected and bred for a variety of purposes and many breeds are hugely popular among hobby breeders (see article upcoming Game Bird Gazette).
Bobwhites are also flavorful and used to some extent for meat and eggs, but the main demand for them comes from shooting preserves, breeding farms, wild release projects, hobby breeders, etc. There are some nice breeds of bobwhite quail that have also been selected for size, meat, egg production, markings, etc. It takes about 10 to 16 weeks for bobwhites to reach market weight, while coturnix reach market weight at only about 6 to 8 weeks of age.
If you are going to keep both types of quail, remember not to keep your grown bobwhites and coturnix together in the same pen because the bobwhites will behave aggressively and may harm the coturnix.
Says Susan Cole: "The articles and pictures in the Gazette are amazing and the eggs & chicks I've bought out of the classified ads have turned out great. The article on raising quail by Nancy Egerer showed me a great way to provide water for newly hatched chicks!. The care and feeding tips for game birds in the Gazette are very helpful.
Shelly Johnson said, "I've found the advertisers in the magazine to be reliable and helpful. After reading the articles on button quail and coturnix quail in the last Game Bird Gazette, we bought some out of the classifieds and they're doing great. We've got the button quail in the house and they're doing fine.
We're also now building a small pond in our backyard and will begin breeding wood ducks and Mandarin next spring. We're using the info in the Gazette on keeping ducks in a backyard setting and modeling our pond after theirs -- this info in the magazine was really helpful to us!"
We receive many inquiries about diets for game birds and waterfowl. There is a lot of information on feeding game birds in each issue of the Gazette.
Mazuri Game Bird, Ratite, & Waterfowl Diets
The most popular feed among exotic game bird, ratite, and waterfowl breeders is Mazuri. This company has put decades of research into the nutritional requirements of exotic animals and its feeds have been developed to maximize health, longevity and breeding results. Purina Mills also has a high quality feed for commercially raised game birds like ringnecks and chukars (look for their ad in the Gazette). The Mazuri and Purina diets are often mentioned as the feeds of choice by many successful game bird breeders and zoo curators writing about their breeding experiences in the Gazette. This feed is of the highest quality and formulated especially for specific types of birds. To locate a Mazuri dealer nearest to you visit the Mazuri website.
Educational Aspects Of Game Birds &
Hatching Eggs In The Classroom
Teachers and others interested in hatching eggs in a classroom setting will want to check out our web page on hatching quail eggs in the classroom by Melissa Yell (pictured at right holding a button quail and a student holds a coturnix quail chick in picture at left). Many breeders help out with education related projects by donating eggs and chicks to educational projects. You will find great information on how to hatch game bird eggs in each issue of the Game Bird Gazette magazine.
Mailing & Shipping Game Birds
Horizon Micro-Environments is the best place to purchase approved shipping containers for quail, pheasants, partridges, ducks, geese, swans, etc. The shipping containers available from Horizon Micro-Environments are attractive, have an excellent design, and are the most popular shipping containers used by game bird breeders. Horizon is the largest developer and manufacturer of universally approved, environmentally-secure shipping containers for live birds, designed primarily for the U. S. Post Office's Express Mail Service. Quail breeders will want to check out Horizon's new shipping boxes for quail--the "Strongest 50-bird baby chick box in the world"! This company has a sterling reputation and their products are endorsed by the Gazette. Adult gamebirds such as quail, pheasants, partridges, ducks, geese and swans can be conveniently mailed through the U. S. postal service express mail using an approved shipping container such as is available from Horizon MicroEnvironments. Call Horizon toll free at 1-800-443-2498.
Speaking of mailing birds, the Postal Service revised its mailing standards for birds last year. As published in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 601.9.3.4, it has expanded the mailability of adult birds to include any disease-free live adult bird, weighing no more than 25 pounds, if the mailer and the mailing is compliant with all applicable governmental laws and regulations. The DMM has a list of the types of disease-free adult birds that can be mailed domestically. That list was previously restricted to adult chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, doves, pigeons, pheasants, partridges, quail, ducks, geese, and swans. So most game birds that Gazette members work with were already accepted as mail. With this revision, the Postal Service expanded its mailing standards to allow for the shipment of any disease-free live adult bird, weighing no more than 25 pounds, which can be legally transported. Mailers are required to be aware of, and comply with, all applicable governmental laws and regulations that may apply when mailing adult fowl of various types. See our pages on game bird mailing and shipping for more information.
Mealworms & Other Live Food For Game Birds
Many breeders of game birds and ducks provide their birds with live food such as mealworms. The best and most reliable source for mealworms, crickets, and other live foods is Rainbow Mealworms in Compton, California. Many bird breeders feed a handful or two of mealworms to their birds every day throughout the year to help ensure nutritional adequacy. Some producers believe that mealworms or other live food helps to stimulate breeding activities.
Live foods (most often mealworms because they are easy to feed) are also used by many breeders for starting their chicks of some of the species of quail, partridges, pheasants, guinea fowl, tinamous, grouse, doves, ducks, and other gamebirds.
You'll find an advertisment from Rainbow Mealworms in the Game Bird Gazette. To order mealworms and crickets call Rainbow toll free at 800-777-9676. For inquiries call 310-635-1494.
In her article on button quail perspectives, Nancy Bent pointed out in the Game Bird Gazette what she and so many breeders and ornithologists have observed -- that worms or other live food plays an important role in the courtship and other breeding behaviors of different quail and other game birds. Techniques and considerations in providing live food is often discussed in the magazine.
From Madison, Ohio, Richard Nielson writes, "I could not get along without the Game Bird Gazette. The large number of ads have helped me locate the birds I have needed. I've found some breeders in the Game Bird Gazette classified ads that live near me that I didn't even know about! Although we raise mostly quail and ringneck pheasants, my wife saw some Crested Ducks for sale in the magazine and she has fallen in love with them! The breeders selling birds to me over the years have been wonderful and have gone out of their way to help me. I haven't found that kind of care, kindness, and comradery at the auctions I used to visit. What they say about bird breeders being some of the best people in the world is really true!."
Popular Coturnix Quail
More and more people are raising quail and producing eggs to supplement their incomes in these difficult economic times. Coturnix are a type of quail that are easy to keep and breed in small cages and some hens will produce up to 200 or more eggs during their first year. So just about anyone can raise coturnix and produce eggs to sell, even if you don't have much space. Coturnix quail are produced by many breeders the year round. They have been an important source of meat and eggs for human consumption in many countries for a long time. Pickled coturnix eggs are a tasty and increasingly popular gourmet food item. Another market for the eggs is from egg crafters, as the distinctive mottled brown eggs are used for decorative purposes. Coturnix quail are often sold to laboratories and used in research, as they can thrive in small cages and are capable of producing several generations in a single year. You will find many quail and eggs listing in every issue of the Game Bird Gazette.
Pheasants For The Table
We're frequently asked at the Gazette offices where to obtain high quality pheasant meat for the table. MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. offers an impressive variety of meat products and game meats, including dressed whole pheasants, pheasant breasts, and smoked whole pheasants. They also sell a variety of other delicious game meats, including ostrich, duck, quail, and alligator. They sell pheasant meat and other food products to restaurants and food markets all over the country. MacFarlane Pheasants also produces pheasant chicks, started, and mature pheasants and partridges for hunting and game bird farms. Visit their website and online stores to view and order products and services that are available.
Betsy Thatcher in England writes, "I bought the book on game bird breeding by Hayes and saw where the book's author references and highly recommends the Game Bird Gazette. I saw in this book that there are dozens of references to the articles and pictures in the Gazette. And my friend, who breeds quail and pheasants, also said your magazine is of great help to him. So I thought to myself, 'I must have your publication for myself!' I want to tell you that I am very, very impressed with my first issue. I am a school teach and love the information on educational aspects of raising game birds. I am in recommending the Gazette to others here in the United Kingdom."
Incubating, Brooding & Breeding Game Birds -- Some
Of The Many Great Products Offered in the Gazette
One of the world's leading manufacturers of incubators and other products for hatching and rearing gamebirds is Brinsea Products, Inc. Brinsea has a fabulous line of incubators to meet any need. Shown at right is the Mini Advance 7 egg incubator and OvaScope egg scope which are great for kids especially. Seven hen eggs or 12 quail eggs (with optional small egg insert) are gently warmed and turned automatically as they incubate and the display even counts down each day to tell you when they are due to hatch. And with the OvaScope you watch the live embryo develop inside the egg and even hook it up to a webcam. Shown in the picture at left (photo by Frank Pearce) is Brinsea’s Executive Vice-President, Pascale Deffieux, showing chicks hatched in a Brinsea Octagon 20 Incubator. Go to the Brinsea Products website for information on the outstanding range of incubators, brooders, and other great products that are available. Schools and teachers will find Brinsea incubators to be excellent for use in classroom hatching projects. In fact the Mini Advance and OvaScope have been winners of the Teacher’s Choice Award for the Classroom. You can reach Brinsea Products by phone at 888-667-7009.
Game Bird Netting For Making Pens
You will find helpful information on pens and aviaries in every issue of the Gazette. Netting is very popular among game bird breeders in covering all or portions of pens and enclosures for all types of game birds and waterfowl. The advantages of netting include its flexibility which helps to prevent injuries.
Endurance Net has been one of the leading companies offering game bird and aviary netting and other products for decades. Endurance has been manufacturing Barrier Netting since 1966 and has a reputation for excellence and reliability second to none. They sell knitted nets, knotted nets, aviary netting, duck pond netting, privacy screen, shade screen, and many other important accessories and products for game bird and duck producers. Endurance has several varieties of aviary/ bird netting specifically designed to keep birds safe in flight and protected from predators. Their netting is used for game bird pens, aviaries, chicken coups, and much more. Be sure to check out their page on pen construction with diagrams of their free span pheasant fly pens which are excellent. Call Endurance Net for a catalog and free samples of their netting. They can be reached by phone toll free at 800-808-6387 or 609-499-3450.
Another source for game bird netting for use on game farms and in making aviaries is the J. A. Cissel & Co. of Lakewood, New Jersey. Their Toprite netting has been one of the most used products in the industry for many years. J. A. Cissel & Co. offers grid flooring made of sturdy polyethylene that makes excellent flooring in quail, chukar, and other pens and side fencing for all types of pens. Their catch pen and side netting is great for use on pheasant and waterfowl enclosures in particular. They manufacture shade cloth, anti-sight barrier, and a host of other materials for use in making game bird pens and aviaries. Visit the J. A. Cissel website or you can reach them toll free at 800-631-2234.
Leg Bands For Identifying Your Game Birds
The Game Bird Gazette office receives many inquiries each month on where to obtain leg and wing bands to identify and help you keep track of your birds.
The National Band and Tag Co. is the best source of leg and wing bands as well as blinders and bits for preventing cannibalism in gamebirds and poultry. One of their popular easy to use products is their Pinless Peeper which prevent birds from pecking and harming one another. This is a plastic "clip-on" blinder/peeper that the company spent a decade developing into a state of the art product. They are made to stay in longer and don't get caught in the netting (see the information at their website for more details!). National Band and Tag Co. has been in business since 1902 and their products are endorsed by the Gazette. Their bands and tags are used by thousands of game bird farms, bird breeders, public zoos, fish & wildlife departments, conservation agencies, etc. You can also get identification tags for cats and dogs, livestock, etc. Tags engraved with laser-etched bar codes and custom laser marking is available on many of their tag styles. This is a family run business and is recipient of the Tri-State Family Business of the Decade Award from the University of Cincinnati. Check out the National Band and Tag Co. advertisement in the Gazette and go to their web site at www.nationalband.com. You can also get more information or place an order by calling National Band and Tag at 859-261-2035.
Rosalie Adams said in part, "Peafowl are easy to keep and breed. The India Blue and its mutations are best if you are located in a colder climate. The Green Peafowl are more tropical and need to go inside during cold weather. Many people have let their India Blues roam about freely but we keep ours in pens. We really enjoy the articles on peafowl in the Game Bird Gazette."Clutch sizes in my Blue Peafowl range from about 4 - 9 buff to pale creamy white eggs which take about 27-29 days to hatch. The Green Peafowl lays 4-6 eggs in a clutch with an incubation period of 28 days. They eggs are somewhat larger in size tha those of the more common India Blue Peafowl. Peafowl are pheasants so you can have them shipped to you through the post office." There is terrific information on peafowl coming out in the very next edition of the Gazette!
Shown at right is Karl Milner of Lakenvelder Farm holding two of his fine India Blue Peafowl. Karl wrote an excellent article with great pictures for the Gazette on how to breed pheasants and quail right through the fall and winter months. Also a fabulous article and pictures on button quail. Karl's son is shown at left with looking at quail chicks in one of the brooders at the farm.
From Debbie Rosen, "I visited the Michigan State University web site and some of the other state university poultry sites looking for info (and reliable sources for birds) on how to get started raising ducks, pheasants, chukars and quail. At the university website, it says the Gazette has all the information required to raise game birds. We subscribed to the magazine and love it. The magazine is a fantastic source for eggs, chicks, breeder birds, incubators. What wonderful business or hobby this is … and a great learning experience for the kids!"
How To Properly Hold Ducks & Game Birds
We receive many questions about how to properly catch and handle ducks and other birds (example of golden-eye duck being correctly held at right), how to clip or pinion waterfowl and gamebirds, and how to keep them in the best feather condition. Answers to questions like these appear in the printed magazine. Check out the article in the upcoming Game Bird Gazette for some of the safest ways to catch up, hold, and transport your ducks and gamebirds. Also information on clipping wings, pinioning, and maintaining game birds in best feather condition.
Dan Cowell is has been one of the leading figures in the avicultural, zoo, and conservation communities for decades. Dan is especially known for his contributions to our knowledge of Galliformes husbandry and conservation. He is founder of Animal Wonders LLC which offers a variety of programs and activities designed to increase an appreciation and understanding of bird and animal life. A few of the services available for schools and others include in-class workshops, pre-school and day care programs, husbandry education sessions, animal birthday parties, etc. Special programs and options are available for scouts, 4-H, FFA, and other youth groups. Visit the Animal Wonders website for information on available programs and activities. Dan also sponsors gbwf.org which is an avicultural and conservation website. It is dedicated to the aviculture and conservation of the world's Galliformes. Look for more an article on the great work being done by Dan in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
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