Guest blog written by Keepers Choice
There are no two ways about it – the current situation is difficult to say the least! Uncertainty surrounds virtually every industry and every sector in the country, and not even the Government really knows how long this could last. However, we do know it will end at some point and it is important for game farmers and other industry workers to keep this in mind. The last thing any of us want is a severely impacted 2020/2021 shooting season.
In light of this, with April being the time from which chicks are normally sold – and with many deposits already placed - we thought it would be helpful to give some advice to game farmers on what to look for in a good feed supplier, while highlighting the benefits of sound nutrition and diligent biosecurity practice.
What to look for in your feed supplier?
- UFAS accredited mill – The Universal Feed Assurance Scheme is one of the best, most straight forward ways to assure you as a buyer that the feed from a mill is up to industry standards.
- Sales Team – An experienced sales team who understand diets, provide sound advice and can provide information on what to feed and when. Sales team members are often on the front line, so practical knowledge is vital.
- Product Quality – Minimal dust, correct packaging and palatability are all key factors. Regardless of the stage of feeding, product quality is always fundamental – and especially so in the first few days/weeks of life when intake is low. Good quality crumbs or pellets will help maximise intake.
- Range – Ensuring your feed company has a range of diets, from start to finish, is important. This shows a level of professionalism and commitment, while making the job of the game farmer and keeper easier – preventing awkward switches between different suppliers.
- Raw Materials – Both raw materials and other ingredients should be of high quality with no cheap alternatives – this is essential. A good, continuous supply chain is also significant, so supply is continuous.
- Chain of Command – A long chain of command creates unnecessary complications. At Keepers Choice, management can make quick, key decisions that prevent customers from waiting and becoming frustrated.
Benefits of Good Nutrition
- Healthy Birds – It may sound obvious, but the number of unhealthy birds due to lowquality feed can be a real issue. A healthy diet results in strong, fit and well feathered birds. Which in turn result in better days in the field.
- Additives and Supplements – This is essential, particularly in Breeder and Starter rations, to help support developing immune systems which in turn go on to combat disease. Resulting in less money spent on medicine and a reduction in antibiotics.
- Energy and Conversion – As the energy content of the feed increases, the intake of feed should reduce. This will help with feed conversion ratios and, ultimately, means using less and saving money.
- Reputation – Supplying good, strong game birds build a farmers’ reputation – something that you can’t put a price on.
- Peace of Mind – Knowing that your birds are eating a good, nutritious diet means you can have peace of mind in the knowledge you have done all you can to ensure good health and welfare of your flock.
Biosecurity is always of upmost importance. However, when birds are young they are even more vulnerable, making biosecurity measures even more essential. It could also be suggested that, after the current pandemic has slowed down, we will be entering an age when biosecurity is more stringent than ever before.
- Foot Dips – Foot dips should be placed conveniently by every shed and cleaned regularly.
- Signing In – All visitors should be signed into a visitors’ book to try and prevent any disease carryover.
- Handwashing Facilities – These should be clearly marked and spaced regularly apart.
- Neighbourly Hands – Although we are all often keen to help out those who need it, helping out neighbours and vice versa should be curbed where possible during crucial times of the rearing season.
- Clothing – Clothing should be changed and washed frequently to prevent the spread of potential infections and viruses.
- Staffing – Keeping certain staff assigned to certain birds and sheds can help prevent disease carryover.
Unfortunately, the current situation is having an adverse effect on the British game shooting sector – with some shoots closing and some gamekeepers being laid off. We would still hope to see some shooting once the season begins; however how much, we are yet to find out.
For any further information on our diets or anything else that we can help with, please either email us at Sales@keeperschoice.co.uk or call our customer service line on (01508) 470661.
You can also view our full feeding guide HERE