Maximise Laying Success - What's the Stress About?
You might think, what does a laying pheasant or partridge have to be stressed about? They have survived the shooting season and are now in pen with food, water, protection from predators and some nice branches and places to go and hide.
This is an incredibly stressful time for the birds. If not overwintered, they will have been caught up, handled, crated, transported and then put into a laying pen. Their normal everyday natural activities have been stopped, hormones will be raging, cock birds will be want to be territorial, fighting if in a communal pen and they will be dominating the hens. Stress can bring any underlying health issues to the forefront and can stop the adequate absorption of calcium, needed for eggs.
Water supplements can play a key role in keeping mortality down and egg production up.
I use our Quill Boost Tonic from pre-lay right through to the end for many reasons. In a nutshell, one of the ingredients it contains is Tryptophan, an amino acid which helps in the serotonin production, making pheasants or partridges less aggressive and more relaxed. Quill Boost Tonic also supports the immune system and lowers the pH of the drinking water, helping to keep disease causing bacteria levels down, very important if you are using open water drinkers.
Once laying gets underway, it can be worth providing calcium supplements in the form of oyster shell (and grit to break it up) or adding a calcium supplement such as Calferol to the water. A lack of calcium will cause the hens to draw calcium from their skeletons to make shells (which are 90% calcium), weakening their bones as well as becoming egg bound which could be fatal. If your birds are stressed, this can also disrupt their ability to absorb calcium from their feed properly and therefore may require a supplement.