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Foolofatook

Pan or Wright feeders?

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Our shoot has been using auto feeders for last two seasons, however crows and pigeons are a constant nuisance and returns have declined. We previously hopper fed but spirals allowed birds to feed quickly and wander and again crows/pigeons had an easy meal. Using pan or Wright feeders has been suggested now on going back to hopper feeding. Anyone any experience of advice about these  ?

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I think whatever you use then vermin problems exist.  Jays, magpies, jackdaws,crows, squirrels, rats are opportunists and the only answer is the gun. Badgers and deer can be held back with fencing/ strong wire mesh, although I saw a young fallow doe this year get down on her knees and push with her back fet until her head slid under the wire and she could just reach the spring feeder with her tongue.    I sit and watch pheasants feeding on regular basis as I have purpose built hides overlooking the feeders for squirrel control and often will spend three or four hours just observing and it is interesting. Many of the cock birds will feed sparodically being more interested in commanding their territory until another cock bird approaches. The hen birds are totally different, often coming in at the run, will feed at speed and then off they go, sometimes as fast as they came in, but often just wander off across the field or up a hedgerow, they don't normally hang around.  The only way I see birds having to stay is where they are hand fed the old fashioned way into straw where they have to search and work for it.  I have one set which this year overlooked a large pile of old oats which the birds had spread out into a circle about 5 yards across. They would spend best part of an hour scratching away into this and it just seemed they were enjoying themselves.  I do not think there is a way to stop pheasants wandering up hedgerows and across fields, it is in their nature.

One old keeper I knew said to always place your feeders in a wide circle and that way they tended to go from one to the other and eventually return to the same place.

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Thanks for that. Yes you're absolutely right; we had used straw under auto feeders but time constraints didn't allow for the gun to be consistently applied! The feeders placed in a wide circle sounds an excellent idea. Can you remember approximately how wide the circle? 10 yds diameter would sound about right to me. Many thanks for such an informative reply.👍

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I think the old boys idea was to note any escape routes then put in a circle of feeders along that route but bring them round to the original position ...eg field hedges.

 I see feeders set in hedges but then nothing so this tends to draw birds away but if they wander up a hedge then on reaching the corner find another just along the intervening hedge, then 20-30yrds further on another they will often follow this route, same around the outside of a cover/coppice/wood ...lead them back without them realising.

HOWEVER!!    Best laid plans of mice and men when pheasants are concerned.

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Excellent. It becomes apparent our feed stations have been helping to lead birds away. Time to get the O.S. map out I think. Many thanks.

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Posted (edited)

Some great advice so far. 

As mentioned it’s almost impossible to stop non target species from hitting the feeders but something we do to try and keep our birds where we want is to feed a maize/wheat mix in our main drives in the places we want them and just plain wheat in the smaller drives we do on smaller days. It’s hard to judge whether this works as our main drives hold birds better naturally but I think it helps. 

We try and get a few straw bales in these main areas too. Rolling half out and leaving the other upright as they love getting off the ground to dry out or just picking through grain we’ve sprinkled on top.

Lastly a keeper friend always tells us to put our hoppers on grass or fallen leaves and not bare bottom ground as despite not being as good as straw it forces the birds to peck about rather than hoovering it up then bugg****g off!

 

Edited by Nmb

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Yes, maize is always popular, we had one auto feeder at the release pen that fed kibbled maize as birds were coming back to roost. A couple of broken bales with some feed sprinkled popular too. Thanks to advice on this forum we'll place hoppers as Walker570 suggests and auto feeders in a little one acre game crop and watch the effect. The advice on grass or fallen leaves is well taken. Thanks guys for the excellent advice, it's going to be fun placing hoppers/ bales to provide a feed "circuit." Now back to snares, traps and rifle. ...

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