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Quick question: 

Are many keepers keepers still topping up bird feeders in the spring and early summer once the season ends? 
 

I know  keepers who kept feeding birds all season last year and end of the year, even when they knew the shooting season was done for. 
 

However I have seen someone suggest recently that spring and summer feeding is supposedly not the done thing?! 
 

Surely that is nonsense? As supplementary feeding supports wild bred young birds and keeps birds interesting in the ground? 
 

 

Do you all stop feeding at the end of the shoot season? 
 

Carry on until spring? Or carry on all year? 

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9 minutes ago, Lloyd90 said:


Quick question: 

Are many keepers keepers still topping up bird feeders in the spring and early summer once the season ends? 
 

I know  keepers who kept feeding birds all season last year and end of the year, even when they knew the shooting season was done for. 
 

However I have seen someone suggest recently that spring and summer feeding is supposedly not the done thing?! 
 

Surely that is nonsense? As supplementary feeding supports wild bred young birds and keeps birds interesting in the ground? 
 

 

Do you all stop feeding at the end of the shoot season? 
 

Carry on until spring? Or carry on all year? 

My son is a keeper, and usually carries on feeding until April/May (when everything has greened up).

With last season being foreshortened at the end of Dec'20, obviously there were a lot more birds left on the ground, and since the start of Jan'21 he has fed continuously, although concentrating on specific feeders as time has progressed.

Feeding Pheasant and Duck, he has probably fed 6-8 ton of wheat since January.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, twenty said:

My son is a keeper, and usually carries on feeding until April/May (when everything has greened up).

With last season being foreshortened at the end of Dec'20, obviously there were a lot more birds left on the ground, and since the start of Jan'21 he has fed continuously, although concentrating on specific feeders as time has progressed.

Feeding Pheasant and Duck, he has probably fed 6-8 ton of wheat since January.

 

 

 


 

My mate did the same.
 

He said it wouldn’t be ethical or right to just let the large number of birds left over starve, and kept paying out for feeding without any way of recovering the money. 
 

 

Fair play to your son 👍🏻

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I reckon its right that if you have put the birds down and not shot them you have a duty of care to feed. Just don't expect it to have any significant impact on the number of birds available at the start of next season. Its more about care for the birds and reducing the negative impact that they will have on the environment they inhabit.

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32 minutes ago, oowee said:

I reckon its right that if you have put the birds down and not shot them you have a duty of care to feed. Just don't expect it to have any significant impact on the number of birds available at the start of next season. Its more about care for the birds and reducing the negative impact that they will have on the environment they inhabit.


 

I kept feeding a wood (with some feed I bought) on a little shoot I’m on and despite not putting down any birds last season have seen a few birds still around this year and a few wild bred birds. 
 

If your putting down thousands of birds each year then I suppose the benefit won’t be significant, if you’ve Only got a handful of birds to begin with then boosting the chances of wild bred birds can only be a good thing. 

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8 hours ago, oowee said:

I reckon its right that if you have put the birds down and not shot them you have a duty of care to feed. Just don't expect it to have any significant impact on the number of birds available at the start of next season. Its more about care for the birds and reducing the negative impact that they will have on the environment they inhabit.

Exactly right, the amount of birds left on the ground would surely have led to food shortages, if feeding had not been continued.

He normally carries on feeding into May anyway, but obviously the feed amount used would be much lower after a completed season.

His shoot is over about 2000 acres, so hopefully he may retain a reasonable number of last years birds on site, but will obviously be having his new poults as usual this year as well.

All the best. 

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I have a lot more birds showing in my small 10 acre wood at the moment. I decided this morning to put a single feeder in there for the next month or so.  The thought is that these birds will have a source of feed until the harvest when they can go out and glean whatver they can.  Probably going to cost me 40-50 quid but qwell worth it.

I know of one estate where at least one feeder in each normal drive area is kept topped up and birds are using them. Seems common sense considering the number left over from last season.

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On 01/05/2021 at 17:30, Walker570 said:

I have a lot more birds showing in my small 10 acre wood at the moment. I decided this morning to put a single feeder in there for the next month or so.  The thought is that these birds will have a source of feed until the harvest when they can go out and glean whatver they can.  Probably going to cost me 40-50 quid but qwell worth it.

I know of one estate where at least one feeder in each normal drive area is kept topped up and birds are using them. Seems common sense considering the number left over from last season.

Exactly right, only fair in the circumstances, well done for feeding 👍

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I've never heard of feeding right through being "not the done thing" from an etiquette sort of angle.  I'd suggest it normally isn't done because the keeper can't be bothered or the shoot can't/won't foot the bill.  There may be some practical reasons: I don't put feed in my pens after the season has ended, to cut down the amount of poop dropped, hopefully to minimise disease risk for the forthcoming new stock.  You might not want your older randy cock birds hanging round the pens when you put your new stock in.  Death by brutal rape is something I have witnessed a number of times!  I was on the verge of taking my gun to one of the pens last summer to remedy that situation but the offender got a reprieve because he was such a handsome looking bird.  I shed a tiny tear to myself when he was handed in to the game cart during the season!

I usually feed until supplies run out which can be March, can be May (I'm not in charge so can't magic wheat out of nowhere).  But since the end of the season, with about a ton of grain left over I've kept two feeders just outside each release pens and one feeder in every drive going non-stop and it won't run out for a good few weeks yet.  Even with the old maize flailed off and the cover plots worked over, I have kept a feeder in the hedgerow along the edge.

It's crawling with pheasants.  Also nice to see a handful of wild red-legs bred presumably from the tiny amount we put down for a bit of fun, no more recently than 4 years ago.

43 Maggies trapped and dispatched so far this year, and 2 guys regularly out on the foxes.  Fingers crossed!

More importantly, I'm now starting to notice lots of little flocks of farmland birds flitting about (I'm rubbish at identifying them, sorry).  I've seen an abundance of robins, wrens and blackbirds in the hedges and woodland edges as well.  The woodpigeons are doing quite nicely at nesting too, which I think is always a reasonably accurate barometer of how well you're keeping the magpies at bay due to the pigeons' nests being such an easy target.

About 2 weeks ago I saw a lapwing on the meadow right next to where I'd been clearing out the last pair of magpies from a small plantation.  That's the first one I've seen on our shoot.

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7 hours ago, Jim Neal said:

I've never heard of feeding right through being "not the done thing" from an etiquette sort of angle.  I'd suggest it normally isn't done because the keeper can't be bothered or the shoot can't/won't foot the bill.  There may be some practical reasons: I don't put feed in my pens after the season has ended, to cut down the amount of poop dropped, hopefully to minimise disease risk for the forthcoming new stock.  You might not want your older randy cock birds hanging round the pens when you put your new stock in.  Death by brutal rape is something I have witnessed a number of times!  I was on the verge of taking my gun to one of the pens last summer to remedy that situation but the offender got a reprieve because he was such a handsome looking bird.  I shed a tiny tear to myself when he was handed in to the game cart during the season!

I usually feed until supplies run out which can be March, can be May (I'm not in charge so can't magic wheat out of nowhere).  But since the end of the season, with about a ton of grain left over I've kept two feeders just outside each release pens and one feeder in every drive going non-stop and it won't run out for a good few weeks yet.  Even with the old maize flailed off and the cover plots worked over, I have kept a feeder in the hedgerow along the edge.

It's crawling with pheasants.  Also nice to see a handful of wild red-legs bred presumably from the tiny amount we put down for a bit of fun, no more recently than 4 years ago.

43 Maggies trapped and dispatched so far this year, and 2 guys regularly out on the foxes.  Fingers crossed!

More importantly, I'm now starting to notice lots of little flocks of farmland birds flitting about (I'm rubbish at identifying them, sorry).  I've seen an abundance of robins, wrens and blackbirds in the hedges and woodland edges as well.  The woodpigeons are doing quite nicely at nesting too, which I think is always a reasonably accurate barometer of how well you're keeping the magpies at bay due to the pigeons' nests being such an easy target.

About 2 weeks ago I saw a lapwing on the meadow right next to where I'd been clearing out the last pair of magpies from a small plantation.  That's the first one I've seen on our shoot.

Good work, good report 👍

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We feed until the foliage returns in Spring and it’s warm enough for all sorts of little insects to get going again, but we don’t feed right through. 
Was in the woods which hosts our local BIG shoot and loads and loads of birds about and feeders spread throughout the woods, whereas in season they’re only in allocated places. 
They’ll keep feeding until insect life is well established. 

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I am about to put in a new feeder predominantly for the pheasants and one or two red legs which venture into my wood. My problem is I have two large badger sets on neighbours ground either side and they devatate a normal feeder overnight...so... having watched how pheasants soon learn to hop up ponto my squirrel flip top feeders I thought I would put the feeder (1/2 a 45g drum) on a table about 3ft off the ground.  I have a sheet of plastic for the table top so it will not rot.  Plan is four tanalised fence posts driven in and a pallet on those with the plastic sheet on that.   I have five live catch cages on small similar tables and the badgers cannot get at them..they try.

I will load some photos as soon as I have it all in place.   Watch this space.

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5 hours ago, Walker570 said:

I am about to put in a new feeder predominantly for the pheasants and one or two red legs which venture into my wood. My problem is I have two large badger sets on neighbours ground either side and they devatate a normal feeder overnight...so... having watched how pheasants soon learn to hop up ponto my squirrel flip top feeders I thought I would put the feeder (1/2 a 45g drum) on a table about 3ft off the ground.  I have a sheet of plastic for the table top so it will not rot.  Plan is four tanalised fence posts driven in and a pallet on those with the plastic sheet on that.   I have five live catch cages on small similar tables and the badgers cannot get at them..they try.

I will load some photos as soon as I have it all in place.   Watch this space.

Interesting. Our feeders don’t seem to be bothered by badgers, and we do have them, but Roe often emptied them now and again. 

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I think it's best to feed until there is food for them ,seeds field cut etc I have proved that on the shoot I help on if you don't feed you will loose alot of pheasants and partridges that will nest and bring of clutches which draws others to you later on , I know this because of different breeds what are seen and shot what we do not release Speaks For Itself.

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All basically down to what the shoot can afford but personally I think at least one feeder in five kept topped up is a good idea. Fortunately these days I don't have that wory but do like to see the birds in my litle wood happy.

Edited by Walker570
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If you are going to do it, commit to it! Especially if you feeding for wild birds to. Don't stop/start. Birds are struggling, still in the hunger gap. Keeping a close on on feed will tell you where, when, if they need it. Feeing will help laying hens stay in condition and new arrivals get into condition. Pairs of english will adopt/defend a feeder/feed area and nest near by. Supplying water and predator control just as important as feeding. If you got turtle doves make sure your supp feed is near cover/habitat.        NB

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