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Poult management..


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Folks - hoping the PW massive can assist with your opinions here please..

I’ve volunteered to look after this years pheasant poults across a number of pens located in typical mature, softwood forestry plantations. My question is what time of day do others check pen security, stock and top up water and feed..

I normally start pen visits at about 09.00hrs, knowing the poults at this time have dropped off their roost and filled their crops etc. Then another visit would be at about 16.00hrs to, once again check security, stock etc, then quietly leave allowing the poults to fuss and prepare for roost.

Now, I’m being told I should be at the pens at sunrise and sunset, but why.? Surely arriving at daybreak, in darkened woods, I run the risk of pushing the poults off their roost and out of the pen, with a similar problem occurring at sunset too..

I might be missing the obvious here so all thoughts and comments appreciated..

Thanks much..

 

 

 

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Who exactly is telling you this ?

I'd never want to be in or around the pen at dusk, when the birds are trying to settle and roost for the night, it sounds like a great way of disturbing the birds.

Broad daylight, move slowly and quietly, will cause the least disturbance

 

Edit : I do my pen checks after work, usually arriving at pens about 4pm

Edited by robbiep
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9 minutes ago, robbiep said:

I'd never want to be in or around the pen at dusk, when the birds are trying to settle and roost for the night, it sounds like a great way of disturbing the birds.

Agree 

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Do not walk pens at sunset.
 

The poults will be getting ready to roost, initially on the ground and then off the ground within days / weeks of them arriving. If you disturb them they may fly out the pen and those roosting drop down. 

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Go with your gut feeling, whoever's told you that would never make a very good gamekeeper ;)

Birds do wake up early though, they're already active before the exact moment of sunrise, especially in winter when daylight hours are short.  You'll do no harm whatsoever arriving to a pen shortly after the sun's up as long as the light gets in OK.  Indeed, if there is a problem you're going to be in a far better position spotting it and getting it sorted as early in the day as possible.  Also if they get in the habit of expecting feed early in the morning you could say you're in with a chance of holding them better by training them to stick around for you rather than sauntering off....

As said above, you'll stress your birds if you go clattering in there too late in the day but that time depends on the light levels allowed in by the wood.  As an example, I look after two pens at opposite ends of the same wood (deciduous, mostly beech, ash & sycamore).  The bigger pen has had no felling done in that area in recent years and it's  black as the ace of spades in there by the time the sun actually sets!  In contrast just 400yds away the smaller pen has a recently clear-felled area to the west of it so the birds do a bit of evening sunbathing and are very late to bed.... it's a massive contrast!

I had a hectic day at work today so only got there after dinner time - topped up the water in the header tanks and walked the outside of the fence around, then promptly retreated.  I wouldn't dream of going in the pens, it's so easy to stress pheasants out.

Now, when your birds are finally out and about it's a different story.  If you're aiming at either wholly or partly hand feeding them you might want to be arriving at your wood at daybreak, whistling them up and scattering feed along the trail to your game cover as an example.

I personally am not a morning person but I'll go out after dark and feed my game covers, which works very well for me.

Beware of the idle know-it-all, you seem like you've got good common sense so trust your instincts.  There's a reason you're putting the graft in and they're not ;)

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At the moment our birds are quite active from about 5 am. I think its fairly important to have one or two early mornings at a distance to see what your birds are doing. One morning a few seasons ago a could see the birds dropping out the pen to a fox waiting in that area of long grass, I guess we would of spotted it but my early morning saved a few birds. I certainly would not be too close to the pens at dusk.

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Thanks guys - really appreciate all your comments. I’ll continue with my line of thought and see how things go.. we do have a  syndicate member with a CF rifle scouting for Charlie so another good reason for me to be out of the way early doors.

These past visits the poults have just chilled in this hot weather and dust bathing seems to be their thing. I never thought I’d say this but for once our pens look really inviting with plenty of shade and a cooling breeze. Long may it last.

Also noted, they’re not hitting the water and pellets hard at all. Me thinks it’ll be due to this heat plus a bit of anxiety in their new home. I’m sure it’ll be ‘business as usual’ when this weather turns..

Cheers for now..

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1 hour ago, Salmo9 said:

Thanks guys - really appreciate all your comments. I’ll continue with my line of thought and see how things go.. we do have a  syndicate member with a CF rifle scouting for Charlie so another good reason for me to be out of the way early doors.

These past visits the poults have just chilled in this hot weather and dust bathing seems to be their thing. I never thought I’d say this but for once our pens look really inviting with plenty of shade and a cooling breeze. Long may it last.

Also noted, they’re not hitting the water and pellets hard at all. Me thinks it’ll be due to this heat plus a bit of anxiety in their new home. I’m sure it’ll be ‘business as usual’ when this weather turns..

Cheers for now..

I was up at our shoot on Tuesday afternoon about 4pm, after work. Birds all dust bathing and having a great time. Like you, not a lot of food seemed to have been used in the previous 48 hours, reckon it's the heat too.

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