There are a lot of good reasons for raising game birds. A farm to table movement has increased the market for free range birds and delicacies like pheasant, quail and partridge are becoming more commonplace in the restaurant business, thus raising these beautiful birds could mean a nice money making venture for the savvy fowl farmer. On the other hand, hunting preserves are a tried and true purpose for raising game birds. Whether you are using stocks to train dogs or release into the wild, keeping a healthy stock of birds helps indigenous populations retain their numbers. Or perhaps you just like hearing those Bobwhite Quails go “bob bob bob whiiite!”
The Game’s Afoot!
In any case, raising game birds can be a rewarding experience. Throughout this post you will find information concerning types of common game birds and their respected habitats.
First off, you need to choose your breed of game bird carefully. Depending on where you live and what your local climate and ecology looks like, certain birds will do better than others. Listed below are some common game birds, their habitat and preferred climate.
Northern Bobwhite Quail: Found naturally in North America, the Bobwhite ranges from the Great Lakes and southern Minnesota all the way east to southern Massachusetts and west to Nebraska and central Texas. The Bobwhite thrives in agricultural fields, grasslands and woodland areas, a common bird for first time game bird growers due to its hardiness. Also the official Georgia State Game Bird.
Wild Turkey: Native to North America, the wild turkey populates the eastern seabord from Maine to Florida and spreads across the central United States. Wild turkeys prefer hardwood or mixed conifer-hardwood forests with nearby fields, meadows, and marshes. The largest breed of game bird common to the United States, the wild turkey can be an exciting hunt and a delicious meal.
Chukar Partridge: Native to Asia, the Chukar ranges from Greece to India including lowlands all the way up to 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas. The Chukar Partridge enjoys rocky scrub environments as well as grassy and cultivated land. Feral populations of Chukar have established in the Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, high desert of California, Canada, New Zealand and even Hawaii. A habitat sensitive breed, southern Idaho and eastern Oregon have been found to be ideal climates for the flighty buggers. Chukars, as with many game birds for sale, are sold as day old hatch-lings and delivered through the USPS.
Common Pheasant: Around 30 million Pheasants are released each year on shooting estates. The Pheasant has been hunted by man since time immemorial, having been heavily introduced by Romans. Originally an Asian species ranging from the Black Sea to Korea and even Taiwan; the Pheasant and its many breeds have spread across the globe due to their ability to breed in captivity and their ability to adapt and naturalize to new environments. The Ringneck Pheasant is the most common breed and is readily available from hatcheries around the country.
Managing flocks of wild game birds can be a rewarding experience, adding to your local fauna and your dinner table at the same time. If you are looking to step into the game bird business, you ought to check out Storey’s Guide to Raising Game Birds as a source for planning and executing your flock.