The laying period represents the start of a new year in the game world. The performance of the breeding birds and the quality of the day-old chicks produced set the foundations for success for the rest of the season. It is vital that birds are brought into lay in the correct way, and that breeder feeds are used which can support high levels of performance.


Sportsman have a comprehensive range of high specification feeds for this crucial period in the bird’s life.


It is important that the breeding game bird is brought into lay in a fit but not fat condition and at the correct liveweight, being neither too big nor too small. As lay approaches, if whole wheat is fed, the proportion of wheat in the diet should be reduced. Wheat is high in energy but low in protein compared to a prebreeder/maintenance feed and as environmental temperatures gradually improve as spring approaches, the energy requirements of the bird will fall. Good future performance will be best supported by an increasing proportion of pellets in the diet.


However, the nutritional specification of a maintenance/prebreeder feed is not high enough for a laying bird and it is important to switch to a breeder feed at the correct time- neither too soon nor too late.  In general, this is about 3 weeks before the first eggs are expected.


As the breeder comes into lay there is a marked increase in the nutrient requirements. These requirements must be met by feeding a high specification breeder feed, and of course, in the case of birds kept in raised pens, such feeds are the only source of nutrition for the birds.


Sportsman produce two different breeder feeds, one for pheasants and one for partridge and it is important that the correct feed is chosen. The Breeder 1, designed to meet the higher energy and protein  requirements of the partridge, is available in a smaller (2.5 mm) pellet size. This feed also has the benefit of fishmeal being included. The Breeder 2 is the usual feed of choice for pheasants and is normally made as a 3.2 mm pellet.


Both Sportsman feeds are made to exacting specifications using only carefully chosen raw materials.


The two most critical nutrients are energy and protein. Energy is the nutrient which drives all body processes, much as petrol is the fuel for a car. Protein is composed of amino acids- they are the building blocks of protein and must be present at both the correct levels and balance to each other.


Breeding birds also require higher inputs of the major minerals (for example, calcium, phosphorus and sodium), and a long list of trace elements and vitamins to achieve high levels of fertility, hatchability and chick quality. Careful attention has been paid by Sportsman to these needs.


A number of special additives are included by Sportsman which are of particular value during the breeder period. For example, the inclusion of organic selenium is beneficial to fertility, hatchability and feathering, HyD improves shell quality and organic zinc also helps to maintain feathering.


You can be sure that the specification and formulation of Sportsman breeder feeds can help you get the best performance from your birds.