Head keeper Matthew Steadman, along with under keepers Josh Beckett and Luke Knowles, take the birds’ feeding and nutrition very seriously in an environment where they’re dealing with the complete life-cycle for both partridge and pheasant.

And since he’s been using Sportsman Game Feed products, Matthew has seen a significant decrease in enteritis and other diseases among his game birds, bringing the death rate down significantly.

“Our biggest challenge is to keep our mortality rates low, and by feeding supplements and vitamins along with good nutrition, it can make a big difference to the birds’ survival,” he says.

Matthew, who has worked on the Yorkshire estate for nine years, discovered Sportsman Game Feeds many years ago when his wife, Carol, was feeding her pheasants with Sportsman products.

“We were so impressed with the condition of the birds that we decided to try it. The best thing about Sportsman is that the sales advisers are genuinely interested in the game industry. Nick Binnington, the Sportsman Game Feed representative, has been so helpful and he has all the latest news from the poultry industry.

“Nick will also give us all the latest information on what’s new in terms of nutrition so we are completely up-to-date.

“We see the whole life cycle from the laying hens, to hatching the chicks, right through to the shoot itself,” says Matthew.

“We use a number of products from the Sportsman range including Game Breeder Pellets that we feed to our laying hens, comprising of Starter Crumbs, Mini Pellets and Grower Pellets No 1 and No 2. Through good nutrition, supplements and vitamins we aim to ensure our game birds are fit, healthy and are at their best for the shooting season.”

Game shooting on the Wykeham estate attracts plenty of clients including lots of recommendations and repeat visitors. In the past, the shoot has let days from 150 to 300 plus bird days, but more recently the numbers have increased with clients taking 200 to 300 plus bird days. The estate hosts around 90 shoots a year.

“This year was our most successful,” says Matthew, “I think people are spending again and we want to fulfil that demand.

“Ultimately, we want to breed healthy birds that fly well. Part of their growth and development depends on them having the right nutrition along with making sure they are not overcrowded or stressed.”