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This season, Sportsman carried out a pheasant breeder trial in partnership with SRUC (Elmwood College) to determine the effect that a selected additive has on bird performance.
With product development at the forefront of Sportsman’s agenda, the objective of this trial was to generate data to inform further improvements and developments to the Sportsman feed range. In addition, working in partnership with SRUC allowed Sportsman to communicate and network with upcoming members of the industry and contribute to the education and training of the future workforce.
The trial involved testing the effect of the selected additive, which was identified due to its potential to improve performance. It was added over and above standard Sportsman Game Feed diets. This is of particular relevance due to the current pressure to reduce the use of antibiotics.
Pheasant Breeder Trial
In a trial carried out over a laying period of 8 weeks, pheasants fed the additive had higher egg production, fertility and hatchability and lower rejects. In total, there were 329 more saleable eggs laid by the additive fed birds over the same period of time. This equates to an additional 0.5 pence margin over feed per saleable egg, despite the increased diet cost due to the price of the additive. It is also worth noting that there was no difference in feed consumption between the standard and trial diets.
The increased egg production (Hen Day %) is seen in the graph below.
In addition to a higher number of saleable eggs laid, the pheasants fed the additive also saw a higher % fertility and hatchability, leading to a higher number of saleable chicks. Fertility and hatchability were both higher for every hatch - fertility was 4% higher overall and hatchability 8%. These increases in performance are visible in the graphs below (N.B. there were no hatchability data for the separate treatments in hatch 1). The higher fertility and hatchability means that despite the increased cost of the diet due to the additive, the margin over feed per chick was 0.91 pence higher for the additive fed birds.
It can be concluded that this additive had a very positive effect on pheasant breeder performance, leading to higher production, fertility and hatchability. This in turn led to an increased margin over feed for the birds fed the additive; 0.5 pence additional margin per saleable egg and 0.91 pence increased margin per chick.
With a positive effect of the additive seen on both pheasant performance and financials in this trial, Sportsman fully intends to continue to conduct trial work in this area to further understand the effect of additives on feed performance and development.