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Sportsman are always striving to ensure our feeds are of high quality and meet our customers’ needs. In order to do this, we keep up to date with research and trends in the industry and consider how they can be used to improve our product range. One way in which we do this is through trial work, as can be seen on our website. 

During the 2018 season, Sportsman worked in partnership with a game farm in Yorkshire, to examine the impact of a feed additive on pheasant grower performance. This type of product is regularly used in the poultry industry and has lots of published research showing its benefits. However, no work has been carried out with pheasants, so the objective of this trial was to assess the potential benefit when included in Sportsman feeds fed to pheasants.

The additive was added on top of the Sportsman range (trial diet), and compared to the standard Sportsman feeds (control diet). The set-up at the game farm allowed for the additive to be fed to 2 sheds and compared to the standard Sportsman feed in another 2 sheds. Performance was measured up to 6 weeks of age. Weekly bird and feed weights were recorded by the site, allowing for an accurate representation of the effects of the additive on pheasant performance. 

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Figure 1 – Graph showing average weekly weight of pheasants on control and trial diets

Initial bird weight at day old was very similar between the trial and control diets, however, the birds fed the trial diet saw a larger weight increase week on week. By 6 weeks the birds fed the trial diet were 15 grams heavier, or one day’s growth ahead, of the control. Coupled with this increased weight, the birds on the trial diet also consumed significantly less feed throughout the trial. 

FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) is a measure of the efficiency with which feed is used for growth and is calculated by dividing the amount of feed eaten by the weight of the birds, with a lower value indicating an improvement. Overall, the trial diets led to a 0.18  (18 point) reduction in FCR, equivalent to a 7% reduction in the amount of feed required to produce birds of the same weight at 6 weeks.  This in turn gave a significant reduction in the weighted net feed cost per bird.

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Figure 2 – Graph showing average FCR (feed conversion ratio) for control and trial diets

Mortality was very low on both diets and birds on the trial diets appeared more lively and have better feather coverage at an earlier age.

The trial showed that this additive has the potential to be of significant value to growing pheasants and we are very grateful to the willingness and extra work done by the game farm to allow us to progress and report this trial.

You can be assured that Sportsman continually review products on the market which may have benefit to our customers. If you think you may have a site which may be suitable for running a nutritional trial, please speak to your local representative.