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Gamebirds

Gamebirds are being raised by homesteaders with increasing popularity. Gamebirds are easy to raise and produce a colorful bird that is delicious. The increasing encroachment of wild lands makes it impossible for some gamebirds to live without help. Game birds will not only bring meat to your table but can be raised to release for maintaining shooting preserves. Many homesteaders keep breeding stock to sell hatching eggs or young chicks.

Most states require a licence to keep Gamebirds in captivity.

Chukar Partridge

Chukar Partridges are native of dry south-eastern Europe and Asia. Some have been introduced in parts of western United States. They are between a Quail and a grouse in size. The distinctive markings make them easy to recognize. They have a black eye- stripe that runs down the neck and joins beneath the throat to form a "bib". Bright-red bill and feet, heavy black bars alongside the breast, and touches of rich chestnut on the crown tail and underparts allow them to be identified easily.

Males and females are marked the same, making it hard to differentiate. The females will lay creamy, brown speckled eggs usually in a hollow near a rock or bush. Male Chukar will return after hatching and help care for the young chicks.

Pheasants

Ringneck pheasants are not native to this area of the state, they require ground feeding in winter not possible in our deep snows. Many people raise pheasants to release for fall hunting, or for their own tables. Pheasant raising is the most popular type of game bird farming. The female Pheasant will lay about 50 to 70 bluish green eggs in a season. She is a drab brown color so she can camouflage her nest that is built on the ground.

Males are very territorial and will emit a loud screech from time to time. They protect their females using sharp beak and talons. Pheasants never become tame, they will fly around and hurt themselves by banging into sides and the top of the pens if frightened.

Bobwhite Quail

Bobwhite Quail are a small chunky bird. They have a small projection or "tooth" on their bills that helps in gathering leaves, buds, fruits, seeds, insects and snails that all find a place in their diets. This bird prefers open pinewoods, brushy fields, abandon farms and similar habitats. They often become quite tame and feed near homes.

At night a covey of about a dozen birds will roost in a tight circle, heads out and tails in. This will conserve heat and permit a fast getaway in case of danger.

Males will establish their territories and call the females with their loud and familiar "bobwhite". Pairs will build nest on the ground in thick cover, often high grass. The nest is well made with an arch of woven grass over the top. Fourteen to sixteen small white eggs hatch in about twenty-three days. Newly hatched birds are very small - thumb sized - but grow rapidly and can fly in about two weeks.

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