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The importance of choosing the right Game Feed June 17, 2021

You may be thinking of your game feed requirements for this season?

Duffields have the Keepers Choice Range of game feeds for Pheasants, Partridge and Ducks

But what are the key things to consider ?

Please check out the link below for what Keepers Choice diets can offer:-

https://keeperschoice.co.uk/2021/03/23/importance-choosing-right-game-feed/


The Keepers Choice Game Feed Blog -February 2021 February 17, 2021

Welcome to our latest blog for the Game sector 

This month a current topic in light of the current and recent lockdowns

Birds on the Ground – What to do Next?

Covid-19 has had long-lasting and negative impacts on almost every sector in the country, with game shooting being no different. Unfortunately, with the nation being locked down in November and January, it was near impossible to shoot the number of days that we are used to.

Looking on the bright side, you could say we were lucky to get in as many days as we did – considering we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. However, the reduced number of days in the field has seen more birds left on the ground than most of us are used to.

With these additional cocks and hens, could the pandemic see a boost in hens breeding in the UK, and if so, what is best practise? Also, if this proves effective, could it be a way around the red tape of Brexit?

Birds on the Ground

Although we are not in the business of making predictions, early signs indicate more shoots are at least considering breeding some of their own chicks. We have definitely seen an increase in enquiries for our feed for breeding stock – with several of the enquiries coming from shoots that don’t normally catch-up hens and pick-up eggs. Fifteen years ago, most shoots were rearing at least some birds themselves, but due to lots of reasons this became less common.

Whether or not the shoots showing interest will go the whole hog and rear their own birds is another question. If so, we suggest that probably 8-10 hens are needed per cock – with breeder pellets needing to be introduced in February. Breeding stock will also need worming in good time.

The big question is feasibility. Rearing game birds requires, the correct equipment, patience and, above all, the knowledge and best advice available.

Is it Feasible?

It is most certainly feasible if there is an individual at the shoot who has the skills, knowledge and inclination. And, if it is successful, this may well be a route to adopt moving forwards. Once the equipment is paid for and set up – it is considerably cheaper to do it this way.

If this is the way people are leaning, it is essential to be registered with a specialist game bird vet – ideally one that is a member of the British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA). There are also advantages to becoming a member of the Game Farmers Association (GFA) as this will provide extra support, it is not expensive and provides regular updates on legislation and the latest advice.

As discussed, if everything goes well and the correct equipment is used, catching up and breeding chicks has a number of benefits against buying stock in. The obvious one is the price, once everything is paid for it is much cheaper than buying in.

Provided the right skills are in place you have control over what the breeding hens and the new chicks are being fed – it is easier to feel confident in having strong, healthy chicks from the start.  There is also the ability to have control over other aspects of rearing and, importantly, when birds can go to wood. A game farmer calling up a keeper to say their six-week-old poults are arriving Friday – just in time for a thunderstorm – is a common frustration and can be extremely detrimental. If birds are reared on site, poults can be released in a more convenient window.

If It Doesn’t Work

If considering this route, it is important to weigh up some of the negatives. If money is spent on equipment, time is spent rearing and possibly fewer poults are ordered and it then doesn’t go to plan – one could be left is a devastating situation. Biosecurity is paramount with no short cuts to be taken.

Likewise, if rearing in undertaken without the correct skill set and knowledge, the poults that are released could be unhealthy, weak and susceptible to disease namely Mycoplasma which could infect other poults that would otherwise be healthy. It is hugely important to make sure rearing pens are safe and secure and protected from the worst of the outdoor conditions. One example, a long time ago, saw somebody put their rearing unit on a flood plain – this is not advised!

Other Considerations   

There are a few other factors to considering the number of birds left on the ground this year.

With more hens around, it is quite likely that the price of caught up hens will decrease on previous years. They are normally around the £4-£5 mark. If the plan is to sell caught up hens, it may be worth taking into consideration how worthwhile this is if the price dips below the norm.

If leaving birds on the ground and not catching up, several things need to be thought about. They will need feeding until late spring or early summer. Wheat is fine and probably preferred by most – but it is worth noting that the price of wheat is expensive at the moment. We’d recommend sticking with hoppers but remember to move regularly to avoid a build-up of dropped or wasted feed; to avoid a potential disease hotspot, as trailed feed can attract pests.

The other thing to contemplate is predator control. Carrion crows and magpies can be controlled to protect the eggs and chicks of endangered red or amber listed birds under the new general license than came in on 1st January. However, pheasants and red-legged partridge are green listed, so to protect solely these species you will need to apply for an individual license.

 

Brexit and Beyond  

We have not yet been through the stage of moving live chicks from France to the UK, as is done every year. The red-tape and paperwork may prove a problem and could prove more expensive. This thinking suggests that, long-term, a return to rearing chicks in the UK could be the way forward… But only time will tell.


Keepers Choice- Duffields Game Feed brand February 11, 2021

Keepers Choice – Game Feed from Duffields  

Since 2010, Keepers Choice – the UK’s premium game feed brand – has been owned, manufactured, and distributed by WL Duffield & Sons Ltd.

Benefitting from the core Duffield values of tradition, respect and trust, Keepers Choice has gone from strength to strength since 2010.

But what, asides from benefitting from the Duffield values, makes Keepers Choice such a firm favourite with game farmers and keepers alike?

First, Keepers Choice is made to rigorous standards that produce birds that are fit but not fat, well feathered, alert and of uniform size. The success of rearing game birds is becoming ever more challenging and stress from any source, including disease and feed not fit for purpose, will put any desired outcome at risk. To help the birds make the most of Keepers Choice Feeds, certain additives are incorporated into the range as standard to promote feed safety & hygiene, gut health, digestibility, and feed efficiency.

With Keepers Choice Feeds range being made and delivered from Duffield’s mills in Norfolk, Kent, and Somerset, it is able; given suitable notice, to deliver the right product at the right place at the right time.

Strong and durable bags are used with the added benefit of each product being in a colour coded bag.

Keeper Choice full range of game feeds include breeder and chick rearing rations, poult pellets, maintenance pellets and holding mixes. The range includes the following –

  • Organic Acids – promoting bacterial resistance and general bird health.
  • Added Vitamin A & D – supporting the immune system and healthy, strong bone growth.
  • Added Selenium – enhances fertility, hatchability, and good chick viability.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – vital for development of the brain and nervous system.
  • Added Enzymes – aids the digestion of minerals such as phosphorus, increases availability of starch and fibres in the feed and improves feed utilisation.

Lamb Feeds

New season sheep feeds from Duffields February 10, 2021

Duffields have a  superb range of sheep feeds

Duffields Ewe Feeds and Lamb Feeds are tried and tested diets designed for optimizing production and feeding efficiency.

Our Prime Lamb Creep Pellets is one of the best diets on the market for top performance and efficient early lamb production

Contact us today for further information and prices


Duffields (South West)    Mill Expansion Project October 27, 2020

Duffields South West have recently completed an expansion project at a cost of £2 Million.

The expansion will future proof the mill and gain some much-needed extra capacity (Approx. 25,000t) to ensure we can meet customer demand for now and the future.

The project was split into a 3-phase programme starting in April 2019.

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the project was to create six extra new finished product storage bins within our out-loading structure. The six new bins are located directly above the weighbridge and have a holding capacity of 30 Tons each or just over an artic load of feed. This has increased our overall finished feed storage to 560 Tons. The bins and transfer system are capable of loading an artic in less than 20 minutes which improves our turnaround time between loads.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the project began in September 2019 and was completed in April 2020.

It comprises of a new stand-alone Raw Material storage structure housing ten Raw Material bins, a three Ton batch Weigher and transfer system. The ten bins have a holding capacity of 40-50 Tons dependent on the density of the material. This has increased our overall Raw Material storage capacity to approximately 1200 Tons or 42 artic loads! This has had a positive impact on planning raw material intake and will ensure we can cope with demand.

 

Phase 3

 

Phase 3 took a lot of planning and was the most expensive phase of the project. We have removed our double pelleting system which comprised of three pellet Presses, a conditioning system and a horizontal Cooler which produced an average of 8 tons per hour.

In place we have installed one giant pellet Press costing £320k, an Expander to condition the feed and a counterflow Cooler which collectively are capable of producing 16 Tons an hour!

       

The new Expander machine is designed to impart mechanical energy to the feed and break down the structure of the raw materials to use the natural starch and oils to bind the feed, thus presenting a plasticine like product to the Press to be pelleted.

This will allow us to combine the more challenging raw materials and ensure we achieve a good quality finished product.