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Thread: keeping up with birds

  1. #1

    Default keeping up with birds

    I'm thinking about picking up some birds to train with but I need some questions answered before making the decision. I know winter isn't prime time to keep up with birds but is it possible to keep the birds outside if I were to build a coop or do they need to stay indoors? In regards to building a coop is one sq foot per bird enough? The birds would be chukar/bobwhites/pigeons.

    I have no intentions to breed the birds...I'm solely interested getting a my pup on some birds.

    thanks,

    Richie

  2. #2
    Member lynch's Avatar
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    Default birds

    You would need a heated coop to keep birds this time of year. I think it will need to be bigger than you are talking about. Game birds are usually hard to get this time of year, do you have a breeder that can get them to you now? If you have some bird questions maybe you could ask Gary at Falcon Ridge game farm in the valley. He is in the book and might be willing to share some info. Also gsp on this site might help you he has raised chukars the last couple of years. If you have some general questions especially about pigeons or bird planting you can give me a pm and i might be able to help also.
    "Bark,bark,bark,sniff,sniff,bark,and bark" - Lynchs Blue Roan Lynch E.C.K.

  3. #3

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    thanks lynch. This is kinda what Im thinking...if I were to get some birds it wouldn't be a lot maybe a half dozen at a time...I wouldn't think they would need a ton of room maybe a couple sheets of plywood then some chicken wire up top...I'm trying to do this the simple route. I don't plan on keep a lot of birds at one time nor do I plan on keeping them for an extended period of time. I just want to keep my training interesting and the only birds my pup has seen are dead ptarmigan and one crippled. Thanks on the reference at falcon ridge. I'll give him a ring and see what he says. Thanks again for helping me out.

  4. #4
    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    I've got to disagree on the need to heat your coop. I keep pheasant, chuckar and bobwhites year round on the Kenai peninsula with no problems. Last year when we hit -30 for two weeks we had a few problems. Since then we started wraping the bob whites hutch with visqueen and haven't had a problem since. We have the most trouble with spring breakup and the fall rains. All the water causes slop and muck which brings illness to the birds.
    The chuckar and pheasant do best the more room you give them to spread out. Our chuckers/pheasant share a covered run with turkeys. With them it's important they have plenty of room to get away from others when they start fighting. We have a roof to keep the rain and snow off them and wind breaks set up but no actual coop. The bobs do better in the winter if you crowd them so they have more bodies putting off heat in the hutch.
    Of course if you did want to breed them you would have to provide heat and light to trick them into thinking it was spring. We keep a colony of bobs in a heated lit area and they lay year round.

  5. #5

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    thats great news. I failed to mention that I have a shelter in the backyard where I would put the birds. Its covered and has walls but it's not heated. AKBB, do you think I'm some what on track with the size I plan to use considering the few amount of birds I'll have. Thanks again guys.

  6. #6

    Default

    I keep pigeons and ducks through the winter. They hold up very well.
    Outdoor pen with a covered portion. Even have some wood dog houses in there that the ducks use to crowd into when it gets cold. You need good drainage to keep birds dry. I have pea gravel about 2 to 3 inches deep.
    Watering is easy during the winter and I don't use any electric to do so.

  7. #7
    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    I've never raised pigeons so can't say for them. For chuckars I'd want at least 5 sq feet per bird in a run at least 6-8 tall and 15 feet long. Bobs will be fine with 1 sq foot per bird. You may have some problems with flight room. If you want them flight conditioned they need room to practice so they don't kill them selfs popping up into a ceiling. If you don't care about flight conditioning you will want to keep them in a smaller area so they don't try flying and bounce off all the walls. An old rabbit hutch with 1/2 inch wire floor works great.

  8. #8

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    Thanks everyone for the input. Appreciate it

  9. #9
    Member 2jumpersplease's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts on Birds

    We have a heated chicken coop in Fairbanks, but will soon disconnect the heat. Ours has an insulated house so they keep themselves relatively warm but during the day they like to run outside.

    We had a semi-wild quail left over from dog training that was hanging out until late November. It broke into the chicken coop for the last month I was seeing it. My wife was closing the insulated house and sometimes the quail wouldn't go inside i.e. it was sleeping outside in the snow alone in late November in Fairbanks. Sometime in December the quail disappeared.

    Anyhow, I have raised pheasant, quail, and ducks for the dogs. I have also kept adult Chuckar. Each time I got chicks it was in late May/ early June when the feed store got them. This year I will try to get them earlier from another source so I can train before hunting season.

    Chicks will need to be warm, even warmer than your house. Adult birds will huddle together and stay warm unless it gets really cold (sub zero), then you can turn on a space heater or keep them inside at night if you don't have too many.

    You will need to keep their water from freezing or continually bring them unfrozen water.

    Also, I have had poor luck with getting pen raised birds to fly unless warm and sunny, so the birds may not be too useful this time of year (especially Quail).

    Good Luck

  10. #10
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default quail

    I used to buy a box every year about this time from Lynn @ K&L. Strong birds, never sick & good prices back when you could still send them to the P.O. via priority mail.

    We took chicken wire & ran in from the side panels of the deck to the ground & built a hinged gate on the one side, & put the cheap clear plastic sheeting from home depot on the top ( bottom the deck boards) to keep the snow from melting & spring rain from dripping on them all the time. Lined the ground with pea gravel, took a plywood box about the size of dog house flipped it over & cut an entrance into it. Through a couple spruces branches, a bail of straw & kept birds in it year round for a couple yrs. No problems, the dog loved it, the only problem was our bedroom had a window that was right there & in the spring the **** birds would wake you up at sunup. Fixed that by throwing a tarp over the side facing east for a month or so.
    Every once in a while a cat would sneak in the yard to try & grab one through the chiken wire, the dog loves chasing cats & protected the birds because she new they were hers. It could be middle of the night & the birds would start flying, the dog would leap out of bed, up the stairs out the dog door & down the deck in no time.

    If you want birds I would contact them asap or they will already be reserved by April
    K&L QUAIL 26 THOMPSON FLAT RD OROVILLE CA 95965 (530) 534-7139

    Oh yeah & like was mentioned, I found it easiest to run a extension cord to a electric dog bowl to keep water unfrozen in winter.

  11. #11
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    Default

    As AKBB said, we raise chukars, ringneck pheasants, and bobwhites... we have a pen of bobwhites inside, heated to just above freezing to keep a few laying all winter, but there are two more rabbit-hutch-style pens full of birds (on wire) outside with no added heat. They are covered with plastic to cut the winds on the really cold days, but they've been fine all winter. The chukars and pheasants are in the large outdoor run, with the only heat being the heated water base. They hunker down quite well in a huddle-box filled with hay, though most of the pheasants prefer to roost high up in the tree. Last year the pheasants and chukars did quite well in the -30F temps with no extra heat. This year has been mild, but even those times that it dipped to -16F overnight they outside birds did just fine. You won't get any breeding activity, but they overwinter just fine. The trick is to get them early enough in the season that they have a chance to acclimate naturally to the changing temps.

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