There is an ever increasing demand for game bird meat by upscale restaurants and by game preserves for restocking. What breeds of game birds you will raise depends solely on the market you develop in advance.
There are many different ways you can be in the game bird business. You can breed game birds, selling eggs, day old chicks, raising some to maturity for the meat trade and for restocking preserves. There are many varieties within the different game bird families to choose from. If you prefer not to be a breeder you can buy the eggs and hatch the chicks yourself or buy day old chicks from a hatchery to raise to maturity.
As an example of what your game bird business can grow into, there is a game bird ranch in Oklahoma that sells more than 2,000 Quail eggs and 50,000 Quail chicks annually plus they raise another 1,000 Pheasants per year. From their Chukar Partridge they sell more than 25,000 eggs, 2,000 chicks and raise about 4,000 to maturity annually.
Current prices of some of the birds they raise are as follows: Quail (10-16 weeks old) range from $2 - $3 each. Dressed Pheasants $ 3.25 to $ 4.00 per pound, mature Ringneck Pheasants $8.50 each, Chukar Partridge for $6.50 each, Junglefowl day old chicks $6 each, Guinea day old chicks $2.25 each and Peacock day old chicks $20.00 each.
If you decided you would like to go into the game bird business and depending on which aspect of the business you're interested in it is impossible to determine what buildings and runs you would need. With day old chicks you would need a brooder house with out door runs so when they got a little older they could go outside in warm weather.
To give you an idea of how much room you will need for your birds ---- you can raise about 2,000 Pheasants to maturity on 1 acre of land. Up to 4,000 Quail or Partridge can be raised on 1 acre.
Another factor that needs to be considered when deciding if raising game birds interests you is labor. It is extremely labor intensive and requires someone's constant attention or your birds could die.
It doesn't matter what you do, if you intend to make this a business you need to do a business plan. A business plan will help insure your success and possibly identify other options you could incorporate into your operation. You will definitely need one to give to your lender if you're planning to finance any part of your operation. If you need help doing a business plan Click on Business Plan to go directly to the 'How to Put Together a Business Plan' located on AgriHelp. It takes you step by step through the entire process
Look in the county section of your phone book for the number, of your local farm advisor, of the University of (your state) Cooperative Extension. If you can't find this listing, in the same section, look for the number of the Agricultural Commissioner as they will be able to give you the number.
The service of the farm advisor is free and he/she should be able to help you with the information you need or refer you to someone at the university who can. Since you have or are planning to build an agriculture type operation these contacts will be very valuable to you. It is also possible they could suggest other niche markets, in your area, that you could successfully add to your operation.
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