And the race is on... That pretty much sums up October. As well as having aviaries at their fullest we have orders leaving us left, right and centre. Phone calls, emails and facebook messages occupy much of the day in between feeding and watering birds and then there are mountains of cardboard boxes to prepare for delivering birds which thankfully the courier will see to for us. We hardly have a minute without work at this time so could not dream of taking birds around the country ourselves. Organization is what is most necessary as without it everything would be disastrous.
When sending birds away with the courier they can be quite a while in transit so they have a water dish in each box and we add some nuts, grain and small pieces of fruit to keep the birds from becoming dehydrated and so that they are not as desperate for food in a brand new environment as they may be without anything for the journey. The birds are usually delivered within 24 hours, sometimes much quicker depending on where they are going. Occasionally it may be up to 30 hours but as long as the birds are in good health and stay hydrated this shouldn't cause any problems. We've had sickening times in the past with couriers who didn't get birds to their destination within this self imposed time limit and, I admit, it was a worry. We rear our birds in the best way we can in the hope they will have a good, contented, life. We do not wish to cause suffering in any way, at any time, including when they leave us for a new home. It has been difficult to find a courier we can trust. We realise transporting live animals is not an easy way to make a living but the animal's welfare has to come first and we will not deal with anyone who cannot get our birds to their destination within a reasonable time. We have been using UK National Bird Couriers (Alan Wells) since 2015 and he has taken excellent care of every bird he has transported for us. Moving birds has, in the past, been the most stressful part of our work but thanks to Alan we can now relax knowing they are in good hands when they leave us.
It's not all about selling birds in October. It's also time to buy in a few new bloodlines where we can find them. I will assume that if you are reading this page I am not the only person who finds the arrival of new birds thrilling. With pheasants it can be a long wait to find new unrelated mates and good quality birds with no "hybrid vigour". It is always a great pleasure to find birds of a high standard and also a breeder who I can recommend and buy from again in the future. For this reason if you have good birds for sale yourself, whether they are the more popular breeds or rarer pheasant species please feel free to get in touch to let us know. It's always nice to hear from other breeders whether you've reared birds for over 30 years or this is the first time. We never stop learning and keeping in touch with many breeders is a great way to do so.
It can be tricky finding the space but it's best to quarantine any new birds for at least a month. It can be a costly mistake finding out your new bird wasn't as healthy as you thought after being introduced to the perfect mate and next door to your best breeders not to mention directly across from the pair of birds you were so excited to buy the previous year who will be due to produce chicks for the first time next season. Sometimes you can learn without needing to make the mistake first. Hindsight may well be helpful but foresight is much better.
October is the ideal time for moving birds. The weather is neither too hot nor too cold (yeah, ok it might seem pretty cold to us weaklings at times but as long as the birds have been reared outdoors for a while they will be perfectly fine in this autumn month). The mature birds will be through their annual moult and of course the hens will not be laying and the cocks will mix easier as they are not quite as territorial by this stage of the year. The young poults are tough and strong by now and at a good size so that travelling will not stress them too much and they will have a good amount of time to establish themselves in a new home before the winter takes hold. Another handy advantage, of buying and selling birds in October, is that as we worm our birds after the breeding season and then again before they have to cope with freezing temperatures we know they will be wormed either shortly before leaving or shortly after arrival. This keeps everything simple and more importantly keeps the birds safe.