Why Birds Love Wandering and How to Prevent it?

How to stop birds wandering? A question keepers have most likely been asking themselves for generations! And, with the emphasis on end of season returns more important than ever due to increasing prices of feed, fuel, cost per bird and much more, it is a question worth knowing the answer to.

“Dogging in” is arguably one of the most important times of the year for shoots. It is the time of the year when all of the hard work since early February can go to waste. Ideally, pheasants will be in the pens for around 4 weeks, this gives them plenty of time to “home” in; which plays a very important part when you come to shoot the drives later in the year.

After around the 3-4-week stage, birds will be here, there and everywhere. Like anything they grow, and naturally want to spread out. This is where the frustration really begins. Dogging in is going to be your main port of call to keep birds where you want them, using a dog is great, but not initially. You need to train the birds by walking them back to where they need to be or as close as you can. Using a dog straight away will cause the birds to fly and become disorientated.

Reasons for wandering?

  • Looking for natural forage, such as acorns and daddy long legs
  • Inquisitive nature
  • Competition in pens (Need to spread out)
  • Constant noise or disturbance
  • Bird of prey burden
  • Looking for water

Ways to help reduce wandering birds and improve end of season returns:

  • Dogging in
  • Walking boundaries in
  • Keeping the “middle” of the shoot quiet
  • Correct habitat
  • Feeding Maize / Holding mixes
  • Good game cover
  • Pens located in good woodland with plenty of brambles/undergrowth
  • Not shooting drives too hard/Give drives plenty of rest!

At Keepers Choice, we supply a range of holding mixes that will help you increase your returns. Mix with wheat or feed sparingly on its own, on feed rides or at leak points around your shot.

For more information on our holding mixes – please contact the office on 01489 780033.

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