- Hyers, Robert
A study was made of the effects of eight winter rations upon penned ring-necked pheasants during a Maine winter and, (2) to determine the possible effects of inadequate diets upon reproduction. The chemical composition of the rations, a chemical analysis of eighteen common wild seeds and fruits in the vicinity of Orono, and a review of the literature pertaining to pheasant nutrition were presented. The criteria for determining the value of each ration were body weights of the birds, their general behavior, and reproduction. The effects upon reproduction were measured by egg production and fertility.
It was found that three of the winter rations produced very satisfactory results (Unity Feed, scratch feed, and turkey grower); two others were suitable, although not as good as the above (corn, and ration 2); and three were unsatisfactory except in emergencies of short duration (sumac, apple, and ration 3). Two ounces of either Unity Feed or turkey grower provided sufficient nutrients to maintain a pheasant for one day. A feed with a protein level of 20 to 26 percent, a fat level of 3 percent, and a carbohydrate level of 50 to 55 percent was ideal.
Balanced rations were reflected in the rate of egg production; pheasants fed a good ration began laying at an earlier date and laid more eggs than did birds on poor rations. Rations upon which pheasants successfully winter are not necessarily adequate for reproduction.