Gray partridge bird: description and photo
For a long time, the favorite trophy of many hunters was the gray partridge. Today, this bird, the meat of which is considered a real delicacy, is increasingly bred at home.
This small resident bird of the pheasant family is a close relative of common domestic chickens, being inferior in size. The body of the partridge has a rounded shape and does not exceed 35 cm in length, the weight ranges from 350 to 600 grams.
The color of the plumage and the size of the birds may differ depending on the terrain of the gray partridge.Description of the appearance of the male and female is very similar - the plumage of gray with a scattering of transverse dark specks and brown stripes on the sides. Their coloring at first glance is almost the same, but there are still some features. An important distinctive feature can be considered a large brown spot located on the male's chest. In the female, it appears with age, but it looks smaller and much paler.Its plumage is darker, and its tail becomes almost red in summer. Males are larger than females. The color of the gray partridge does not change during the year.
The gray partridge lives in the southern regions of Russia, as well as in many European countries - in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, etc. Meadows, ravines covered with shrubs, fields are the main places where this bird prefers to settle. You can meet her in the swampy places, if there are trees with islets rising above the water. Avoiding a dense forest, the partridge settles on the edges of the forest, in small groves, everywhere where there are bushes that provide these birds with a reliable shelter from enemies.
A feature of the gray partridge is their attachment to one place of residence. Favorite territory becomes for them a permanent place of residence. Here they feed, build nests, hatch chicks, which, in turn, spend their entire lives right there.
Habits and behaviors
The gray partridge spends most of its life on earth. Photos of these birds, captured in flight, is rare.Although they fly pretty well, they prefer to flee from their enemies.A good disguise is the gray color of birds, thanks to which they blend well with the surrounding terrain. These birds are able to perfectly hide, using any deepening in the soil. A surprising feature of the partridges is their ability to swim. Sometimes you can see how, fleeing from enemies, they easily swim over the reservoir with a whole brood.
The gray partridge is a very intelligent and cautious bird that can sense the approaching danger from a distance. These birds are quite peaceful. Only in situations where you have to defend your territory and nest, can males encounter in a fight. But on the other hand, these self-sacrificing birds are capable of taking under their wing alien chicks, which for some reason are orphaned. Partridges are very good and caring parents, carefully guarding brood.
Chicks in partridges may be more than two dozen, all of them of different ages. The reason is that the female lays only one egg per day, immediately starting to incubate.
In flocks, these birds gather only closer to winter, and with the onset of spring they break up into pairs again.
These include almost all four-legged predators, including stray dogs and cats. They systematically comb through meadows and steppes, looking for nests where they can profit from eggs and nestlings. Partridges and birds of prey are constantly pursued. Hawks, kites, crows, sparrow hunters hunt both young and adult partridges.
Another danger poachers poaching birds using a variety of prohibited methods. For these reasons, the gray partridge is today on the verge of extinction. The red book does not yet include these birds in its list, but hunting organizations should organize measures for the protection of partridges.
Features breeding at home
Catching partridges are engaged in order to obtain dietary food - eggs and meat. There are no particular difficulties with this, since these birds easily adapt to new conditions of housing and are rather unpretentious. They have very good immunity and can tolerate even cold. But from infectious diseases are still not insured.
Danger lurks them from the side of predators.To protect the partridges from the hawk, the kite and others who want to feast on tender meat, it is imperative to create a protective shelter in the form of an open-air cage or shrubs planted on the site.
Requirements for the room
Home cultivation of a gray partridge assumes obligatory arrangement of the suitable room. Its size should correspond to the number of birds contained. So, for one square meter of them should not be more than three pieces. For an overnight stay, an enclosed space is usually equipped (barn, log cabin). The floor is covered with straw and all the cracks are carefully filled, since the gray partridge is very sensitive to drafts. Under the ceiling, it is worthwhile to stretch the net, because, while flying, birds can hit the wooden flooring and get injured.
Like all other birds, partridges love fresh air. Therefore, the presence of high enclosures covered with a grid is required. Inside them are placed bushes, arranged sheaves, Christmas trees, which will serve the birds as a shelter. In order to be able to hide from the weather, make a small canopy, closed on one side. In the aviary should be drinking bowls, feeders, containers with sand.
Being accustomed in the wild to a certain type of food, the gray partridge at home requires a slightly different feed than the rest of the bird.
The diet of these birds depends largely on the time of year. So, in the winter period it is considered the most suitable mixture consisting of grain feed (25 g), vegetables, such as carrots, cabbage (9 g), minced meat or cottage cheese (2 g) with the addition of vitamins and mineral supplements. Partridges are very fond of berries lingonberries, mountain ash, viburnum. Therefore you should take care and stock them up for the winter.
A month before the birds start laying eggs, they are transferred to a special diet intended for the breeding period. It includes more carrots, herbs, vitamins. In addition, fish and meat and bone meal, fodder yeast, chalk or shells are added to the feed. Twice a month, dilute water to a light pink color with potassium permanganate.
It is necessary to feed the birds 2 times a day - in the morning and after lunch. The amount of feed should be so much that it is eaten without residue, otherwise its qualities will be lost. Approximately 30 g per day is eaten by one bird. The gray partridge is not very willing to eat boiled potatoes, beets, barley grains, oats, as well as wheat bread.Feeders should be placed under a canopy, sheltering them from the sun and rain.
Partridge starts laying eggs in May. The egg is usually up to 33 mm long, has a pear-shaped shape and is colored greenish-brown. Prepare the nest in advance from an old basket or a high box with a size of 30x30 cm, so that the chicks subsequently could not jump out of it. The bottom is covered with straw or hay. It is necessary to install such a nest in a dry, ventilated room, where all the cracks and openings through which rats, cats or ferrets can penetrate are pre-filled.
The period of incubation of chicks from 21 to 24 days continues. Chicks are born very independent, immediately begin to explore the world, starting to run, barely having time to dry.
A day after all the chicks hatch, they are transplanted together with the mother into a cage consisting of two compartments. In one place the hen with chicks, and the other, in the form of a cage covered with a grid without a bottom, is used to carry the chicks out into the street when the weather permits. The cage is set among low grass, enabling the birds to grow in conditions as close as possible to natural ones.They are learning to independently look for insects, worms and other food. On hot days, the cage must be shaded from the sun.
The menu for chicks on the first day of life consists of a hard-boiled yolk, with the addition of finely chopped green nettle, cabbage, dandelion and yarrow to the second feeding. The next day, add some white bread in the form of crumbs to this mixture. Gradually, the diet includes ground lean meat, fresh cottage cheese, gruel of eggs and milk. Ant eggs are very helpful. They feed babies at least twice a day.
A month later, when the chicks mature and can already fly, they are separated from the hen.