The importance of water – rearing game birds

Is the recent spell of hot weather this Easter a sign of another hot summer to come? The importance of water becomes imperative as the temperatures go up.

We had much warmer weather last year than expected and we spoke to many Gamekeepers that were not happy to pass on their day olds or poults to shoots without them having made suitable provisions for supplying enough clean drinking water.

We have to learn from what we know and it is definitely a good idea to prepare for another warm summer. In 2018 grouse suffered from water shortage on the moors and pheasant and partridge wandered looking for water.

“All gamebirds must have access to adequate supplies of clean, fresh drinking water at all times”

DEFRA Code of Practice

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We often hear about providing enough food to stop birds from wandering, but last year it was the shoots that watered their birds and drives that did particularly well.

There is a large variety of drinkers on the market to suit all stages of game bird development. Food and water consumption are vital in the first few days of a chicks life so it is extremely important that they have easy access to uncontaminated water and crumb.

For day olds in the brooder house you will mainly find that automatic floor drinkers or nipple drinkers are the most common choices. Nipple lines are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a ‘closed’ water system which can be easily cleaned and sanitised.

Whatever system you decide to use in the release pens it is a good idea to introduce the birds to it on the rearing field. Automatic bell type hanging drinkers are the most popular choice such as the Watermaster or BEC75 drinkers.

Release of 6-8 week old pheasant poults will usually be completed in July or early August. Newly released pheasants can easily get lost in a big pen and sources of food and water are critically important. If you are using an automatic drinking system in the release pen it is also a good idea to have a few hand filled drinkers in those harder to reach places so that your birds can easily find a source of drinking water.

Once you have your drinkers organised don’t neglect drinking water hygiene. A large number of chicks/poults share the same drinking water which can lead to a rapid spread of disease. Water sanitisers are essential for good biosecurity and water hygiene. Use CID Clean to ensure lines are clean and prevent biofilm build while the birds in. CID Clean is safe for the birds to drink in a diluted form.

Make your life easier by installing a Dosatron unit directly in to the water supply line. The water flow acts as the power source and the Dosatron will take up the required percentage of concentrate directly from the water sanitiser container.

“By installing a Dosatron unit and using CID Clean water sanitiser, it makes it easy to supply the cleanest water possible to my birds”

Robert, Dorset Gamekeeper.

Recommended and popular products:

  • CID CLEAN – biodegradable sanitiser for water systems including tanks, pipe lines and drinkers. Removes slime deposits (biofilm), removes traces of medicaments & vitamins, effective against bacteria, fungi & algae.
  • T20 Floor Drinker – automatic drinker suitable for up to 150 chicks with an adjustable float to regulate the depth of water.
  • Watermaster 2E Hanging Drinker – by far the most popular drinker we supply – these drinkers are designed to be used from a separate header tank; they are gravity fed and adjustable.
  • 30 ltr Tripod Drinker – hand filled drinker, these drinkers are designed to endure the toughest conditions on shoots and poultry farms.


Contact the team for help with your rearing season equipment order. 01308 485422


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