Ex layers- Worth bothering with or not?

Jimbob39

Active Member
A subject I’ve had no dealings with before. Are they worth considering to boost numbers or not waste money on them?
 

Goingback

Well-Known Member
Keep the foxes happy as they have lost the knack of going up to roost. Keep your neighbouring shoots happy when wandering and trying to find home. That said, they work for some
 

old keeper

Well-Known Member
Depends a lot on where you put them. I have seen shoots where they have turned out well, but as has been said they do wander. If your shoot covers a couple of thoussand acres wandering isn't a problem.
If you have a small isolated shoot with plenty of cover they are probably worth a go if you get them cheap enough.
 

BigPat

Well-Known Member
In my experience there are positives and negatives...

On the positive side, they are cheap (sometimes free) they boost numbers on the ground and despite what I hear, I have found that if you put them into a covered pen for a few weeks they do hold ok.

On the negative side, they can come with disease so they need to be kept separate from your main birds so you can treat them without putting everything at risk. They tend to be lazy and not keen to fly or roost (sometimes the flight feathers need to recover) so mortality rate is high from predators etc ( another reason to use covered pens for them).

If you plan things right you can get your main birds early and the ex-layers late so they don’t cross over by much if at all.
 

stalker.308

Well-Known Member
In my experience there are positives and negatives...

On the positive side, they are cheap (sometimes free) they boost numbers on the ground and despite what I hear, I have found that if you put them into a covered pen for a few weeks they do hold ok.

On the negative side, they can come with disease so they need to be kept separate from your main birds so you can treat them without putting everything at risk. They tend to be lazy and not keen to fly or roost (sometimes the flight feathers need to recover) so mortality rate is high from predators etc ( another reason to use covered pens for them).

If you plan things right you can get your main birds early and the ex-layers late so they don’t cross over by much if at all.
agree with the above. When we did ex layers some years ago, covered pen worked well, let them recover. We had good returns on them.
 

The fourth Horseman

Well-Known Member
I only ever put ex layers out when they were off my own ground. The shoot next door put them out and most of them are on our ground in a week or two.
We don't feed as we are purely wild birds so they are not being drawn by grub. It's easy to distinguish them as they always buy in very light coloured birds.
 

GWP

Well-Known Member
I buy exlay and put them in a covered pen so that they can recover then dribble them out let the cocks out when you get them they will hang about if you put perches in the birds will use them and as a bonus possibly a few eggs they allso dont go off in mobs like poults. Dave
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
We tried some a few times and as others say had mixed results. Bottom line is that they need time in a pen to recover and re-feather. By which time you hope they are so happy and content with the TLC you've shown them that they don't all sod off to pastures greener. If you do get them tag them so for the record you can see if your investment was a good return or a bad idea. Even if you don't tag your usual birds do tag these. As if you don't tag them you'll never really know the true "scores on the doors". And FWIW they casserole or if roasted to keep them moist do eat better than younger birds.
 

GWP

Well-Known Member
Tagging is a good idea as it will give a better idea of spread and returns we tagged for a few years and on one boxing days shoot was very surprised to find birds wth five consecutive years tags so you never know what your gonna get. Dave
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
Must admit I've never bothered with ex layer pheasants and after hearing the stories wouldn't bother.
By the time u keep them all summer and the money it costs n feed would go towards the extra for poults.
My old head keeper always used to say never scrimp on quality birds or quality off feed, and he knew his stuff.
Also u still have to do a lot off the same work checking birds every day if in a roofed pen, not a case of just opening crates up and letting them go.

I would say the same as some others about roofed pens etc but I'd also add some off the shots that claim to do really well also happen to boundry so big shoots. Have heard off folk claiming to shoot 60, 80 or even 100% and praising the ex layers ( or poults for that matter) n reality they probably shoot similar bags not releasing any birds
U do really need to tag/ring them to be sure

I have tried ex layer grey partridge, thought being in a roofed pen they should be ideal and worth a punt, bloody terrible never seen them again quite literally.
2 years on the trot too.
Usually grey partridge poults done really well and held well.
 

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