Posts Tagged ‘diet’
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
One week ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, and now I sit here blogging. When my colleagues blog, they blog about Brad Pitt or missing clay pigeons, but I am here to blog biology. So, bear with me as I kick off my first blog about of all things, bugs.
What do you like for breakfast?
Personally, I like bacon and eggs with a strong cup of coffee. My wife likes yogurt and cereal. But if you are a pheasant chick, you stretch your fuzzy little wings, peep at your mom “hello” and start looking around for a nice juicy bug. That’s right, a bug.
For the first weeks of its life, a chick’s diet will consist of 90% insects, and for good reason. Insects are very high in protein, and each chick that is born needs to grow and develop as fast as possible to ensure survival. Protein also allows a chick to maintain a constant body temperature; something they struggle with in early life. If the amount of insects in the area decreases, it will take the chick additional days to be able to control its temperature. With all of these variables working against them, it is no wonder that over 20% of spring chicks die within two weeks of hatching.
As a biologist, I am asked this question frequently; “how do I increase the amount of pheasants on my property?”
That’s an easy one, increase the amount of nesting and brood-rearing cover on the landscape. A good nesting mix will have a forb (flower) component, which attracts insects like a magnet. Those “purty” little flowers aren’t just for looks, pheasants depend on them for survival. So next time you are walking through a prairie, just remember flowers equal not only a happy wife, but also pheasants.