*** NATURAL RESOURCES COMMISSION POLICY ***
2107 - BIRDS
- FEEDING OF GAME BIRDS IN WINTER
Issued January 1, 1977
BIRDS - FEEDING OF GAME BIRDS IN WINTER
Artificial feeding of game birds is a questionable practice at best, and once feeding has started it must continue until the emergency has passed. Experiments have shown that pheasants can go without food for at least two weeks in zero weather with few adverse affects so it is likely that they will survive most emergency situations in Michigan. Artificial feeding near highways results in increased highway kill and the feeding will attract predators. Quail on the other hand can live only about four days without food in zero weather, however, caution should be used in attempting to feed them. Cracked or whole corn is best and should be offered near adequate cover as predators will be attracted. Wild turkeys are very hardy and feeding is not generally helpful, except possibly in getting the birds first established.
The Department does not favor nor recommend a winter feeding program for established species of upland game birds, under normal winter conditions. Should catastrophic conditions arise, emergency measures will be considered. Supplemental feeding of a recently introduced species may be carried out but not beyond the time the species is considered to be established. If feeding is started under emergency conditions, it must be continued until the emergency passes.
Procedure is contained in Wildlife Division manual - No. 13.