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<P>Bugs are the fuel these little bodies need to grow. Chicks chow down on bugs almost exclusively their first 4-6 weeks, feeding almost constantly throughout the day. Insects continue to be an important, but smaller component of the diet through 14 weeks. What types of bugs are eaten? Soft bodied ones where possible. Leafhoppers, and larval stages of moths and grasshoppers make up a large part of the diet. research has shown that pheasant chicks think bigger is better, selecting the largest bugs first from a variety of sizes presented to them. The management challenge with brood habitat is to provide the best cover possible for those insects, so that more of them are produced for brood food. Chicks consume from 1000 to 2,700 milligrams of bugs per day, so they need a cover that produces a high insect&nbsp;biomass(oats/sweet clover can produce 500 mg of insects per square meter). Pheasant broods forced to range over large areas have a reduced rate of survival(corn or beans are an&nbsp;example,where insect biomass is low, or about 40-50 mg/square meter). Single species stands of native(eg.switchgrass) or cool-season grass(eg.bromegrass) are also poor producers of insects. Adding forbs(broadleaf perennials or annuals) to these grasses increases diversity of habitat, and insects. This bit of info comes courtesy of Jim Wooley, Senior wildlife biologist with Pheasants Forever.</P>
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