There are many reasons that a person might want to adopt a supplemental feeding program, but first let's establish what we mean when we use the term "supplemental feeding". Supplemental feeding is when a person provides a food source to wildlife that otherwise wouldn't have been available. The most common type of supplemental feeding is distribution of corn feed through spin, gravitational or bulk feeders. There are three primary reasons that people adopt a supplemental feeding program:
- Build and Retain a Wildlife Population
- Supply Nutrition When Natural Sources Are Scarce
- Bait Wildlife For Hunting
Supplemental Feeding For Deer
As a wildlife manager, supplemental feeding during the harsh winter months and dry summer months helps to keep wildlife on your property when they would otherwise go elsewhere in search of natural forage. Providing a good protein source with a balance of minerals and vitamins is essential to maintaining good body condition, improved health and most importantly to maximize antler development during periods of growth.
The benefits of supplemental feeding along with proper management have improved the overall deer herd in Texas dramatically, and baiting deer is as much of a tradition in Texas as it is a tool in hunting. In Oklahoma, we manage a 50,000-acre ranch and outfit for quail, deer and turkey hunts. Supplemental feeding is one of our most important management tools in the development of our trophy deer program and crucial to the winter survival of our quail.
Supplemental Feeding For Quail and Turkey
When possible it is better to supplemental feed quail by establishing feed lanes throughout your property. Feeders often attract predators such as bobcat and coyotes that will hunt feeders to ambush quail while they are feeding. By establishing feed lanes you can give quail more areas to feed and allow them to fill their craws more quickly, thus limiting their exposure to predation. If you have to feed by using established feeders, it is best to position your feeders near heavy cover or build a brush pile around the feeder.
Studies have shown that a consistent feeding program increases winter survival of quail and improves brooding success. This is especially important in late winter when natural food sources are most scarce. Studies from the Tall Timbers Reserch Station support this. The charts below illustrate the results from testing the effects of supplemental feeding Bobwhite Quail.
Source: Tall Timbers Research Station
Count is a relative figure to the population in the first year measured. For example, a 1.2 count means the population is 1.2 times the population of the original year. There are two important things to note from this study's results. First is that the population that had the supplemental feed consistently had a relatively higher population than the unfed test group. The second thing to note is the increasing difference in population over time. With relatively higher populations, there are more breeding quail, and thus a greater rate of population growth. This means that supplemental feeding can become more effective over time when implemented for extend periods of time.
Peas Plus is rich in beta carotene and other vitamins that are essential in the brooding and mating success of wild quail. Most importantly they are free of toxins that corn and other grains are susceptible to. Aflatoxin has been proven to cause liver damage and lower the immune system of quail making them more susceptible to disease and predation.
Turkeys love black-eyed peas and protein is an essential part of their diet. In areas where mass is not abundant, black-eyed peas are an excellent source of protein and also provide additional nutrients that are necessary to maintaining a balanced diet. This is especially important in the late winter months where protein sources are limited, including areas where there are mass producing trees.
Procedures For Using Peas PlusDownload the "Procedure For Using Peas Plus" Flyer
Black-eyed peas have an extremely long shelf life if kept dry. Store all feed in a dry and varmint proof environment. Peas Plus can be used in spin, gravitational or bulk feeders. In addition to feeders, Peas Plus is great for supplemental feeding on roads and feed trails. Before using this product, remove all remnants of old feed from your feeders, as well as any molded feed on the ground around your feeder. If you notice any mold or suspect that you have had aflatoxin tainted feed in your feeder, we recommend that you clean the feeder with a power washer or wipe it with water and bleach. Allow feeder to dry thoroughly before filling.
How to Introduce Peas Plus to Your Deer
Sometimes it takes deer a little time to become accustomed to an unfamiliar feed, especially if range conditions are in good shape. If you have been using other deer feed or have been baiting deer with grain, you may need to gradually introduce the new feed to your deer. Try mixing Peas Plus with a product the deer are already accustomed to. Experiment with the ration, but a mix of 50-50 is usually a good start. Monitor your feeders, and as you refill the feeders, reduce the amount of the other product until the deer are eating an entire ration of Peas Plus. Hunters who have followed this process tell us: “once the deer are on the peas they stay on the peas, even when offered corn, acorns or other deer attractants.”
Using Peas Plus Exclusively in Spin Feeders to Bait Deer
Peas Plus is a blend of whole and split black-eyed peas. A whole black-eyed pea, although shaped differently, is basically the same volume as an average kernel of corn. The mix of both splits with whole peas reduces the total volume of the product when dispensed. It is recommended that you raise your spin caster up to the level where the peas are just visible in the feeder trough. This will reduce the amount of peas dispersed as well as prevent the peas from further splitting. Set your timer to feed just a few seconds for no more than twice a day. Monitor the deer activity and adjust your ration appropriately. There will always be some small splits left on the ground that the deer will not be able to pick up. Quail and turkey love black-eyed peas, and the small splits made available will provide them with a safe and highly nutritional supplement as well. Remember that Peas Plus is a rich feed. It is much more nutritional than corn or other deer attractants; therefore, less volume is needed when feeding.
What to Do if Feed Piles Up on the Ground
If you are having problems with Peas Plus or any other wildlife feed piling up under the feeder, you need to remove the old feed and adjust your feeding. Although Peas Plus is not susceptible to toxins like corn and other small grains, it will sour like any feed product if it remains wet and exposed to the elements. Sour or spoiled feed will detract deer and most other wildlife. It is important to rake up the old feed from under the feeder and remove it from the area. Once you have removed the old feed, follow the procedures recommended by reducing the amount and times you feed, and if necessary, mix Peas Plus with what your deer are accustomed to eating.
Our Commitment to the Hunting Community
We want your feedback. If you have questions, comments or suggestions please feel free to contact us directly. Peas Plus was founded by two wildlife biologists. We believe in the product because it has produced excellent results for us. We feed it exclusively on our ranches in Texas and Oklahoma. We know that when it comes to managing wildlife, nothing is magical or universally the same. We believe Peas Plus is a safe and superior alternative feed that will not only improve your deer herd, but increase the overall welfare of your wildlife. For further information, recent articles and updates visit us at PeasPlus.com and follow us on Twitter: @PeasPlus.