IGPCT abstract excepted for IUGB conference

June 12, 2011 0 Comment

The Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust has recently submitted an abstract for a conference, which will be hosted by the International Union of Game Biologist (IUGB).

The title of the abstract Successful techniques used in the captive breeding of wild grey partridge in Ireland, has been accepted by the conference Scientific Committee, under methodologies, models and techniques.

The IGPCT is greatful for the support of the National Grey Partridge Conservation Project.


Title : Every partridge counts – successful techniques used in the captive breeding of wild grey partridge in Ireland
Kieran BUCKLEY, Paddy KELLY, John WALSH, Brendan KAVANAGH and Conor O’GORMAN, Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust, Cromwellstown, Kilteel, Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland email: info@irishgreypartridge.com

Between 1998 and 2001 the last remaining wild grey partridge population in Ireland faced imminent extinction with only 4-6 pairs left, and an autumn population of 22-24 birds. In 2010 the population had recovered to 55 pairs and an autumn population of 921 birds. Traditional game management methods of predator control and habitat provision in a project site of 12,000 hectares has played an important role in that recovery.

However, the focus of our paper is to explain how we have successfully used traditional game keeping methods using grey partridge from the wild population to aid the recovery. Annually a variable number of grey partridge are trapped from the wild, and these are allowed to pair naturally with other wild origin birds overwintered in outdoor pens within the project site. Each pair is then placed in their own breeding pen.

Within this pen the natural breeding process begins with nest construction, laying and incubation of eggs, hatching and brood rearing. After several weeks the pair and their chicks are released into optimal brood-rearing habitats within the project site. We use many other traditional but long forgotten techniques to ensure that every partridge counts in this recovery project. These will be explained in the presentation.

The captive breeding programme began in 2002 with two pairs of grey partridge. They were released with a resulting 10 juveniles. In 2010 we had 32 pairs producing 510 chicks of which 436 survived as juveniles. This represents an 85.5% chick survival rate. In 2010 one hen laid and incubated 27 eggs and she hatched out 27 chicks, which may be a world record for partridge and indeed for any bird species.

The techniques we use are traditional and labour intensive but they work. We recommend that other grey partridge recovery projects should consider captive breeding to compliment other game management methods used.