UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The production of non-traditional poultry in British Columbia and the introduction of a new poultry species Kermode, Diane


The purpose of this thesis was to examine and evaluate the potential for the domestication and commercialization of the partridge tinamou (Nothoprocta perdicaria) as a new poultry species. The development of non-traditional animals and crops and their products are becoming an integral component of agriculture. Competition for an international market is changing the dynamics of food production in British Columbia. Diversification and niche marketing are requiring producers to re-evaluate the types of crops and animal products produced. The tinamou are birds native to Central and South America and are prized by hunters as one of the finest game birds because of their tasty, all white meat carcass. The exploitation of several species of tinamou was once of enormous proportions and as a result many species of tinamou are now becoming rare in the wild. Until recently, the domestication for commercial production of the tinamou has not been successful. The research was inter-disciplinary in nature and consisted of two experiments (feed trial and housing studies) as well as two surveys (industry and market studies). The research has demonstrated that the partridge tinamou can be successfully reproduced and reared under indoor conditions. At the onset of the study in 1993, the University of British Columbia (U.B.C.) tinamou breeding flock consisted of 8 females and a total of 52 chicks were hatched. At the conclusion of the study (1995) the breeding flock consisted of 213 females and a total of 2,314 chicks were hatched. The study showed that the partridge tinamou does not require specialized equipment, facilities or feeds to reproduce and thrive. Modified nest boxes along with traditional poultry equipment and management techniques are used, thereby lessening capital expenditures. The objective of the feed trial was to compare the performance of young tinamou fed a 21% protein turkey grower diet with those fed a 17% protein turkey finisher diet. The results of the study indicated that although the asymptotic weight of the birds fed the two diets were not significantly different, the growth pattern of the birds was dissimilar. Birds fed the 21% protein grower diet grew faster before week 8 and were significantly heavier at week 8 than the birds fed the 17% protein finisher diet. The study concluded that the 21% protein turkey grower diet was suitable for tinamou growth. The surveys have indicated that the B.C. game bird industry has good growth potential. Increased consumer, restaurant and retail demand for game birds (squab, silkies, quail, partridge and pheasants) has been fueled by the growing ethnic and Asian populations. The popularity in the ethnic community for non-traditional (as far as North America is concerned) poultry may provide a niche market for the partridge tinamou. The uniqueness of the all white meat carcass caters to the exotic tastes of the Asian restaurant and retail markets. The low fat content of the carcass provides a healthy low fat poultry alternative for the North American and European markets. The successful production and commercialization of the partridge tinamou is dependent on technical advances in tinamou nutrition and management. An effective marketing strategy will ensure a competitive edge for the partridge tinamou in the B.C. game bird industry.

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