The Chukar Partridge is an excellent training bird, they are strong flyers even when young. We have recalled ours over ½mile and they were simple to train to use the return funnel. Feed medicated turkey feed and medicated water. Permits may be needed to keep chukar in some locations.
On the recall pen design shown above, there is a wire floor on both the top and bottom pens, there is two foot square opening in the wire joiningthe two pens. We keep the feed and grit in the bottom half, and the water in the top half, that way the birds have to get regular exercise from the short flight to the top pen. Another way todesign this recall palace would be two separate side by side pens, that way you could have two adult coveys andalternate them in the field, but they wouldn't get a daily flight as they would with the up/down design.
In some areas, Chukar are prone to soil borne bacteria, and must be kept off the ground as muchas possible. The medicated feed and water will help with problems such as this, especiallyduring training, when the birds are under stress.
Male Chukar are typically larger than the hens, markings are similar so they are difficult todifferentiate when young.
We purchase 6-8 week old chicks from a gamebird hatchery and raise them in a group. That way they have a tolerence for each other. Once your birds have formed a strong covey, begin with soft flushes from the recall pen... just open the top or bottom door and let a few of them hop out and stay in the area of the pen (remember to always leave a member of the covey or two inside the recall pen). The recalling chukar will run around the pen trying to get back to the still captive covey members and they will eventually learn to walk through the funnel. Once you have them recalling well, you can then do more dynamic releases with the birds flying away to cover. After they are used to recalling from a greater distance you can start transporting them away from the pen area for training.
Chukar can be very vicious to birds that are not in their own covey. Don't try to introduce new birds into the covey once the covey chukar are adult as your covey will already be established and they will kill the newcomer. A strong covey will recall for a longer distance, and even if you only leave one bird in the pen. Usually by the end of the season we have about 10 of the 20 birds left because of foxes, hawks and other predators that the chukar come across while they are recalling.
We usually do a release from the pen in the morning, train pups on the birds and they are back by noon for another release. The more frequently you release and work dogs on your birds the smarter, healthier and stronger your chukar will be. Even if you don't plan to work with your release chukar, let them out of the pen once a day - That way they can get exercise and eat natural foods.