The “Thermopylae of nature” the Farming Game in Rethymnon

“This year we will distribute about 16.000 reared partridges to the hunting clubs of Crete” the farm manager responsible for the  Farming  Game, Division of the Forestry of  Rethymnon, Haritos Sifakakis referred to an interview to “In-On” magazine.
The breeding farm was created in 1993- he continued –to supply the hunting clubs of Crete and Dodecanese in order to protect the extinction of the partridges. It has to be noted that this year the breeding farm of Rethymnon alone functions all over Greece because other breeding farms are not able to produce game due to the economical crisis.
Question: Will the hunting clubs of Crete and Dodecanese be supplied with partridges today?
Answer: Unfortunately, we will supply game only the 22 hunting clubs of Crete because production has been reduce due to the economical crisis and every hunting club will get about 700 partridges. At this point, it has to be reminded that during hunting period that is going to start on January 2012 the partridges of 2010 will be hunted since this year’s game will be placed in the clubs’ special machines for three months before they are set free to be hunted in 2013.
Question:  Why is it forbidden to hunt this year’s game?
Answer: The birds must be detoxified from the drugs that have been fed through animal feed in order to reach the hunter’s table. More specifically, a year is needed in the natural habitat for the game to be adjusted regarded its diet.
Question: How is the partridge bred?
Answer: We take 1.500 male and female partridges and put each pair in hatcheries in each cage. The partridges are monogamous and mate mainly in January. Then, we take the eggs and place them in the incubators. This procedure lasts for 21 days. After that, we put them in the hatcheries where the eggs break and the chicks come out. We collect the chicks and put them in the breeding chambers. These are special close chambers where there is heat and food.  Finally, we put the chicks in chambers adjusted to the natural environment and 65 days later we give them to the hunting clubs.
Question: How is the partridge reproduced?
Answer: In the natural context the partridge lays each time 25 eggs while in the breeding farm it lays from 80 to 100 eggs thanks to the diet. The feeding of the game is produced in the breeding farm while the raw materials are bought from the Rethymnon Cooperative. The raw materials are corn, wheat and soya.
Question: How much food do partridges need in to produce?
Answer: Annually, they consume 50-55 tons. The food costs 22.000 Euros and the medicines cost 9.000Euros.
Question: How was the breeding farm created?
Answer: It was founded in 1993 and the eggs were collected from the nature. In 1995, production started with the first 4.000 birds.
Question: Why does only this breeding farm work?
Answer: Animal feed is very expensive and the breeding farms are not stuffed with appropriate number of employees due to the economic crisis. There have to be 11 workers in total. The Forestry Department in Rethymnon leaned over the problem for the protection of the environment and hired six seasonal employees and five permanent employees transferred from other departments. The breeding farm operates from January till August. It closes in October.

Source of publication  15th edition In-On

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