Chicken and duck breeder, Carterton, NZ

“Well it’s the best, it’s pretty simple.”

That’s Wairarapa chicken and duck breeder Melvin Pike’s response when asked, why Sharpes?

With a menagerie of about 200 birds, including all sorts of ducks and chickens (some 48 different breeds of them) as well as pheasants and quail, he should know.

Melvin is the President of the Wairarapa A&P Society, the Wairarapa Poultry Club, the North Island Waterfowl Association and the North Island Poultry Association.

As well as breeding and showing his own ducks, he cares for native ducks that need rehabilitation before being released back into the wild. At the time of our visit there is a Paradise duck that has been hit by a car.

The ducks are fed the Sharpes Duck pellet, while the native ducks have a special pellet that is higher in protein. “Nutrition is very important. If you don’t have proper feed you don’t get the fertility. Also egg numbers, if they’re not fed high enough protein they won’t lay many eggs. I rear about 300 a year. I also feed them whole maize, which I get from Sharpes too.”

With such large numbers of birds, coccidiosis in chicks can be a problem, and Sharpes Chick Crumbles contain a coccidistat to combat this, which is an added bonus.

The chickens are fed the Sharpes pellets and nutrition wise, it’s the same as ducks – high quality nutrition helps with fertility and egg numbers.

“It’s like any stock, it’s pretty simple, high quality nutrition is important. If you feed them crap, you don’t get fertility and eggs.

“When they’re breeding, they need to be kept separate, and in cages, to keep stud lines and ensure there’s no cross breeding. The minerals they would normally get from the ground, they get from the Sharpes feed. It’s made especially for poultry.”

As well as the ducks and chickens, Melvin breeds pheasants and quail, which he releases into the wild to help boost numbers. The quail chicks are fed Sharpes Chick Crumbles.

He supplements the Sharpes products with veges and fruit he sources from supermarkets.

“I’m passionate about it. I’ve been in birds all my life. My dad had them, he used to breed native Kakariki (New Zealand parakeets) for the Wildlife Service (Internal Affairs).

“Sharpes is the best, it’s pretty simple. The feed has everything we need in it. It suits me, and they’re close to here. I have struck up a good relationship with Sharpes, and they support us by donating feed to all the shows in the North Island. They’re a great, community-minded company,” Melvin says.