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Thread: What does it take to raise pheasants in a pen?

  1. #1
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    Default What does it take to raise pheasants in a pen?

    Okay guys,

    I have kicked this idea around for quite a while. I have the land where I could raise some pheasants. I am wondering about what it costs, what I need, proper amount of sq. ft. needed per bird, etc. Do I need a house for them? At what age can they survive without a house? What is needed to raise them from day old chicks to fliers that can be sold or used for dog training? How much feed is needed per bird for the 12-16 weeks that you would need before they are flight ready? Costs of netting? Successful ways to keep out predators?

    Lots of questions on this one, just wondering if anyone has had experience in successfully doing this. I know I can probably google it and read and learn but sometimes hearing right from someone who has tried it is the best advise.

    Anybody want to invest in this venture with me?

  2. #2
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    Aug 2009
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    The link below is a gov. document on raising pheasants from chicks to release time between 8 and 16 weeks or as adult birds. Print it and use it as a general guide:

    http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_...yoldchicks.pdf

    If you are trying to establish a wild reproducing population I would recommend ordering the chicks from the wilder and predator wary strains of pheasants like the Manchurian ringneck or the Bianchi pheasant also called the Afghan White-Winged pheasant.

    Also go to page 2 of this thread, towards the bottom of that page review "chick survival rate" you will find a lot of useful information.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Preston, this is a very good article. Have you ever raised any pheasants?

  4. #4
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    This thread made me think about numbers again...Which aren't good if you're wanting to turn a profit with pheasants. I'll try to answer the questions the best I can. Start with buying eggs. If you buy chicks you never know if one of them has some sort of disease. Rule of thumb, or what I am told buy all of the guys around here, is never bring live birds to your farm. Go with the eggs. Extra work and some wont hatch but way less of a risk.
    1. I start with eggs in an incubator. We use Hydolok incubators. But any incubator that rotates, mists, and has a humidity regulator in it will work.
    They should hatch out in 25-30 days.
    2. As they start to hatch, they go straight into the heated brooder. Just like baby chickens pretty much. Use untreated wood chips or shavings. Treated stuff will make them sick. Usually wont kill em but not good for them. White light for heat. From the time the first couple hatch I give em a week. I have thrown the "bad eggs" in a 5 gallon bucket before thinking they weren't gonna hatch. Walk in the next day and find 2 or 3 running around on top of the egg shells in the 5 gallon bucket. So I always leave em for an extra week just in case. Sometimes taking them out to colder temps will stimulate the late ones to hurry and hatch. Keep em in this brooder for about 10 days. We made ours out of old metal stock tanks. Put a lid on them with a screen and a fan on top. You have to have a solid floor too. This sucks for cleanup but if you have a wire bottom or holes in the floor for poop to fall through, their little feet get caught in them and the other ones will peck the hell out em till they kill em. 50 of em in an 8' x 2' tank.
    3. At 10 days, we transfer them to the larger brooder. "Larger stock tank". 50 per 10' x 3' foot tank. Solid bottom still. Change the light over to red for heat. Quail and Pheasants are sensitive to red light so this is the beginning of trying to make them a little more "wild". At 3 weeks old they go into the johnny house. Johny houses are 16'x10'x12'. 12'high. I put the same 50 in each one. Supposed to have 8 square feet per bird at this point but thats just not economical or possible. The johhny houses are outside so you need about a week where its nice weather and not much rain in the forecast. I leave them in the Johnny House until they are 6 weeks old. At six weeks they get peeped and go into the flight area. Peepers are very important. I wait till 6-7 weeks because the nostrils are bigger and its easier. Problem is that its usually 90+ degrees when Im doing this inside a little house! This will save you on square footage. The birds require a lot less area per bird when they are peeped. So you can put alot more together. And the tail feathers look much better. Our flight pen is an old gutted out dairy barn. Its 150'x50'x30' high. We put about 400 birds in this sucker. We do leave birds in the Johnny Houses too. But only about 25 or so per house. The release houses you can put 50-75 in because they can go in and out.
    4. Food...At the six week mark as you are peeping the birds getting them ready for the flight pen, these 50 chicks will have eaten about 100 lbs of feed from hatch to six weeks. Then its about 1 lb. per week per bird depending on weather. They will eat a little more the colder it is. So feed bill goes way up after the 6 week point.
    5. Once they are in the flight pen or barn. Feed them at night. If you feed during the day they will be flying all over the place, into walls, rafters, etc, and you will find dead ones the next day.
    6. Predators. They always find a way. But on the Johny Houses, make sure the open parts are solid fence, not netting. Netting stretches, so does chicken wire. I can't remember the gauge of wire but you want less than 1 inch squares in it. And the tin roofs over hang the wire by about a foot. Otherwise hawks and owls will perch on top, grab a bird when it gets to close to the wire, and actually eat it through the fence. I would find headless quail and pheasant in the houses and finally figured out what was going on. Had to redesign all the houses. Raccoons are another issue. Had to make sure the metal siding was slick so they couldn't climb it, chew through the fencing and get to the birds. The birds they don't kill get out of the pen and depending on how old they are, they may not recall.
    7. Cut the peepers off before releasing them and save them for reuse. They are $0.25 a piece, but it adds up when raising a bunch of birds. You will have to buy new pins but they are cheaper.
    8. Half of our Johny houses have recall funnels on them. Half don't. We can take these funnels on and off so its just a solid house when we are raising them. The houses are on skids so when the birds are flight ready we pull the houses into the fields where we want to release them and put the funnels on them. About 25 birds is all we put out. This gives them a safe haven from predators and we put food in it. But alot of the time after one week in the field you will put less and less food in it. They do find other sources of food. We have a pond close to it too so they find water pretty quickly. I dont do this until after they are fully colored and mature. Usually at about 12 weeks I do this. Can probably do it sooner but I like to watch em fly in the barn first. Make sure you remove the peepers before you make this move.

    Long answer sorry. It was a lot of questions.
    Some people talk about it, some people live it!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenboy View Post
    Thanks Preston, this is a very good article. Have you ever raised any pheasants?
    Yes, I have raised plenty of pheasant. I started off as a kid raising baby chickens and ducks. Every Easter my father would go to the feed store and buy us kids these colorful baby chickens, that got me started. My dad also had pigeons and a bird dog, a pointer.

    I stop raising pheasants twenty years ago. I released to the wild or gave away every pheasant I raised.

  6. #6
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    Well, did you do it? I'm curious how it turned out for you. Pheasants are one we haven't done yet.

  7. #7
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    No not yet. I am still in the research mode. Not a lot of time on my plate right now so it has become less and less of a priority.

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