While large-scale pheasant production operations focus on raising chicks for release into hunting preserves and for the food industry, you can raise just a few pheasant chicks at home for a source of fresh poultry or to release outdoors for wildlife restoration projects. Start with certified, disease-free, day-old chicks from a reputable breeder. As the chicks mature, provide secure outdoor housing made of sturdy materials to keep out predators. Pheasant chicks reach maturity in three months.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Cardboard box
- Infrared heat lamp
- Game poultry feed
- Paper plates
- Poultry feeders
- Poultry waterer
Remove each pheasant chick from the shipping box and dip its beak in a bowl of lukewarm water. Place the chicks in a large cardboard box with a 1-inch layer of chopped straw on the bottom. Allow 0.09 square metres (1 square foot) of floor space in the box per chick. Remove the soiled straw and replace with fresh straw at least once a week.
Hang a 250-watt infrared heat lamp 45 cm (18 inches) above the bottom of the box. Check the temperature at the floor of the box with a thermometer three to four times a day. Adjust the height of the lamp to keep the temperature at 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first 10 days, then reduce the temperature by 2.7 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) each week by raising the light 5 to 15 cm (2 to 6 inches) at a time.
Feed the pheasant chicks with medicated game-bird or turkey starter feed for the first six weeks. Sprinkle the food on paper plates for two weeks so the small chicks can get to it easily. Replace the plates and add fresh feed at least twice a day to eliminate faeces accumulation. Use a poultry feeder after the chicks are two weeks old. At six weeks, switch from starter feed to 20 per cent protein grower feed.
Provide a continuous supply of fresh water for the chicks. Use a gallon-size poultry waterer with a low lip. Place pebbles in the bottom of the waterer to keep the chicks from drowning.
Clean poultry feeders once a day with hot water, dry them thoroughly and replenish them with fresh food. Wash poultry waterers once a day with scalding water and refill them with fresh, cool water.
Set pheasant chicks in a small outdoor pen on sunny days after they are three to four weeks old. Place a secure wire top on the pen to keep the chicks from escaping and protect from predators, yet allow air circulation. Increase the outdoor time from two hours to all day over the course of the next month. Keep feeders and waterers in the outdoor pens clean and filled. Return the chicks to the indoors at night.
Move the pheasants into fly pens at six weeks, allowing 0.93 to 1.4 square metres (10 to 15 square feet) per bird. Ensure that a section of the pen is naturally shaded, or provide shade with evergreen boughs or draped sacking. Set fresh alfalfa and tree branches inside the pen for the pheasants to peck.
Tips and warnings
- Remove pecked or lethargic chicks from the group immediately to prevent cannibalism or the spread of disease.
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