We get asked about bedding for the birds in the brooder barn, as well as for the mature birds, before they go outside. For the brooder barn, where chicks stay for about three weeks, we recommend larger dried pine chips. We've found the chips are best, shavings are too small and the chicks can eat them and then die from an impacted gizzard. We don't recommend sand or newspaper for the brooder barns because both are too slippery for the chicks.
Burlap or brooder paper is a decent bedding option, but they need to be changed as soon as they start getting soiled. We've found the dried chips to be the best because they have a high absorption factor and they also provide insulation.
When the birds are old enough to move to the "B" room, they are bedded on straw. Although the bigger birds are dirtier, they don't need as much insulation and the absorption factor doesn't need to be as high. It is imperative, though, to keep bedding clean to maintain the health of the birds. Wet bedding raises the humidity in a room and it also gets moldy. We keep an extra bale of hay handy in the "B" rooms so we can top dress, or cover up the dirty areas with fresh bedding.
When breeders are in the barns, bales of straw or alfalfa help provide cover for breeding, as well as areas for the females to lay eggs. They also provide cover for males to avoid other males. Breaking open a bale of alfalfa can help prevent picking if you notice that might be becoming a problem.
We use straw in the outside pens when we first move the birds out to prevent piling in the corners. It is stacked in all four corners of the pen for extra cushioning in those areas. For more tips on raising pheasants read our Rearing Tips article.