One of the biggest investments you make on a game bird farm is flight pens. If you are buying birds from MacFarlane farms, we've got a vested interest in you succeeding, so we're not shy about sharing our flight pen plans. Remember, the main purpose of the structure is to keep birds in and predators out.
We recommend you have 15 to 20 square feet per bird if you are raising pheasants. Smaller birds, like partridges would require a little less space and a mixed pen of half hens and half roosters would require less space than if you were keeping all roosters in the pen.
Posts should be 10' high, 6" round placed every 10 feet with ¼" cable run across the top to support the wire sides. Pound the posts at least three feet into the ground. When you are burying the wire fencing, flare it out underground to help deter predators from digging their way in. Use netting with 2" holes for roofing. Snow can cause a lot of damage to a flight pen. Smaller netting holes means snow will collect sooner so go with 2" hole netting if you can get it. If you are in a climate that gets lots of snow, you might need to brace the perimeter poles.
The exact design depends on the terrain, the location and the crew you are going to have working in the pen. But with a few modifications, our pen design will work for you. Our standard pen size is 80' by 150'.
Remember to leave room for feeders, water troughs and shelters.
We suggest using the best materials available and that pens are designed with expansion in mind. Our pens usually last between 15 and 20 years. We do routine maintenance on our pens every year and we schedule net replacements at regular intervals. Regular checks on fencing, posts and roof netting will keep your birds in and predators out. A good flight pen is well worth the cost because it protects your pheasant investment.