Flight pens are an investment in the protection of game birds. The main purpose for the time and money put into flight pens is to keep game birds in and predators out. It sounds very simple, but in addition to building the pens, the process isn't complete until you learn how to manage the cover that must be provided. MacFarlane Pheasants have a free construction manual available on our website called The Complete Flight Pen Construction Manual. In order to get you thinking about this entire process, here are a few tips on construction and ground cover.
Flight Pen Construction
- Site selection, preparation, and planning include building on well-drained land that has a slight slope and dry sandy soil.
- You will need about 15-20 square feet per bird so consider the number of birds you expect to be raising and remember it doesn't cost much more to build your pen slightly larger to accommodate expansion.
- You might consider building where you could expand the pen, in the future, if needed.
- Get our construction manual for detailed instructions, materials needed, and the system for building a 96' by 144' pen.
- Our manual also includes dealers who sell the products you will need.
- Plant cover that works for you. Corn, milo, and lambs quarter are excellent choices.
- Use weed sprays conservatively to control weeds you don't want (ragweed).
- Plant by May 1, for early hatched pheasants.
- If you want to eliminate rain as a variable, you might want to consider an irrigation system to make sure your cover grows.
- Till your pens yearly after the initial start-up to turn over manure from the previous year and loosen the soil for new growth.
- Watch your cover and carefully mow in some open spaces so birds can see the sky, dry out after rains, and have more room to move and fly around.
- Mowing to provide some open space keeps birds from congregating around the feeder and any open space they find (20%-25% of pens should be open space).