Pheasant Pens and Sins
When it comes to rearing pheasants it is not just a matter of building pens, putting in some feed and water, and wishing the birds good luck. We follow guidelines, which can help you rear quality pheasants.
When the chicks are in the barn, we are busy getting the pens prepared. We begin the preparation by rotovating all the pens. The pens that receive our first couple of hatches, we let grow naturally. Weeds like lamb’s-quarters will generally come up first. Lamb’s-quarters provides great cover for the birds, the woody stem helps it handle the long season and continues to provide cover through the winter. In our other pens, we plant corn. The idea is to have good undergrowth (weeds or grasses), and a good ceiling (corn). When you have good cover, it serves different purposes, protection from weather, fewer birds jumping up into the netting, fewer predators seeing into the pens, and a food source.
After the shelter is prepared, two other essentials are feed and water. Not only is it a cardinal sin to let the birds run out of feed and water, it is important to have the correct amount of “space”. We use three different types of feeders. Having the same model of feeder in a pen is important, but the circumference of the feeder is what really matters. We measure the feeder and give each bird seven tenths of an inch of feeder space. The second most important detail with feeders is having them at the correct height. When the chicks are less than eight weeks old, we start the feeders on the ground. At eight weeks, we place a single layer of four; four inch by four inch blocks the length of the feeder. At twelve weeks, we “double” block the feeders by removing two of the four from the single layer and placing them the opposite direction. This keeps the feeder height at the pheasants’ chest.
Water space and height is also important. We hang bell plassons from metal stands, by a wire. We start the plassons close to the ground. The smallest bird in the hatch needs to be able to get a drink. Again, we measure the circumference of the bell plassons and give each pheasant one tenth of an inch of drinking space. When we go into the pens to raise the feeders, we raise the waters as well.
By following these helpful hints, you will improve the quality of pheasants in your flight pens.