Pens - Common Questions on rasing pheasants outside in pens

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Pens Support and FAQ

MacFarlane Pheasants Inc. prides itself on impeccable customer service. Any questions that you may have are important and we will do our best to answer them. Below are a few commonly asked questions. Each area of the rearing process has its own individual page to better organize and facilitate your search and our response.

Contact information:

Brian Klein
Pen Manager
Phone: 800-345-8348 ext. 14
Fax: 608-757-7884
Email: [email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions About Pheasant Pens


What age do you move your birds outside?

Our birds are moved outside at 6-8 weeks of age. When the birds are moved out, they need a window of 2-3 days of good weather with the smallest amount of rain. These birds will need to adjust to the wind, rain, dew, and temperatures that are presented outside of a controlled environment.

How much room should I give my pheasants?

We put peeped birds out at 25 square feet per bird. If you are not going to peep your birds, use 50 square feet per bird.

Why do you Rotovate your pens?

Rotovating turns over the soil and hopefully eliminates some potential for disease.

What do you use for cover in your pens?

You can plant corn or sorghum, but Lambsquarter is the best because it provides more shade. (Lambsquarter can be purchased at a seed store) It stands up well in winter, re-seeds itself and provides even better cover the 2nd year. Lambsquarter should be planted in April or early May. Note: corn planted too thickly tends to break off and fall over.

pheasant cover

How many weeks before a mature ringneck can be shipped?

A mature ringneck can be shipped at 19-20 weeks. Earlier in the year you would want to wait 22-23 weeks.

What type of feed do you use? (proteins)

6 weeks to 12 weeks 20% grower with a coccidiostat, 12-19 weeks 19% flyer, 19 weeks + 14% maintenance. For more in depth advice on protein use visit our blog.

pheasant feed

What is your feeder space?

.7 linear inches per bird.

What is your water space?

One “plus-one” water for every 200 birds.

If I stub the tail, how long will it take to grow back, and how can I aid it?

It takes approximately 8-10 weeks to grow back. Upping the protein and giving more square footage can aid the growth.

How do you catch your birds?

There are many methods and techniques used to catch mature pheasants. Most have been adapted to fit the individual needs of the farms involved. At MacFarlane Pheasant Farm, Inc we take a somewhat unique approach to catching birds.


  1. Pheasants are driven into a staging lane the night before they are to be caught.
  2. The staging lane will have an adequate food and water supply for the birds.
  3. Crates are placed into a catch pen measuring 30 square feet. The catch pens are lined with a fiberglass material two feet high. This aids in keeping the birds from piling in the corners and along the fence.

The Following Morning

A four or five man catching crew will drive the birds into the catch pen, taking no more than 400 birds into the catch pen at one time.

  1. Each crew member is assigned a corner.
  2. This will prevent the birds from piling in the corner and suffocating to death. It also prevents feather damage and tail loss.
  3. All catching is done by hand. No nets are used. Nets are more stressful on the birds.
  4. The faster you can catch the birds and get them into the crate, the better off they will be.

To Gain Control of the Pheasant

  1. Pin the bird against your leg.
  2. Grab the bird by BOTH legs.
  3. Transfer the bird into your other hand. Each crew member can hold 5-7 mature cocks in one hand.
  4. While holding the birds in one hand, peepers are removed with the other hand via wire cutters.
  5. Birds are put into the crates and another handful of birds are caught.

It is important to note this style of catching takes some getting used to and is not for everyone. It works best if you need to catch large quantities of birds in short periods of time. Bottom line: Everyone's situation is unique and a catching style should be molded around your specific needs.

You can download copies of our design plan for crates from our Resources page.