5 Things I Didn’t Know Before Raising Pheasants

5 Things I Didn’t Know Before Raising Pheasants
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My husband has always wanted to raise pheasants. Since we are usually game to try anything once, we started our research, prepared their space, and ordered some pheasant chicks. But there were many things I didn’t know before raising pheasants that were made abundantly clear after spending time with them at our farm. I’m gonna let you in on five of these things today.

Before raising pheasants, I didn’t know they were so noisy:

Pheasant roosters are noisy. Roosters screech, and if you have a lot of them that get all worked up, it can get rather annoying. I would say it ranks right up there with the noises a guinea hen makes – although I would also say that pheasant roosters talk less, even if it is just as loud.

Pheasant hens are rather quiet. Pheasant hens make a sort of peeping noise that sounds a lot like a little chick.

Also, be aware that pheasants hiss. Yeah. For real.

Five Things I Didn't Know Before Raising Pheasants

Before raising pheasants, I didn’t realize how different they were from chickens:

It seems obvious to say it, but pheasants aren’t chickens. They are wild animals. You won’t be training a pheasant to come for treats. You will not be picking up a pheasant and letting it sit on your lap. They are rather elusive. We rarely ever see them in the barn. They must come in because that’s where their food and water is…but we don’t see them. They’re not curious, and if they see you, they generally want to get away from you.

Five Things I Didn't Know Before Raising Pheasants
My oldest, catching a pheasant on release day. Notice the fancy eye protection. 😉

Before raising pheasants, I didn’t know how aggressive they could be:

They pick at each other. They can be aggressive. They can even be little cannibals. This is common for game birds in captivity, but pheasants are by far the worst offenders. Some say that giving them enough space and enough to do will decrease this practice. I can assure you we have plenty of space and plenty for them to do, and this has still happened a couple times in our outdoor run. You can buy blinders for the pheasants, if you so desire, but this is not something we’ve tried yet.

Before raising pheasants, I didn’t know what little ninjas they were:

If you don’t prep their housing correctly, you’re going to have a lot of escapees. Pheasants want to escape—they want to be in the wild!—and they are really good at escaping if given any inkling of a chance. One day my sons went into feed them and two were waiting at the door and ran out like lightning bolts before my boys even knew what was happening.

They are so fast.

In fact, even as chicks their speed and agility is amazing. Pheasant chicks are far more active than chicken chicks, and much earlier than chicken chicks. I’ve never had to cover a brooder for one week old chicken chicks. Baby pheasants were hopping out in a few days like it was nothing at all.

Baby pheasants are tiny. Like, really tiny. Having only dealt with chicken chicks, I was surprised how little these babies were. Here is a short video we made right after our first batch of pheasant chicks arrived. (We now incubate our own pheasant eggs so we don’t have to purchase anymore.)

So, yes – they are tiny. When the pheasant books recommend netting no larger than 1″ squares, and covering all the possible areas that a chick/young pheasant could escape, they mean what they say.

Before raising pheasants, I didn’t realize how hardcore they are:

Weather wise, pheasants are hardcore. Whereas chickens will generally stay in the barn when the weather turns bad, pheasants tough it out. Cold? Snowing? Sleeting? Windy? There’s the pheasants, taking it all in. Even when we had windchills of -20 to -30, the adult pheasants still spent most of their time in their outdoor run.

Five Things I Didn't Know Before Raising Pheasants

Have you ever raised pheasants? Do you want to raise pheasants? They are beautiful birds with some interesting personality quirks. They are teaching us a lot, and we enjoy having them on our farm.

Thinking about adding pheasants to your homestead? Here are some things I learned after we added them to ours. -- Five Things I Didn't Know Before Raising Pheasants - A Farmish Kind of Life

Do you homeschool? So do we! Check out my book — The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.

That whole frugal living thing? It's not about money....except when it is. Check out my new book!

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5 thoughts on “5 Things I Didn’t Know Before Raising Pheasants”

  • Ugh, my baby pheasant is annoying. It continuously jumps high at the sides of the brooder to escape. The rambunctious chick will not eat or drink–it seems bent on escaping into the wild. The other chick that hatched is larger, and much less coordinated than the first one. It is much more docile as well. The big chick is quiet, and will eat food. The obnoxious chick chirps loudly, and has almost drowned in the waterer a couple of times attempting to escape. I had no idea pheasants were so wild. When I pick up the noisy chick, it goes limp and gets depressed! The chicks are also very difficult to brood, as the walls of my chicken brooders appear to foster a temperature problem immediately–very strange. Out of 2 dozen hatching eggs, only 2 pheasants have survived; I typically enjoy better hatching rates with quails and chickens. I was intending to inseminate game hens with material from the pheasants. I would rather sell the chicks, honestly, although I doubt they will last the week.

    • Pheasant babies ARE crazy. AND loud. I’m sorry you didn’t have a better hatch rate. They really are a totally different kind of animal. Did you try putting marbles or rocks in their waterer so they don’t drown? We’ve had to do that. We will often comment here, “no wonder why pheasants need people to help their population — they don’t seem to be the smartest birds.”

  • I had a three week old pheasant escape from the pen today as I opened the door… She flew off at about 20 ft in the air, and landed in our prairie. I’m concerned she will not make it in the wild yet. Her siblings are still contained in the same place about 50 yards away. Is it likely she will return to them? They all stick together normally. I feel terrible. Any suggestions for helping her out?

    • If you can catch her with a net, I would do that. I’ve had little ones get out occasionally and they don’t generally return on their own (but that probably depends on what your surroundings are!) Good luck!

  • Once I noticed my male pheasant jumping straight up repeatedly in the pen. As it turned out, a copperhead had gotten into the pen and the pheasant had killed it!

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