5 Things I Didn’t Know Before Raising Pheasants
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.
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.
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.
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.