Raising Pheasants: 5 Things I Didn’t Know

Raising Pheasants: 5 Things I Didn’t Know

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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.

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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.

Interested in raising pheasants? Here are five things we didn't know about pheasants before we actually started raising them.

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.

Interested in raising pheasants? Here are five things we didn't know about pheasants before we actually started raising them.
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 wasn’t anything we ever tried.

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 in to feed them and two were waiting at the door. Those pheasants 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.

Oh, and 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. *Please know that if you’re going to incubate your own pheasant eggs so you don’t have to purchase chicks, you may need a game farm license from your local Department of Natural Resources.

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 -20F to -30F, the adult pheasants still spent most of their time in their outdoor run.

Interested in raising pheasants? Here are five things we didn't know about pheasants before we actually started raising them.

Have you ever raised pheasants? Do you want to raise pheasants? They are beautiful birds with some interesting personality quirks.

Interested in raising pheasants? Here are five things we didn't know about pheasants before we actually started raising them.

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

  • 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 have 2 young pheasant’s out of 24 they are the only 2 that hatched I have a male and a female, female is quite tame the male he is wild till I put him on my finger and pet him he calms down and he hisses but pecks my hand finger he just wants out but he hasn’t put on his colors yet I hatched them in March how long does it take to get the color on him?

  • 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!

  • Can you let them loose and be wild? I know quail will,generally not survive, but pheasants? Will they stay close by?

    • Pheasants want nothing more to be in the wild. When you release them, they’re gone. 🙂 While we saw lots of pheasants after releasing them every year, they weren’t “hanging out” on the farm.

  • We have melanastic mutant pheasants but I can’t find much information about their “lifestyle”. How do they prefer to pair or mate? Do they have 1 mate of life or does a rooster need multiple hens? If first year hens are not separated can/ will they be breed back by the father? Thank you so much for any assistance.


    We got our first pheasants last July. EVERYTHING YOU HAVE SAID IS BEYOND TRUE. OMG.

    From the *screeching* of the males, to the aggression. We are also a “let’s try and see if it works” household. The alpha male killed the other two males. It was not expected, not that level of brutality.

    Our eggs are in the incubator now sitting at day 17 and 18 eggs sitting fertile and growing. Our hens are all laying their eggs in the same spot (we still find them in their outdoor run, and we put a tote outside. They seem to love it.) But no-one is getting broody yet.

    I just wanted to say thank you because it’s so easy to f8nd chicken information but I’ve been looking for 3 weeks to find pheasant info!! And yes, their eggs are TOTALLY different. I pitched 3 eggs at the 72 Hour mark because it looked like a bunch of ruptured air cells. I feel awful because apparently that’s normal for pheasant eggs. You know, because pheasants.

    The chickens I’ve hatched are all hand-held babies who love being loved on. My goal is to try and get these pheasants to be the same way. I know, it’s a long shot but I’m still going to try.

  • Hi! Your pheasant info is right on the money. This is my second go with them. First time was 3 doz for meat birds and all but one made it to freezer camp. This time I hatched out 13 from 30 eggs and will try to keep them till spring for breeding another round. I had 2 roos escape in the fall and they actually returnd in a week or so. I was able to net them and put them back in the pen. Mr alpha killed them both that night. I have since had a couple other escapees that I haven’t seen lately. Am down to 5 hens and 2 roosters. Plan to give the roos a month each with the hens in the spring if all goes to ever changing plans. Two or three runs through the incubator and just maybe, with a lot of luck, I will end up with a sustainable flock. These are fun to keep and when you think you have them figured out, they let you know that you don’t.

  • so funny to hear your experiences my wife and i raised 2 doz. baby pheasants last year we live in Oregon and noticed very few pheasants these days, every thing you said was so true brought back many memories made me laugh. escape artists for sure, aloof so diff. than chickens. anyway we let them go at a year old, the ones that were left anyway we would see them once in a while but not for a long time. trying to decide if we want to do it again. anyway thanks for sharing. rick

  • We just bought our first pheasants last night at a nearby auction A k ready found out about the hissing but other than that they seem to be fairly mellow and haven’t caused to much trouble. We are setting them up as suggested in their own area a little bit away from the chickens.
    Always wanted to try raising some and was surprised at the limited information I found after buying this pair. Glad I came across your articles gives me a few pointers and somewhere to start (read quite a few if the ot b wr ones too lol) thanks for making so much good information available
    Wish me luck. Could get interesting around the property soon!!

  • I’m a newbie . Questions. Do I sepatrate the males from female? If I do what age/ I think I got 4 pair. I brought 13. Got 8 left. Pen is 35 ft by 22 wide by 6 ft. They pecked some eyes out. I watch as they watched them run into fence. And then they all Stared pulling feathers,pecking they tail,ending up killing 3 at once. First time doing this. I’ll build a bigger pen when I see what I can sell. To cut down flock. Or do I do Now?? Keep from them killing more?

    • For 13 birds, you would only need one rooster, MAYBE two. In my opinion/experience, I don’t think your issue is space, I think it’s too many roosters. 🙂

  • I ordered 10 peas and eggs cuz it was my first time ever doing pheasants I had five one didn’t come out of the shell totally and then the second born check killed two of the other ones so I imagine that was the dominant male so I have three doing very good they’re about three four weeks old now

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