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Many people raise Ringneck Pheasant game birds for a variety of reasons. Today we’ll discuss what you need to consider when deciding to raise Pheasants and also how to care for the newly hatched chicks for the first 8 weeks.
While we do not anticipate a loss, Meyer Hatchery does cover losses of properly cared for birds that arrive deceased or that pass in the first 48 hours after arrival. Losses must be reported within 72 hours of arrival. To report a loss with a recent order, fill out our Loss Reporting Form.
Ringneck Pheasants are originally from Asia, but have adapted quite well to North America and have established wild populations. They can be kept in a wide variety of climates. If you live where winters are cold you will need to provide good, draft-free housing for protection. Pheasant chicks can be brooded in a manner similar to chicken chicks; they need to be in a draft-free brooder for the first 8 weeks, kept warm, and have access to fresh water and game bird or turkey starter feed at all times. The temperature of the brooder should start at 95 degrees for the first week of age, then decrease the brooder temperature by 5 degrees each week. Once the chicks are fully feathered by around 8 weeks of age, they can be allowed outside to acclimate to their permanent housing.
Gamebirds like to pile in the brooder, so rounded corners in your brooder can be helpful.
Special notes when using a brooder plate-
- Place your brooder plate on the opposite side of your brooder space away from waterers.
- Set the height of your plate making sure there is a minimum of 1 1/8" space between the brooder plate and your bedding
- Allow enough space for your poultry to be able to move freely from underneath the brooder plate. Some brooder plates give you the option to adjust one side of the plate a bit higher than the other giving your poultry the option to choose their preferred height.
- Turn your brooder plate on 24-48 hours prior to the arrival of your poultry
- When your poultry arrives be sure to encourage them to go underneath the brooder plate showing them where warmth is.
- Brooder plates mimic a mother bird using warmth and touch so using a thermometer to measure the temperature is not reliable. It is important to watch the behavior of your poultry to determine their comfort level. If they are peeping and huddled together, adjust the plate lower, as this is a sign they are too cool. If they are avoiding the heat plate altogether it may be too low, therefore providing too much warmth.
- Brooder plates are ideal for indoor brooding. If the temperature of the room falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit your brooder plate will not provide enough heat for your new hatchlings.
Learn more on how to brood poultry using a heat plate here: Brooding with the Brinsea Ecoglow Safety 600 Chick Brooder Plate.
**Note--all game birds are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations and stress during the brooding phase. Take special care to make sure the temperature is steady at all times.
It is very important to watch closely for any signs of aggression as the pheasant chicks begin to mature. Using a red brooder lamp bulb is a must for any game birds, and the use of blinders or peepers to curb aggression may be needed as birds mature.
Pheasant chicks require a higher protein ration than chicken chicks do. For pheasants, feed 28-30% protein game bird starter feed for the first 6 weeks of age, then after 6 weeks of age, they can eat a game bird grower feed with 26% protein.
Medicated feed is OK to use for game bird chicks, especially if the weather is hot and humid which encourages the growth of coccidia in the environment.
Pheasants can learn to be confined and do best in an aviary-style flight pen with 6 ft or taller fences and netting overhead. This style of housing will help aerial predators from harming your pheasants and also prevent the pheasants from escaping. Once fully grown, Ringneck Pheasants are able to easily fly. Pheasants prefer to have cover in their aviary in the form of bushes and tall grasses, where they will prefer to build a nest. The aviary should allow approximately 36 square feet of ground space per bird. A shelter should also be provided, with a minimum space of about 2 square feet per bird if there is also adequate cover provided in the run area. Males can become territorial as they mature and may not be able to be housed together in the same pen. For this reason, the run or aviary must have adequate brush and cover.
We hope this information helps with your decision to raise the Ringneck Pheasants. We are always a chat, phone call, or email away if you have further questions!