Game Bird and Ornamental Pheasant Care

Pheasants can be divided into two functional types, ornamental and game bird pheasants, or Ringnecks.  Game Bird Pheasants are raised for meat, eggs, hunting, and breeding and sometimes even for ornamental purposes. Pheasant meat and eggs are often considered a delicacy.

Shopping List:  Waterer, feeder, heat lamp reflector, red heat bulb, thermometer,
draft-free enclosure, pine shavings, paper towels, electrolytes and vitamins, game bird starter, poultry gritpeepers, fully enclosed outdoor pen, wire flooring. For the beginner, we offer the quail starter kit which includes everything you need to get started. 

Suggested Reading: 
Upland Game Birds

Modern Pheasant Rearing

At the Post Office: Promptly pick up your package and get your chicks into the prepared brooder as soon as possible. Inspect your brood, if you have any losses on arrival, please call, email or fill out the  Live Arrival Guarantee form on our website, within 24 hours, so we can reimburse you. Please let us know if you prefer store credit or a refund. You can find our full Guarantee Policy HERE

Brooder Requirements: 1/2 square foot per chick is recommended to start. Increase the space per bird as they grow.  Brooder environment must be sterile and draft-free. Use paper towels as the bedding for the first two weeks; after that you can use pine shavings or straw for bedding. Make sure the brooder area is big enough so that the chicks can get away from the heat source. Pheasant chicks have a tendency to pile up on each other so round the corners of the brooder with cardboard, wire or wood to keep them from doing so. Also, provide your pheasants with a grassy brush or hiding spots.

Temperature: A thermometer is a baby chick's best friend. Start your brood off at 95 degrees for the first week. Reduce by 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered out. This is typically at 6 weeks and 70 degrees. It is recommended to use a red heat bulb as too bright a light can cause pheasants to get aggressive. It is easy for pheasants to overheat, so watch their behavior to be sure they are not getting too hot.

Feed: Purely Poultry recommends a game bird starter of 24-30% protein for the first six weeks.  A turkey starter is a good substitute if game bird feed is not available. For the initial few days, spread the feed on the paper towels. You can switch to feeders after that. Provide free choice of food in several feeders so that the chicks have equal access.  After six weeks, the pheasants should transition to a game bird grower feed.  If you feed your birds any grains, also give them poultry grit for digestion. 

Water: As soon as you get your chicks into the brooder, immediately dip their beaks in water to teach them how to drink. Birds need to have access to drinking water at all times. Provide several waterers for the chicks. Initially, water levels should be minimal to avoid drowning. Clean marbles in the dish will help. The water should not be too cold. On the third day or after, you can include vitamin or electrolyte powder in the water if needed.

Venturing Outside: Your pheasants can begin going outside during the day at 2-3 weeks of age if the weather is warm.  Provide a covered shelter with 1-2 square feet per bird. Bring them back inside in the afternoon.

Flight Pen: Pheasants can be moved to covered grow-out pens at 6-8 weeks, depending on weather conditions. Outdoor pens should provide 25-30 square feet per bird. Wire floors are recommended for grow-out pens, especially if you have a damp climate and a nylon mesh is great for a top covering. If pens are above the ground, protect the pheasants from drafts by placing a curtain around the bottom. If the pens are on the ground or have a non-wire floor, place waterers and feeders up on wire to prevent accumulation of droppings near their food. Provide your pheasants with plenty of cover. It is a good idea to plant some cover crop such as corn or sorghum.

Cannibalism: Birds may begin pecking each other which can lead to death. Begin watching for pecking and signs of cannibalism right away. To prevent cannibalism provide adequate space, adequate numbers of feeders and waterers, reduce the amount of light, avoid sudden changes in environmental conditions, and remove sick or weak birds right away. You may also try using peepers, which are blinders for the pheasants. If all else fails, you can debeak your birds. 

Disease: Pheasants are hardy and not usually affected by disease. Parasites can sometimes pose a problem so keeping them above the ground on a wire floor is highly recommended.  Mixing your pheasants with other fowl is not a good idea for the same reasons. Keep parasite and disease problems at bay by using these preventative measures, good sanitation, and preventing overcrowding.

Safe Handling of Poultry: After handling poultry, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Do not let young children, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch live poultry. Do not snuggle or kiss your birds.  You can get Salmonella from touching live fowl. Your birds can carry Salmonella and still appear healthy and clean. Regularly clean your poultry equipment

For questions, please call us at 920-472-4068, email at, or feel free to visit our educational blog, as well.  

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