Pheasants are a popular game bird species that can also be a profitable livestock addition for farmers and homesteaders. From selling pheasant meat and eggs to stocking hunting preserves, there are numerous ways to make money by raising pheasants.
In this complete guide, learn insider tips and best practices for how to successfully and profitably raise a pheasant operation, whether starting small or expanding to larger scale production.
Also, you may be interested in the topic of raising pheasants with chickens here.
An Introduction to Raising Pheasants
Pheasants are large, brightly colored game birds native to Asia that have been introduced around the world as a popular game species. Common varieties raised domestically include Ringneck, Lady Amherst, Golden, Silver, and Mutant pheasants.
Pheasants require specific housing, space, temperature, nutrition and care to thrive in captivity. With proper setup and management, they can be a rewarding livestock addition for small farms or large commercial operations.
Some key advantages of raising pheasants include:
- High demand for pheasant meat and eggs
- Low startup costs compared to other livestock
- Produce eggs and meat within first year
- Uncaps a new profit stream for farmers
- Birds are hardy and low-maintenance when cared for properly
Below we delve into everything you need to know to get started and run a successful pheasant operation.
Housing Pheasants – Pens, Coops and Brooders
Proper housing is essential to keep pheasants comfortable, safe and free of stress. Here are some housing considerations:
Brooder House for Chicks
- Draft-free, predator-proof building with heat source
- Minimum 1 sq ft per chick, expand as they grow
- Soft bedding like chopped straw or wood shavings
- Chick guard to prevent crowding/suffocation
- Minimum 10 sq ft per bird
- Predator-proof with overhead netting
- Moveable pens allow rotating pasture access
Flight Pens for Adults
- At least 400 sq ft per breeding pair
- Tall fencing allows flight practice
- Provide roosts, cover, and dust bathing areas
Proper pheasant housing helps prevent cannibalism, disease, stress and injuries while supporting natural behaviors.
Caring for Pheasant Chicks
Raising healthy pheasant chicks is crucial for establishing a productive flock. Here are some tips:
- Incubate eggs or purchase day-old chicks from a hatchery
- House chicks in a draft-free brooder with 95°F temperature
- Use chick feeders and waterers appropriate for pheasant chicks
- Reduce temperature 5°F each week until 70°F
- Transfer chicks to a secure outdoor pen after 6-8 weeks
- Watch for signs of distress like crowding or cannibalism
- Provide roosts once feathers start developing around 4 weeks
With attentive care in the critical first 2 months, you can minimize chick mortality and raise strong, healthy pheasants.
Feeding Your Pheasants
Pheasants need high protein, nutrient-dense diets tailored to their growth stage:
- Starter feed: 28-30% protein poultry or game bird starter for chicks under 16 weeks
- Grower feed: 20-24% protein grower feed from 8-20 weeks of age
- Layer feed: 16-18% protein ratio for mature hens
- Breeder feed: 20% protein feed for breeding pheasants
- Supplements: Provide oyster shell and grit starting at 4 weeks old
- Treats: Chopped greens, berries, seeds, and insects
Feed free-choice while avoiding overcrowding at feeders to prevent cannibalism.
Common Pheasant Health Issues
When housed and fed properly, pheasants are quite hardy. However, watch for these potential health issues:
- Cannibalism – Caused by overcrowding, boredom, or stress. Beak trimming helps prevent.
- Parasites – Use preventative wormer and mite/lice control.
- Respiratory illness – Signs include coughing and nasal discharge. Can be fatal if untreated.
- Bumblefoot – Bacterial infection of the foot caused by perches that are too small.
- Predators – Especially problematic for young chicks. Use secure housing.
Work closely with a poultry vet to identify and promptly treat any illness. Optimizing housing and care is key to preventing disease.
Pheasants reach sexual maturity and begin breeding around 1 year old. Some tips include:
- Ideal breeding ratio is 1 male to 2-3 females.
- Provide nest boxes for hens to lay eggs.
- Collect eggs daily and incubate for 23-27 days.
- Leave some hens to brood naturally for replacement chicks.
- Remove males after mating season to prevent fighting.
- Let hens molt and rest 1-2 months between breeding cycles.
Following these best practices allows your pheasant operation to produce generations of healthy offspring.
Ways to Profit from Pheasants
Once your pheasants reach maturity, there are several profitable options including:
Selling Pheasant Meat and Eggs
- Average hen produces 80-120 eggs per year
- Process males and non-breeding hens for meat
- Eggs and meat can be sold to restaurants, at farmers markets, or direct to consumers
Supplying Hunting Preserves
- Preserves stock pheasants for hunting and buy birds in quantity
- Time hatching and rearing to align with hunting season demand
Starting a Fee-Hunting Operation
- Charge hunters by the bird for pheasant hunts on your land
- Maximizes profit versus selling live birds to preserves
Selling Breeding Stock
- Produce purebred pheasants to sell as breeding birds
- Market to other pheasant producers looking to improve stock
No matter the size of your operation, there are profitable ways to generate income from raising pheasants using one or more of these strategies.
Is Raising Pheasants Right for You?
While pheasants can be a rewarding and profitable livestock addition, consider these factors before getting started:
- Do you have the necessary time commitment for daily care and monitoring?
- Are you comfortable troubleshooting any health issues that emerge?
- Do you have adequate secure outdoor space to house adult pheasants?
- Is there sufficient local demand in your area from hunting preserves, restaurants, or direct consumers?
- Are you prepared to process birds on your farm or pay for outside processing?
- Will you need to scale production over multiple years to reach profitability?
For the right farmer, producing pheasants can be an extremely rewarding and profitable niche. Assess your skills, time, and resources to determine if it aligns with your overall farm vision.
Q: What is cannibalism?
A: Cannibalism is the act of one animal eating another of its own species. In pheasants, cannibalism can occur due to overcrowding or stressful conditions.
Q: What is a flight pen?
A: A flight pen is an enclosed area where pheasants can exercise and fly. It is important to provide enough space for the birds to move around and develop their flight muscles.
Q: What does rearing mean?
A: Rearing refers to the process of raising and caring for young pheasants until they reach maturity.
Q: What is poultry?
A: Poultry refers to domesticated birds that are raised for meat, eggs, or feathers. Pheasants are considered a type of poultry.
Q: What is a heat source?
A: A heat source is a device used to provide warmth to young pheasants, especially during the brooding period. A common heat source is a heat lamp.
Q: What is a feeder?
A: A feeder is a container or device used to hold and dispense food for the pheasants. It is important to have a reliable feeder system to ensure that the birds have access to adequate nutrition.
Q: What is pheasant habitat?
A: Pheasant habitat refers to the natural environment and conditions that are suitable for pheasants to thrive. This includes areas with cover, food sources, and suitable nesting areas.
Q: What is a chick guard?
A: A chick guard is a protective barrier placed around young pheasants to prevent them from escaping or being injured. It helps to keep the chicks safe and contained within the designated rearing area.
Q: What is brood rearing?
A: Brood rearing refers to the process of caring for and raising a group of young pheasants known as a brood. It involves providing them with proper nutrition, shelter, and protection until they become mature birds.
Q: How many chicks should I start with if I want to raise pheasants for profit?
A: It is recommended to start with at least 50 chicks if you want to raise pheasants for profit. This number allows for some potential losses while still maintaining a viable population.
In conclusion, raising pheasants on a pheasant farm can be a profitable venture for farmers interested in raising game birds. By providing proper housing, feeding, and care, farmers can raise healthy pheasants from young birds to maturity.
Whether you want to raise pheasants for their eggs or meat, there are multiple ways to make a profit from selling pheasant products. From selling pheasant meat and eggs to supplying hunting preserves or starting a fee-hunting operation, there are numerous opportunities for making a profit.
It is important to provide adequate space, proper nutrition, and a secure enclosure for the pheas to thrive. Farmers looking for guidance on raising pheasants can contact us for expert advice.
By considering the specific needs of pheasants and providing the necessary care, farmers can raise successful and profitable pheasants on their farms. Give your pheasants a try and see the benefits of raising a healthy and profitable pheasant operation.