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Pheasant pen

Old 06-07-2015, 12:21 PM
  #1  
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Default Pheasant pen

at our farm we are raising about 20 pheasants. we are thinking about making a release pen. chicken wire is too short and critters can get in that way. so we are using some geofabric because it doesn't rot in the elements. it is also about 5 feet tall instead of 3 that the chicken wire is. the pen is going to be open topped so when we want to release the birds inside, they can either fly out on their own or we can chase them out ourselves. btw geofabric in non degradable plastic fence used to hold retaining walls in place. it is very strong and the only way to break it is to cut it with a knife. the holes in geofabric are about 1.5 by 1.5 holes in diamonds. the pen is going to be about 50 feet by 20 feet. we are going to just let it up in native grasses. we are going to throw chicken scratch in at night so they are foraging for their food. if anybody has comments please tell me.

~pheasantshooter~
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:52 PM
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You do not want to have an open topped hardening pen. The hawks and owls will clean you out. You must have a top on your pens or you will be doing no more than feeding predators. Five feet is also awful low, you will need a pen, normally called a flight pen that is high and long enough so the birds will be able to fly well before you release them. I recommend you visit a pheasant propagator and look at their operation and ask them questions so you do not waste a lot of money on something that will not do what you expect it to do. You can call the PA Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife protection at 717-787-5909 and ask for the permit division and get a list of pheasant propagators who are in your county or close to your county.
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Old 06-07-2015, 01:51 PM
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Ditto what Oldtimr said!
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:17 PM
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Lay some chicken wire flat on the earth all the way around to help prevent predators from burrowing in. The Geo fabric is a good idea. Been my experience when they get older they spook easily and can hurt themselves running/flying into the wire. Put a lid on the enclosure. Have as little contact as practical with your birds, the wilder they are the better. You can try releasing after the feathers have grown in after their first molt, around two months. But I've found later is better, after around 3-4 months or even later. It helps if they have an enclosure large enough to fly some. I put some cover in my enclosure (a brush pile) so they can hide when I show up. Trains then to go to cover and helps prevent injury from flailing around.

The mortality rate is really high on my releases, maybe 10% last through the first winter.

A single Weasel will kill them all in a single night. Weasels are like Rats, if their head fits through a hole the rest of their body will follow, it doesn't take much of a hole.
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:19 PM
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I truely hope you contact and visit a letgitimate pheasant propagator to get good information to raise pheasants. It is more than just hatching eggs or buying chicks and if not done properly you will just waste your time and money. Do not bother covering the ground with chicken wire because it will stop nothing from entering your pen. You will need to have your pen sides burried in the ground anywhere from 12 to 20 inches to keep predators from digging into the pen. Additionally, if you are going to have tall native grasses in the pen, additional cover such as brush piles are not necessary. There is a lot to know in order to raise your birds to release age and have enough of them survive to get the most for your money. They can start to fly already at 2 weeks of age for short distances. They should not be left outside in a hardening pen for more than 8 to 10 hours until they are at least 8 weeks old because they will not be fully feathered until then. There is too much you should know to get it from a message board. A message board is not the place to get the best information to do what you want to do, you will get information, but not all will be correct or the best way to proceed. Go to the PGC or a licensed pheasant propagator and pick their brains and take notes, to give you the best succes possible. It will cost a little more to do it right, but you will like the end result better. Good luck.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 06-07-2015 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
I truely hope you contact and visit a letgitimate pheasant propagator to get good information to raise pheasants. It is more than just hatching eggs or buying chicks and if not done properly you will just waste your time and money. Do not bother covering the ground with chicken wire because it will stop nothing from entering your pen. You will need to have your pen sides burried in the ground anywhere from 12 to 20 inches to keep predators from digging into the pen. Additionally, if you are going to have tall native grasses in the pen, additional cover such as brush piles are not necessary. There is a lot to know in order to raise your birds to release age and have enough of them survive to get the most for your money. They can start to fly already at 2 weeks of age for short distances. They should not be left outside in a hardening pen for more than 8 to 10 hours until they are at least 8 weeks old because they will not be fully feathered until then. There is too much you should know to get it from a message board. A message board is not the place to get the best information to do what you want to do, you will get information, but not all will be correct or the best way to proceed. Go to the PGC or a licensed pheasant propagator and pick their brains and take notes, to give you the best succes possible. It will cost a little more to do it right, but you will like the end result better. Good luck.
Burying the fence really doesn't help much, laying chicken wire flat on the ground buried under a few inches of dirt, three feet out does. My main predator is Fox and they can dig twenty inches in minutes. The wire laid flat out on the ground seems to confound them a bit. They most always want to dig at the fence edge. And laying it out flat on the ground is a whole lot easier than digging a hundred plus foot trench. I used pieces of rebar as stakes to hold the wire down.

Good luck getting much to grow in the enclosure. Mine gets picked clean pretty quick.

The reason I release mine late is the males don't get their full color until later and can be hunted before the winter hits. The mortality rate is high anyway. The younger they are, the easier prey they are.

I have a lean-to on one end of my enclosure, with some old crates and straw. I usually keep a couple of full grown hens from last years batch. Cocks don't work out well.

If a predator does get into your enclosure the only real chance they have is a brush pile, they can bob and weave and try for altitude for awhile. I also put in a few long perches up high.

I really haven't lost many Chicks before release unless they beat themselves to death on the enclosure sides when they get spooked, or a varmint finds it's way in. I did keep a Cock Pheasant with the younguns one year, he killed some.

Somebody that does it for a living may have some good tips on feed for the Chicks. They seem to be partial to bugs, grain doesn't excite them much, they will eat mash but I think they may do better on something high protein. I feed mine maggots and meal worms (fish bait) periodically.

I get my Chicks at around 3-4 weeks old. a buddy raises them in a brood house until then.

Get all the info you can from as many sources as possible. Some you just learn by trial and error, the hard way.

Last edited by MudderChuck; 06-07-2015 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:06 AM
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I really hope that boy does not pay attention to your posts because you have not a clue about what you are talking about, Period, what you posted here about rasing pheasants is nonsense, period. Maggots and meal worms, give me a break. It takes about 100 lbs of food to raise 50 chicks to 6 weeks old, 2 lbs a day of feed for the 1st 6 weeks of a pheasant chicks life and about 1 lb a day from 6 weeks forward. All those maggots and meal worms would break you. Game bird feed has all the proper nutrients they need to grow. Pheasant shooter, please for your sake, ignore whay this guy says.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:22 AM
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I also hope that the OP gets some information from a reputable source like you mentioned Oldtimr. I've yet to see birds raised in a pen with wire laid out on the ground. A properly built pen's sides should always goes down at least 1 and preferably 2 or more feet below the ground surface and then preferably horizontally underground another 3-4 feet with the wire such that it takes a varmint a lot of time and energy to get inside. If a varmint only had to go down a few inches before tunneling under the exposed wire those birds wouldn't have a chance within just a few minutes. The OP will also find out the proper nutrition and amount of food each bird needs from the getgo to survive to a healthy release stage and I don't believe maggots/meal worms are on that list! Perhaps our other member shouldn't offer these "helpful" comments that don't appear to be the least bit accurate, even though well intended!

Here is just one link I quickly found that is from a place that has been in business for 50 years and has a lot of valuable information in it about raising birds from 5 day old chicks to adult size with a lot of great tips on construction of the places needed to keep them from that age until releasing, feeding, watering, etc. http://www.oakwoodgamefarm.com/pages/Tips-for-Raising

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 06-08-2015 at 06:50 AM. Reason: Put in link
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
I really hope that boy does not pay attention to your posts because you have not a clue about what you are talking about, Period, what you posted here about rasing pheasants is nonsense, period. Maggots and meal worms, give me a break. It takes about 100 lbs of food to raise 50 chicks to 6 weeks old, 2 lbs a day of feed for the 1st 6 weeks of a pheasant chicks life and about 1 lb a day from 6 weeks forward. All those maggots and meal worms would break you. Game bird feed has all the proper nutrients they need to grow. Pheasant shooter, please for your sake, ignore whay this guy says.
Do you use your head for anything but a hat rack? I "supplement" with Maggots and Meal worms. Five (big) buckets of each (I raise my own) on a rotating basis, that's a lot of Maggots and Meal worms. I try to mirror as closely as possible what they are going to be eating on release, especially the the younger ones, if I have to thin the flock because of conflict (pecking) or whatever. I wouldn't even know where to get Game Bird feed here and even if I did, it would likely cost an arm and a leg. I use what the expert (a buddy who has a small hatchery and aviary) recommends and what's available. He's been raising them forever (a few at a time). His place is right across the tracks from a grain elevator and processing plant.

I haven't had any starve or die from disease yet. Like I said, my only real failures are predators and people who walk up to the pen and shock the Pheasants into suicide. My pen is behind a hunting cabin in the woods and there is a walking path maybe 50 yards away. People get curious and walk up to the pen, sometimes with their Dogs and screaming kids, the Pheasants freak and hurt themselves.

I guess your way is better, feed them prepared mash and scratch, then when they get big enough toss them out in the middle of a field and they are going to magically find enough food to survive, even if they haven't a clue what real food looks like. Feeding them in the wild is setting the dinner table for predators. I release them into hedges and scatter them all over. A lot aren't watchful enough and get eaten. It gets even worse in the winter when the natural cover thins out.

Laying the wire on the outside of the enclosure flat on the ground tied tight to the bottom of the fence, with some dirt or whatever on top and anchored, works better than digging down. But maybe you will have to try it for yourself and see what works. If you have Foxes around, be prepared, they can really dig. Martens and Weasels can fit through small holes, cracks or crevices.

My goal is to try and keep a steady stable breeding population going, instead of the feast and famine type of pheasant hunting we used to have. We had a rash of Jays that really thinned out the Pheasant population, then a few years later a Crow invasion. Nest raiders and chick eaters. Fox get the adults and the younguns, I try to keep the Fox population in check.

One of my Terriers decided to follow a Rat Hole, dug two feet deep in about half an hour.

And by the way I really hope you'll warn us next time before you get your period.

Last edited by MudderChuck; 06-08-2015 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:44 AM
  #10  
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Just save it, I have been around raising millions of pheasants and yes I said millions, so save your claptrap for those who do not know better. Those birds were raised on special formula game bird food which has all they need except grit. Here is a young man who early in life is looking for advice to do things correctly and you are not helping him. Your story changes with every post, I don't really care if you try to blow smoke up the backsides of the adults here, they will figure it out but leave the kids alone. Not everyone is a naive as you appear to think, you are fooling nor impressing no one.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 06-08-2015 at 07:12 AM.
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