This year’s pheasant chicks have arrived. We purchased 100 chicks from MacFarlane Pheasants, out of Wisconsin, for about $1.00 per bird (including shipping). In years past the cheapest we have been able to purchase day old chicks was about $1.80 plus almost $25 in shipping costs.
The birds come through the US Postal Service and arrive all squished in one box.
I have always been impressed with the service from the post office; they call us the minute the truck arrives so we can come get them as soon as possible (typically around 7am). With the hundreds of day old chicks we have ordered through the mail we have never had a chick die during shipping, they always arrive healthy, happy, and hungry!
Raising pheasant chicks is a bit different from raising back yard chickens. First of all we plan to let these birds free into the wild on the hunting preserve so they need to be as undomesticated as possible to increase their chance of survival. Because of this we try to handle them as little as possible and limit their exposure to human contact.
After a quick trip to the post office the birds are immediately placed into a brooding box where the temperature is well maintained. March in Southern Utah is still very cold so the day old chicks can’t be left outside. We keep the brooding box in the garage (or the barn) with a heat lamp on. These day old chicks are very small and VERY fragile! Even with the warm light the chicks may have a tenancy to pile on top of each other often killing the ones on the bottom.
Every year when the new chicks arrive I am amazed at how much water they drink. We prefer to use small Mason Jar water containers (with rocks in the bottom) to reduce the chances of the birds falling in and drowning. We have two bottles in the brooder and they have to be filled about twice a day during the first couple of weeks; and more often than that as the birds continue to grow.
Pheasant chicks (like Chickens) do not need to eat or drink for the first 2-3 days after hatching. In the days prior to hatching the birds absorb the lining and fluid inside the egg that provides them with sufficient nutrition for their first few days in the outside world. However, by the time they make it across the country and into the brooding box they are ready for something to eat! We feed our birds a high protein game bird chick start to help them grow strong and fast!
Raising wild game birds can be fun and rewarding but keep in mind that most states require special permits and licenses!! Contact your local division of wildlife.