Hello from a newbie


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 15, 2012
Cloverdale, BC
So I've kept ducks and chickens before, I still have my muscovies, but I've always wanted to keep pheasants as my grandfather did. So three months ago I found a source and ordered my chicks, I got 6 1 day old chicks a little more then a week ago, lost three but I think I have two girls and a boy which is what I wanted.
My source was a guy with an incubator who was able to pick up eggs from the Canadian pheasant company in Alberta, I'm in British Columbia and no one seems to keep pheasants here, I was hoping that he would let them grow a little but he wanted them gone as soon as they were hatched, not sure if that, feed, warmth or just me being new was reason for the loss.

But I still have three! I'm feeding them 22% unmedicated chick starter as my feed company sold the game bird feed I had ordered before I could pick up, yes the luck I have, I'm planning on switching them over at 2-3 weeks. They grow so fast and are pretty impressed with themselves now that they can fly a little.

They are Ringneck pheasants, I have no idea if they are related, but three out of a batch of 80 eggs I think there is a good chance that they are not, hoping I got a least a pair but I have a while to go.
So please, tell me books I should read or feed info I should know, I seem to be reading a lot about cannibalism issues with birds that are overcrowded.
I'm keeping them as hobby birds, to eat and breed and be as calm and friendly as I can make them, I have one that will hop onto my hand and is a sweetheart, the other two are a little less trusting unless I have something to peck at.
Thank you to anyone who takes the time to tell me pheasant tales, hoping to learn as much as I can, I really love the ringnecks maybe when I have some more experience I will look for my other pheasant favorite the gray peacock pheasant, but not yet.
I also keep& breed netherland dwarf bunnies, wondering if the pheasants and bunnies would be ok in a large run together, but we'll see about that.
Hello BYC.
There could be a wide variety of reasons that you lost half of your chicks, and no guarantees, but using a non medicated feed could be the main reason for that as they are suseptable to so many different things at a young age. I would definately reccomend you getting a medicated game bird feed (28% protein) ASAP because game birds need a higher protein than other birds, in specific they need BOTH animal and plant protein in their food; and then you can switch to non medicated at around 6 weeks. Cannibalism shouldnt be a problem as long as you have sufficient space; 1 sq foot per bird from 2-6 weeks and 4 sq foot minimum for birds from 6 weeks-mature. From 7 weeks on, if you have more than male, you will be required to put peepers on them or you will end up having only one male left, all the rest will be dead shortly if they're not removed or don't have peepers. And as for the rabbits and the birds together; I wouldn't reccomend that at all in my opinion. I'd say it's safe for the bird, health wise, to live with a rabbit; but not safe for the rabbit, health wise, to live with the bird. I raise Californian rabbits myself and I have their cages right next to the bird pens, but I would never let them come in direct contact with each other for health reasons. Hope that helps some, and good luck with the rest of your birds!
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Thank you so much Drowe, I plan to pick up my game bird feed this weekend and start a slow switch over, I was told by the hatcher and my feed store not to use medicated bird feed, so I took their advice. There was a mix up with my last order which is why they got the chick starter for their first two weeks, I live in a very remote place so trips into town can only be made once a week.

I promise not to put my bunnies in the pheasant run, it was just a funny thought. The run is a small shed with a larger outdoor area all fenced in, I plan to put them outside at 5-6 weeks or when there feather have come in a little better and I know that there are no little holes they can escape from. For now I have them in a 4'x4' box inside the house, but they seem ready for more space already, I wanted to make a little 5' x 3' wire cage to put them in so the could have a place to be outside in on a nice day to eat some bugs and grass but I don't want to rush them, at the same time I want them to get used to being outside.

Are there any plants that I should make sure they can't come into contact with?
In regards to the medicated vs non medicated feed question, you could ask as many people as you wanted about that and theyd all have different opinions on it. From what I understand, if you raise the chicks on wire, they dont need the medicated, but if you raise them on litter you do to prevent coiccidis ( or however it is spelled) and other dieseases that come from them eating their own droppings. As for all the feed stores around my house, all that is sold in gamebird chick starter feed is the medicated kind, so I dont have the option of choosing. All depending on where you live, you could move your chicks outside earlier than 5-6 weeks if you wanted as long as nights are not getting cold anymore. I moved all my ringnecked and chukar chicks outside at about 3-4 weeks and they did fine. I live in Virginia and night temps have been 60-65 and up to 70 on occasion. I do have a heat lamp in thir wire floor cage cut on very low, but thats more for light for them to eat at night than for heat. I'm not sure about the plants, but Im sure some people on here could answer that on here for you. I do know that buttercup flowers are poisonous to the effect of causing severe blisters and can cause death to rabbits and other livestock, so I would avoid them to be safe.
So my 3 have made it to 3 weeks and I've been putting them outside in a wire cage on the nice days to get some sun and get used to being outside, it has been raining a lot here in BC.
I found them a 26% game bird feed, still trying to get a higher 29% but I do find them crickets, spiders and ants to peck at so they get a little extra from that.
Trying to watch for evidence of pecking and so far they seem happy and are growing like crazy, there little tail feathers are too cute.

I still think I have two girls and a boy, when will a pheasants plumage start to change so I know for sure? Anyone?
Sometimes you can look at there eyes. The males will have wrinkles around there eyes. I have also noticed you can sometimes look at the legs to see if there are little bumps on them and if so they will grow into the spurs on the males.
So had my first pecking incident 2 days ago, a male and female decided they didn't like the 2nd female and attacked her head during the night, was quite bad and I'm afraid for her although she's alert and seems to be in no pain, it just looks so bad! I separated her from the pair and I have her inside in a temp pen while I keep an eye on her, which is hard while I'm doing 10hr shift at work and worrying about whether or not she will still be peeping when I get home.

The wound seems to be healing alright, she was the more timid of the three birds and I was hoping they could be a trio but I'm not sure if I want to leave her alone with the pair again. It's my fault, the chicks outgrew there juvenile home, they were due to move up to there new pen this weekend and I was delaying the move until I could do it when I had some time to watch them and make sure they were alright in the new pen together, so feeling dumb.

Sorry guys.

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