Phesants: Do they HAVE to have a cage? What are the oods..


10 Years
Feb 2, 2011
Davis, CA
Do they HAVE to have a cage? What are the odds pheasants sticking around if I raise them and leave them outside without a closed coop? Like pea fowl...??

Are they noisy? Do they eat your plants (compared to chickens? Compared to guinea?)

Thank you.
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Yes, you must cage them. Pheasants will fly away most likely and you should contact your state DNR to see if your even allowed to own them. Some states are stindgy about that.
Actually you can free range some pheasant species, but not all of them. To get them to stay you need to do several things, first they have to really know where "home" is, you can't just let them go outside and expect them to stay. I have never done this because I keep some of the more expensive species but I know at least 2 people who free range male silver pheasants. Both of them do it with birds older then 2 years (full adult plumage) and the birds were raised on the property in pens from chicks to 2 years old. The other thing they did was to pen females and always feed in the same place. The males don't stray far from the females and know right where the food is so they stick around. This is not a guarantee and they are not territorial so if something makes them leave such as a predator chasing them or if they do go somewhere else you have lost the bird, and if you don't have females in pens or try to free range females they have no reason to hang around so again, you have lost your birds. All in all I would not try this, but it can be done under some circumstances. Pea fowl are also able to be free ranged, but they also may just leave. Many zoo's free range pea fowl and I have seen them wondering around in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains near Folsom so they came from somewhere.

As far as legality there are few rules about free ranging non-native pheasants as long as the species is legal to own. Chickens are a species of pheasant and it is legal to free range them in most situations, there may be local ordinances or if you live in a city or situation where the birds will effect your neighbors, but if you live in those situations you probably should pen your birds for other reasons. I live in CA where the wildlife rules are the most restrictive (I have worked with animals all of my life and have done all aspects of keeping them including collection, importation, breeding and sales of wildlife to public and private zoo's, public aquariums and some private collections so I pay attention to the state and federal laws very closely) and it is legal to keep most birds except native species, raptors and certain endangered species, I am not sure how they decide on the endangered species because many pheasants are endangered but they are legal to keep, and there are no cage requirements for most species. There are rules to things like ostriches and endangered species, but if you follow the rules even these species can be kept in this state. There are also rules to non-native but established species such as ring necked pheasants. Ring necks are the only "native" species of pheasant and they not actually native but were brought over by the Chinese in the 1800's from China where they are native and now are found in almost every states as wukd birds with fully sustainable breeding populations.

As I mentioned I don't think you should free range a pheasant, but they are going to be your birds so if it is what you want to do there are ways to maximize your chance of success, but be prepared to lose birds if you try it.
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