This has actually been a bit of a busy week and weekend. Yesterday we did a lot of planting to bulk out the garden, and we also got hold of four Ringneck Pheasants! They are only babies, so they have yet to survive growing up and all, but they may change the way we are doing some things around here. Pheasant’s are impossible to sex when young, so we don’t know what we’ve got as of yet, but of course we hoped to increase our odds of getting a breeding pair by getting four rather than two as we were originally thinking. The local True Value sold us the birds for $3.99 each.
Here are the four Pheasants in the box. I cut a hole in the side and set it into the little cage I have been using for my young chicks. I was thinking that the bedding would stay in the box and not all over the floor of the cage, keeping the bedding away from the food and water, thus keeping them cleaner and easier to manage. Not that I have had troubles with that before with other chicks!
Here is a close up of one of the Pheasants. They are smaller than the chicken chicks we have had in the past, yet the females will grow up to 25 inches long, and the males up to 35 inched long. These amazing birds are also meant to fly as fast as 60 miles per hour in short bursts of flight. I think they may either have their wings clipped, or they may move into the chicken coop in order to keep them close to home! Well, at least till I can learn more about them! I have been advised by one person that they would likely stay close to where the food is! I would like them to breed and make more birds before these go bye-bye into a pot! But as I said, I cannot even tell what gender they are, so there is no chance of even knowing if that is possible till after they are old enough to get their feathers in!
To accommodate the Pheasants, I had to move some young chicks out to a cage in the backyard. Those chicks were the three Silver Laced Wyandot chicks we had recently picked up, and the Ameraucana Rooster and Hen my oldest picked up a couple of days ago, which were as old as the Wyandot chicks. They all are two fences away from the open desert, while the two chicks that were in there, a Dominique and an Ameraucana are now living in a new “adaptation pen” I built onto the side of the coop for the sake of introducing chicks before letting them in with the others.
I think I may be building laying boxes in the yard if all the chickens run free range out there, and I will put the Pheasants in the coop to keep them from getting away. This would put my eggs closer to a free-range category, but I think the amount of feed I have to supplement in the absence of adequate insect supplies would keep them shy of fully making that category.
And to think, I am still thinking of Turkeys!
I am not so sure about getting geese as well as these ducks we have around here. Water Fowl are not as much fun to me as the non-watery type. Too much water required to keep them happy, and that is a bit difficult where we are in a desert environment.
Watch this space as we learn our way through Pheasant raising!
The Prospering Pheasant… uh, I mean Peasant!