How to raise pheasants

Eggs being provided, put them under a hen that has kept the nest three or four days, and if you set two or three hens on the same day you will have the advantage of shifting the good eggs. the hens having set their full time, such of the young pheasants as are already hatched put in a basket, with a piece of flannel, till the hen has done hatching. the brood now come put under a frame with a net over it and a place for the hen, that she cannot get to the young pheasants, but that they may go to her, and feed them with boiled egg cut small, boiled milk and bread, alum curd, a little of each sort and often. After two or three days they will be acquainted with the call of the hen that hatched them, may have their liberty to run on the grass-plat, or else, where observing to shift them with the sun and out of the cold winds; they need not have their liberty in the morning till the sun is up, and they must be shut up with the hen in good time in the evening. You must be very careful in order to guard against the distemper to which they are liable, in the choice of a situation for breeding the birds up, where no poultry, pheasants, or turkeys, etc., have ever been kept, such as the warm side of a field, orchard, or pleasure-ground, or garden, or even on a common, or a good green lane under circumstances of this kind, or by a wood side; but then it is proper for a man to keep with them under a temporary hovel, and to have two or three dogs chained at a proper distance, with a lamp or two at night.

The birds going on as before mentioned should so continue till September or (if very early bred) the middle of August. Before they begin to shift the long feathers in the tail, they are to be shut up in the basket with the hen regularly every night. For such young pheasants as are chosen for breeding stock at home, and likewise to turn out in the following spring, provide a new piece of ground, large and roomy for two pens, where no pheasants, etc., have been kept, and there put the young birds in as they begin to shift their tails. Such of them as are intended to be turned out at a future time, or in another place, put into one pen netted over, and leave their wings as they are, and those wanted for breeding put in the other pen, cutting one wing of each bird. the gold and silver pheasants pen earlier, or they will be off. Cut the wing often, and when first penned feed all the young birds with barley-meal, dough, corn, plenty of green turnips, and alum curd, to make which take new milk, as much as the young birds require, and boil it with a lump of alum, so as not to make the curd hard and tough, but custard-like.

A little of this curd twice a day, and ants' eggs after every time they have had a sufficient quantity of the other food. If they do not eat heartily, give them some ants' eggs to create an appetite, but by no means in such abundance as to be considered their food.

Not more than four hens should be allowed in the pens to one cock. Never put more eggs under a hen than she can well and closely cover, the eggs being fresh and carefully preserved. Short broods to be joined and shifted to one hen; common hen pheasants in close pens, and with plenty of cover, will sometimes make their nests and hatch their own eggs: but they seldom succeed in rearing their brood, being so naturally shy; whence should this method be desired, they must be left entirely to themselves, as they feel alarm even in being looked at. Eggs for setting are generally ready in April. Period of incubation the same in the pheasant as in the common hen. Pheasants, like the pea- fowl, will clear grounds of insects and reptiles, but will spoil all walltrees within their reach, by pecking off every bud and leaf.

Strict cleanliness to be observed, the meat not to be tainted with dung, and the water to be pure and often renewed. Food for grown pheasants, barley or wheat; generally the same as for other poultry. In a cold spring, hemp seed, or other warming seeds, are comfortable, and will forward the breeding stock.

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