People all over the country have a great time raising small birds. If you’ve got a large yard, it can be perfect for raising chickens that will give you plenty of eggs and come running when you show up with a treat just like a four-legged pet.
Ducks and geese are also a popular bird for people with larger plots. If you are on a farm or have a lake on your property, these birds can be fantastic animals to own.
Pheasants are another wonderful bird to raise on your farm. While this may sound like an exotic choice, these small game birds are actually commonly mistaken for chickens.
Pheasants aren’t chickens. Some people mistake pheasants for wild chickens, but they’re a completely different kind of bird. They’re game birds that you’ll typically see in the wild, but you can also raise pheasants if you’ve got the space.
The bottom line is that pheasants have some similarities to chickens, but overall are quite different.
Here is some information on some of the differences between chickens and pheasants that will help you know whether raising baby pheasants is for you.
Baby Pheasants vs Chicks
Sometimes people who have raised chicks in the past feel that raising pheasants is basically the same thing.
There are some things that you can do the same, for sure, but raising pheasants is, literally, a different animal. Here are some things you should know:
Pheasants can be aggressive
Pheasants tend to be much more aggressive than baby chickens. They’ll pick at each other and, in some instances, can turn to cannibalism.
This is something that almost every kind of bird experiences, but the consensus is that pheasants are the worst offenders.
They need game bird feed
Another difference is that pheasants, because they are game birds, need to eat only game bird feed. Of course, this is particularly important when they are babies. Eating the wrong food, or even eating parts of their litter, can impact their gizzards and kill them.
They love to escape
Pheasants are not domestic animals. Even farm-raised pheasants will have a lot of wild in them.
They’ll always be looking to escape, and they won’t warm up to you even if you spend hours and hours feeding and caring for them.
Pheasants are more skittish than chickens. When you go in to feed them or fix something in the enclosure, you’ve got to be very careful because they’ll jump at the chance to escape.
They are smaller birds
Pheasants are usually smaller than chickens, so naturally, baby pheasants are very small. They’re fragile and can die easily, so that’s something you should be aware of before you try raising some.
Once Your Pheasants Are Fully Grown
If you let your pheasants out to roam on the property, there’s a good chance you’ll never see them again. They’ll run and fly away and make their own roosts far away from people and other animals.
That’s why a lot of pheasant owners keep their birds in covered pens with an outdoor space where they can walk around.
Pheasants love to roost like chickens do, but prefer multiple roosts at various levels to be the most comfortable.
They also love to stay outside in all temperatures.
Chickens are more inclined to run to the roost and stay there when it’s raining outside or very cold in the winter. Pheasants, on the other hand, are much more durable birds. You’ll see them outside in all types of weather conditions.
Pheasant vs Chicken Egg Laying
We get a lot of questions about pheasant eggs. Yes, you can eat pheasant eggs. They’re not the same as chicken eggs. They usually have a stronger flavor with a deep, dark yellow yolk. They’re also a lot smaller than chicken eggs.
Pheasants also don’t lay eggs all year as chickens do.
Most of the time, you can count on going out to the coop for a chicken egg every day or every other day. With pheasants, however, birds lay eggs during a breeding season that takes place in the spring and summer of each year.
Typically, a pheasant will lay a couple of dozen or a few dozen eggs during this period.
You can cook pheasant eggs up much the same way you would any chicken egg. They’re good, just a bit different than the chicken eggs we are all so used to.
What Pheasants Taste Like
It’s easy to say that pheasant meat tastes like chicken. While this is true to some extent, it’s sort of like saying that duck meat tastes like chicken.
Pheasant meat has a gamey taste that tastes very distinct. You’ll know you’re eating something different.
The way your pheasant tastes will also hinge a lot on whether the bird was farm-raised or hunted in the wild. Farm-raised animals will have a duller flavor with a muted hint of gamey flavor.
Most of the time, you’ll see pheasant prepared in a pie casserole, braised with things like onions, bacon, potatoes, mushrooms, and other earthy flavors.
Pheasant meat isn’t exactly easy to find on local menus. Most of the time pheasant is served in traditional restaurants or fine-dining settings.
Still, if you’re thinking about raising pheasants as a food source, you should probably try the meat a few times before you take the leap. Otherwise, you risk going to all of that effort for something you won’t love.
The Bottom Line
In the end, pheasants are pretty different from chickens. Families everywhere raise chickens as a fun activity to do together that yields eggs, companionship, and, in many cases, poultry meat.
Raising baby pheasants isn’t going to be the same experience, but there can be a lot of positives around raising these unique, beautiful birds.
Do the research before you buy to make sure you can get baby pheasants through those crucial first few weeks and months of life. Then, you’ll be amazed at how majestic they look and how much fun owning pheasants can be.