Is Keeping Pet Pheasants A Good Idea?

Do pheasants make good pets? As always the answer depends, but this time mostly on what you understand under the term “pets”. Many people keep them in one or another form and the use they get from these birds varies. In this article, I’m going to explain whether pheasants make good pets or not.

I know these beautiful game birds are very fascinating, not only because of their plumage. The behavior they show especially when breeding season begins is interesting to observe as well.

However, if you want to keep pheasants as pets (I’m not talking about using them as poultry and for eggs in this regard) you have to consider a few things. While they are easy to keep as livestock that doesn’t mean, that they necessarily make good pets.

#1 Pet Pheasants Are Legal

Many birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. For example, all birds of prey like falcons or eagles fall under this law.

Just like chickens, ducks, turkeys and quails, pheasants are legal to keep. So there is nothing to worry about.

It also doesn’t matter about which species of pheasants we talk about as there are the

  • golden pheasant
  • ring-necked pheasant
  • silver pheasant
  • lady Amherst’s pheasant
  • reeves’ pheasant
  • mikado pheasant

#2 Pheasants Are Not Domesticated

That sounds somewhat strange, as pheasants live site by site to humans for many centuries. However, domestication in a strict meaning relies on genetic change.

This can be found for example in chickens and scientists say, that pheasants might have been the first chickens a long time ago. [Source]

Wild instincts still control the behavior even of pet pheasants and the best taming process won’t change this fact.

#3 Taming Pheasants Takes A Lot Of Time

As I mentioned before, taming a pheasant is not easy. You would have to spend a lot of time to get the trust of your pets. You have to spend several hours a day in the run, hand feeding and touching them if possible.

Additionally taming is easier when the birds are young. Getting some that are just hatched should be your preference if you are looking for an exotic pet that actually likes (or has nothing against) to get petted. 

#4 Pheasants Can Fly

Pheasant flying

Of course, there are many birds (nearly all :-D) that can fly much better, but compared to chickens, they can really fly. Even though they prefer to run.

An adult pheasant can fly further than a mile and can reach up to 50 mph after he had launched.

You definitely have to take that into account when you build the aviary for your pet birds. Several square feet for roaming, an at least 5-foot high fence with a net that prevents escapes is the way to go.

#5 Keep Them Safe Of Predators

Depending on where you live, several predators will be interested in your pheasants. Foxes and coyotes, as well as minks or birds of prey, are some natural enemies. But cats and dogs that live in your neighborhood can also be curious.

Make sure that the fence is sturdy and clamped thoroughly also take a second look at the net that covers the whole run.

#6 Be Prepared For Daily Routines

Owning birds is nothing for people that can’t take responsibility. You need to lock in your pets at night and let them out again every morning.

Additionally, you need to feed them fresh food and water every day.

If you go on vacation you have to always find other people who are willing to do the job.

#7 Pheasants Are Social Animals

Fighting male pheasants

Pheasants are social animals and like to live in pairs at least. You would do best to buy two females and one male.

Avoid keeping two males in the same aviary under all circumstances. Not later than breeding season, they will start to fight over the females.

You can keep pheasants as well with almost all other birds you can imagine. Chickens, ducks and geese are very good roommates if you plan to have more than one species.

#8 Pet Pheasant Life Expectancy In Captivity

In the wild pheasants become 3 to 4 years old. Of course, this is much different in captivity. If you take good care, you expect your pets to become 10 years old.

Some websites report about pheasants that got nearly 20 years old. 

So you should be aware that getting a pet like this can be a long commitment.