During the first six to eight weeks of life, insects provide young pheasant chicks with the protein they require to grow. During this life stage, young pheasant chicks are dependent on their mother to lead them to food. Likewise, your young pheasants will be dependent upon you to meet their dietary requirements.
Fortunately, many reputable grain dealers have rations specifically developed for game birds that provide the required vitamins and nutrients.
Feed supplied to day-old chicks should be high in protein (27 percent for the first six weeks), with protein levels reduced as chicks mature. Turkey starter is usually a good substitute for game bird starter.
Feeding whole grain today-old chicks generally is not recommended. See local feed dealers for recommendations and availability of feed.
Once the proper food has been obtained, small chick feeders are available through poultry dealers, but old plates and shallow containers will suffice. Place feeders within the brooding area away from the headlight, but near enough to allow chicks to stay warm while feeding. Many pheasant chicks raised in captivity die from lack of food, so be sure to monitor your chicks when you first place them in the brooder to ensure they are eating.
Sprinkling food on the floor of the brooder in small amounts may help chicks locate food, but this can be messy. Overall, what is most important is that your chicks can locate food and you have observed them eating the food you have provided.
Water also is important for growing chicks. Wild pheasant chicks are able to meet their demands for water through insect consumption and dew on the vegetation when living in natural landscapes; however, your chicks will be dependent upon you. Numerous types of waterers are available. Regardless of which one you choose, fresh water always should be made available. Young chicks can become engulfed easily in many waterers, so take precautions to prevent drowning. Marbles, rocks or other objects can be placed in large waterers and have been found to greatly reduce the occurrence of drowning.
Waterers should be placed away from the brooding light, and chicks should be monitored when first placed into the brooder to ensure they are drinking. Dipping the beak of each pheasant chick into water and feed also helps the chick learn what it is and where it is. Again, keep detailed notes of things you find that work and don’t work concerning food and water. Be sure to keep the feeding and drinking area clean by washing water and food dispensers often.