Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science


Pheasant production using free-flying wild cooks and penned game-farm hens was evaluated during 1971. Hens were placed in 0.5-acre pens to compare production at density levels of 10, 20, and 40 hens per acre. Wild cooks entered the 0.5-acre pens the day following introduction of the game-farm hens. The greatest numbers of cooks were observed in the pens with the highest density of hens. Censusing in mid-March indicated a population of 12 to 15 wild cooks in the vicinity of the study pens. A known mortality of 31 hens occurred and percentage mortality was similar at each density level. Pulling of the primary wing feathers allowed a successful hen to leave the pen with her brood soon after hatching. Eighty-six percent of all eggs laid were placed in nests. Average clutch size for all nests was 9.7 eggs and for incubated nests 10.2 eggs. Of 213 nests established, 90 percent were incubated. Hens laid an average of 17.1 eggs per hen. The average fertility of eggs was 48 percent and hatchability was 13 percent. Eleven percent of the nests established were successful and 126 young were produced, an average of 0.9 young per hen. The average cost per chick produced was $11.99. Peak hatching occurred from June 1-8; an average brood size of 5.5 chicks was produced. A higher proportion of nests was located in alfalfa than in warm-season grasses when a choice was available. Incident light readings were lower and density of vegetation was higher in alfalfa than in warm-season grasses. Pheasants were produced by using wild cooks and penned game-farm hens; however, this method of raising pheasants is economically unsound unless a higher rate of reproduction can be attained.

Library of Congress Subject Headings



Includes bibliographical references (pages 33-35)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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