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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Daniel E. Hubbard


In many localities winter food plots of corn am/or sorghum are used to enhance the over-winter survival of ring-necked pheasants. Yet, few studies have been conducted evaluating the benefits provided by winter diets of com and/or sorghum to pheasants. 1be gut morphology and body condition of 110 pen-reared hen pheasants fed ad libitum and restricted (112, 147, 173 kcal/bird/day) corn and sorghum diets were evaluated in the winters of 1990-91 and 1991-92.Durinq the same winters, in eastern south Dakota, the gut morphology and body condition of 98 wild hen peasants collected from areas containing food plots of com, sorghum, com/sorghum, and from areas without food plots were also evaluated. Intestinal size and body condition did not differ between ad libitum diets in pen experiments. Fed restricted diets, there were few differences in gut size or condition between diets within rations. Between rations, all diets combined intestinal weights were largest on 147 kcal/bird/day rations, but intestinal lengths were longest on 112 kcal/bird/day rations suggesting a biphasic response of these organs to variations in diet quality. Wild hens consuming wild foods or soybeans had lower fat reserves and larger guts than hens consuming com or sorghum grains indicating a lower quality diet. Wild foods are low in energy content and high in fiber, while soybeans contain trypsin; a digestive inhibitor that lowers the metabolizable energy content of the diet. Wild hens collected from areas without food plots had larger intestines and lower fat reserves than hens collected from areas with food plots both winters. Hens without food plots had crops 75-85% wild foods and soybeans both winters. Hens shot from sorghum plots had larger intestines and lower fat reserves than hens shot from corn or corn/sorghum food plots, but hens from sorghum plots seldom fed in sorghum plots. When supplying adequate winter food is the goal of management managers should feel free to plant either corn or sorghum in winter food plots for pheasants, but soybeans may be a poor choice because of the digestive inhibitor they contain.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ring-necked pheasant--South Dakota--Feeding and feeds
Ring-necked pheasant--South Dakota--Wintering
Corn as feed
Sorghum as feed


Includes bibliographical references (pages 49-53)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright 1989 Todd R. Bogenschutz. All Rights Reserved.