Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science


Wing-clipped wild pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) were stocked in 1-acre and 0.5-acre pens having oat and bromegrass cover in 1972 and 1973 to test effects of fertilizer (Formulations: 34-0-0, 18-46-0, 0-46- 0, and 0-0-60) on pheasant reproduction and survival. One-half of the pens were fertilized with the recommended rate of pelleted fertilizer and the other half without fertilizer. Complete nest searches in July showed that nesting success was not significantly different (P>0.05) between treatments for both years. No significant difference (P>0.05) was found in clutch size or in number of ovulated follicles from control and experimental hens. Significantly more (P<0.05) hens survived in control pens in 1972 because of greater avian predation on experimental hens. In 1973 no significant difference (P>0.05) was found between hens surviving for nesting. In both years no significant differences (P>0.05) occurred in weight losses of hens between treatments. Six-week-old game farm pheasants were stocked in 144-square-foot pens to determine survival differences and fertilizer ingestion in 1972 and 1973. Of the 147 birds exposed to fertilizer, only one percent died as a result of fertilizer ingestion. No significant differences (P>0.05) were found in weight changes between experimental and control birds. Variable results were obtained from chemistry tests of crop-gastric tracts from killed birds that voluntarily ate fertilizer pellets with feed. Battery brooder experiments with three-day-old pheasant chicks resulted in 15 percent mortality of 40 chicks as a result of ingestion of pelleted fertilizer. No significant difference (P>0.05) occurred in weight changes between treatment groups. In 1972 and 1973 hen pheasants were given single weekly capsules containing 0, 100 mg, 300 mg, and 900 mg of a fertilizer mixture. No significant difference (P>0.05) occurred in either year for egg production between treatment groups. For the two years only eight percent of the experimental hens died from fertilizer. No significant differences (P>0.05) occurred in weight changes between treatment groups for 1972 and 1973. There were no significant differences (P>0.05) between treatment groups in egg fertility, hatchability, pipping rates, eggshell thickness, crippling of chicks, visual cliff chick behavior, response of chicks to hand catching, and survival and weights of chicks at six weeks of age. It was concluded that fertilizer does not affect reproduction of wild pheasants in agricultural areas of South Dakota. However, some mortality probably occurs from ingestion of fertilizer by both chicks and adult birds.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pheasants -- Ecology
Agricultural runoff


Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-78)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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