DEC accepting applications for Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting applications for its cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program. In 2013, the DEC distributed 41,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen applicants.

When the program started in the early 1900s, pheasant eggs and chicks were distributed to farmers and rural youth. Today, day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site.

Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May or June. No chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program can be released on private shooting preserves. All release sites must be approved in advance by the DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities. The program is funded through the state Conservation Fund from license fees paid by hunters, trappers, and anglers.

Daily care is necessary to monitor the health of the birds and to ensure that there is adequate feed and water for the rapidly growing chicks. The pheasants may be released beginning when they are eight weeks old and no later than Dec. 1.

Albany, Schenectady, and Schoharie county residents who are interested in the program should call 607-652-7367.

Applications for the Pheasant Release Program must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15, 2014 A “Pheasant Rearing Guide” and additional information on the Day-Old Chick Program is available on the DEC website at

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