Raising Pheasants Syndicates

Raising Pheasants: Pen Construction (Part 7)

English_countryside
This is the seventh in our series regarding raising pheasants.

As they walk around the pen the birds will flock away from the predator and if there are not rounded corners the birds will crush up into it and become injured

To construct a permanent release pen you must make sure the area where it is to be built is cleared and level. First clear the area in the region of the perimeter fence. You cannot have a square shaped pen or rather the pen must not have corners at 90°. The release pen has to be oval in shape or have rounded corners when raising pheasants for this type of shooting. By doing this way it prevents birds from becoming injured or killed in the corner of the pen.

Foxes and other predators like to prowl around the release pen as obviously there is a large amount of prey living safely within it. As they walk around the pen the birds will flock away from the predator and if there are not rounded corners the birds will crush up into it and become injured.

so that when birds consider flying out of the pen into the surrounding cover crops and woodland they can see clearly if a predator is present
release_pen

Image Ann Cook and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

You will obviously need some access to the release pen itself and so there must be some form of gate or  two letting you in. These must be wired over to the full height of the fence as well. Mark out the pen on the ground noting the gate locations and ensure the area outside of the fence is clear to around 8 to 10 m. This is so that when birds consider flying out of the pen into the surrounding cover crops and woodland they can see clearly if a predator is present.

Pay attention to those who have done this before. There is no point raising pheasants the hard way!

Wire mesh comes in roles between 35 and 70 m long so plan to use as much of this as efficiently as possible. You will have to you bury the wire netting in a trench between 20 and 30 centimetres deep this will prevent foxes and other predators digging under the netting. Make sure your wire mesh netting up to the job 1/2 inch holes is sufficient.

Next stand up the netting and  burying it into the trench and clipping it to the wire
Yorkshire_pheasant_rearing_pen

Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Place posts 3 inches in diameter every 3 to 4 m apart so that the fence is at least 7 feet high you may need to place posts slightly deeper at the curved edges to prevent them being pulled over when you tighten the wire. Consider using using props made of 3 inch post to do this. Angle the posts at 45° and 6 inches deep before nailing or bolting it to the upright post. Bolting is preferable by drilling a hole through both posts and placing a bolt and nut.

On the top of each post place a 4 inch nails and hammer in place wire across these nails all the way around the perimeter and slowly pull it tight then place your high tensile wire staple to each post and tension it. You want to place the wire 2 feet apart so there will be three strands around the release pen. Next stand up the netting and  burying it into the trench and clipping it to the wire.

allow it to overhang on both sides again preventing vermin from accessing the release pen
release_pens

Copyright Ian Capper and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Continue around the entire release pen until you have stapled it to the gate posts at either of the gate. The gate posts themselves will need a bit more strength than the fence in general pull the wire tight across the two gateposts at either side to ensure the wire is structurally sound.

You will have to brace these posts with props so the wire and fence do not pull them apart. However the netting and wire must be loose enough so that no fox can climb it. If you pull the wire tight you will a) pull your post out eventually and b) ensure the fence is climb-able!

                  

 

You can make the gate itself out of strong wood I would suggest you use 2×2 inch beams. With some bracing in the middle screw the door gate together firmly and hang it from the gateposts ensuring that it closes. Staples netting to this gate and allow it to overhang on both sides again preventing vermin from accessing the release pen.

cut the wire in the fence wire around the fox grid by cutting it upwards and flaying out the sides
Release_Pens

Copyright John Haynes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Now that the pen is complete you have to make holes in the fence to allow birds to get back into the pen! These are ingenious devices called ‘popholes’, and have what is known as a ‘fox grid’ on each one it allows pheasants into the pen but ensures that fox’s are kept out.

You will need a pophole every 35 m around the perimeter of the pen. Place your fox grid on the ground and cut the wire in the fence wire around the fox grid by cutting it upwards and flaying out the sides. Use additional wire to ensure that this forms a funnel.

Pheasants will be able to hop through the fox grid but it will prevent foxes
Fox_grids

ImageAnne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Next you need to build wire mesh ‘fences’ about 12″ high into the exterior so that as birds wander around the exterior of the release pen they are directed into the funnel and into the release pen itself. Raising pheasants has enough difficulties of its own without losing additional birds due to their ineptitude. See Ane Burgess’s Image for the ideal funnel and fox grid design.

Pheasants will be able to hop through the fox grid but it will prevent foxes from entering through it. The fox grid also prevents your pheasants from exiting the pen.  As the fox grid is slightly above ground level and so the pheasants have to do flap their wings to get access to it. By doing this with their wings open they are unable to get through the fox grid itself self. Ingenious.

you will need quite a few feeding and drinking stations

Inside the release pen you will need to place a feeder for each group of 20 birds as well as drinkers at the same ratio. This could mean that you will need quite a few feeding and drinking stations. However, remember you have feeding stations outside of the release pen which could have been brought in from your brooder weather runs and overnight pens. Remember you there’s nothing wrong with scattering ‘some’ food on the ground within the release pen itself where pheasants congregate. Remember it is ‘some’ food not lots of it. You don’t want food rotting or to be attracting vermin.

Dia Llewellyn

                 

 

Raising Pheasants: Part 1

Raising Pheasants: Eggs Part 2

Raising Pheasants: The Weather Run Part 3

Raising Pheasants: The Release Pen Part 4

Raising Pheasants: Pen Construction Part 5

Raising Pheasants:  Keeping Pheasants Safe Part 6

Raising Pheasants: Predators Part 8

Raising Pheasants: Disease Control Part 9