Pheasant Folly

Sally thought it would be neat to try raising some pheasants that we could eventually release on the farm. So when she suggested it, we were game: After all, we’ve raised chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys – how hard could it be to raise pheasants?

Brian ordered a batch of day-old common pheasants, and we installed them in a brooder in our basement, since all the stalls in the chick barn were already occupied by meat and layer chicks. The pheasant chicks were tiny and cute – and incredibly fast!

One morning Brian opened the door to the basement, and there on the top step stood a wee pheasant chick. “How did you get all the way up here?” Brian asked. The chick looked up at him and then flew down to a corner of the basement. “Oh – you can fly!”

Brian went down the steps and saw several tiny shapes darting across the concrete floor. Uh-oh. I went down to help him catch them all – it took awhile, they’re speedy little buggers! Brian promptly constructed a “fence” to extend the height of the brooder box, and hung netting across the top to keep them in. Whenever we entered the basement, we could hear them fluttering around in there.

When they were big enough, we moved them to an outside pen. And one day we released them. They scattered and disappeared without a backward glance. Who knows where they are now?

Months later, as I was walking through the woods between the milking parlor and home, I was startled by a flash of red and teal. It was so fast, it seemed almost a trick of the eye. I smiled, remembering: Just as fast as when it was a chick, racing across our basement floor.