Can Pheasants Eat Chicken Feed? (Answered)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

As a pheasant owner knowing the right diet and feed to give to your birds is important as it will affect the level of their growth and development.

Pheasants can eat chicken feed however it is highly recommended that pheasants are fed game bird diet or in the absence of that turkey feed.

To raise quality healthy pheasants, chicken feed will not be adequate for them as pheasants are game birds and they require a higher percentage of protein content to develop.

As chicks pheasants require a 29% starter diet which is higher than what chickens require.

This article will explain the health benefits of chicken feed, the dangers of feeding pheasants chicken feed and how you can use chicken feed for pheasants.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Chicken Feed?

Can Pheasants Eat Chicken Feed

High quality chicken feed is quite nutritious and healthy to poultry animals and some of the nutrients contained in chicken feed includes:

  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates supply us with the required energy we need to function throughout the day. Carbohydrates are supplied in starch, sugars, cellulose amongst others. The chickens are able to utilize the starch and sugars for their daily activites. 

Grains such as corn, millet, wheat and barley are quite important sources of carbohydrates in chicken feed. 

  • Protein

Proteins are very important to chickens and other poultry animals. Proteins when broken down provide amino acids which are responsible for strong bone, beak, egg and muscle formation and also ensures the egg quality is top notch.

A hen loses as much protein laying an egg as a human needs to give birth. As such protein content is usually very high in chicken feed to supplement this loss. 

Chicken feed usually has different sources of protein as they require about 22 different amino acids for daily functioning and growth.

Some sources of protein in chicken feed include, soybean meal, fishmeal, meat and bone meal. All these help to make the required protein content.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on feeding pheasants with apples

  • Fats

Fats are quite important for poultry even though in small quantities. There are soluble fats and insoluble fats 

Fa provides quite a large number of calories which is converted to energy. Fat can produce about 9 calories of energy per gram which is higher than that of carbohydrates.

Fats are important for chickens to stay energized and active throughout the day. 

Fat also provides poultry with the fatty acid linoleic acid which reduces blood cholesterol in the body.

Fat also helps poultry break down the fat soluble Vitamins which are A, D, E and K. 

Fat is provided in chicken feed by oils such as canola oil and soya oil and larder fat or poultry fat. 

  • Vitamins

Vitamins are very important in the chickens feed to help the poultry animals for healthy body functions, growth and the reproduction process.

A number of vitamins including A, C , B series and K are all required by poultry in small quantities.

Those small quantities however are quite important and should not be overlooked. 

Vitamins are provided in chicken feed by alfalfa meal and distilled solubles.

  • Minerals

Minerals are an important health compound that should never be overlooked in poultry feed. Some of the minerals required by poultry include:

  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium 
  • Selenium 

These minerals are very important for blood cell formation, muscle growth and development, enzyme formation and metabolism.  

Limestone and oyster shells are mineral suppliers in chicken feed. 

How Often Can I Feed Them Chicken Feed?

Pheasants should not be fed chicken feed as their staple diet as it doesn not give them the required nutrients that they need.

Pheasants are game birds and usually require feed high in protein nutrient as compared to the domesticated chickens.

Placing your pheasants on a  chicken feed diet will not help them grow as healthy as they should.

If you are unable to lay your hands on game bird feed then you can also go with turkey feed as turkeys and pheasants are from the same family and share some of the same characteristics. 

Raising your pheasants on chicken feed will only leave you with underdeveloped less quality pheasants.

If you run out of feed options you can feed them chickens feed but ensure you get their proper feed as soon as possible.

Can Pheasants Eat Chick Starter?

Pheasants and chicks require a diet higher in protein than chick starter feed. A chick starter feed usually has about 22% protein which is enough to sustain the chicken.

However for the game bird which includes pheasants, their chicks require about 29-30% protein nutrients in their first 3 weeks of life.

This is necessary for their growth and maturity. Some experienced flock keepers reported that chick starter could clog up the pheasant chicks digestive systems and end up killing them.

It might be necessary to get some pheasant bird starter feed on your hands before buying their chicks or if that is not available then turkey starter will do fine. 

What Are The Dangers Of Chicken Feed For Pheasants?

The most important requirement for a pheasant is the protein in the diet. Proteins are important in these birds to maintain their plumage and also for muscle and beak formation.

Raising your pheasants on a chicken feed diet typically means you are raising unhealthy and underdeveloped pheasant birds.

Feeding them chick starter can cause quite a number of deaths among the chicks and cause the adults to be weaker.

The quality of their egg and meat will also reduce and they might be more prone to diseases and infection.

To avoid unnecessary issues the best way is to provide your pheasants with the necessary required diet and amount of protein they need to grow successfully. 

How To Use Chicken Feed For Pheasants?

If you have to feed chicken feed to your pheasants at all costs then ensure it is high quality chicken feed.

If it is possible to mix the feed yourself and add a higher protein ratio, it’ll make the chicken feed more palatable and nutritious for the pheasants.

Just like their game bird feed, serve them the feed in their feeders and clean up the leftovers so it doesn’t get moldy and attract predators or worse cause them to get sick when they eat up the leftovers.

You can also supplement the chicken feed with grains which are high in protein content such as wheat, corn and millet.

This will help the pheasants to stay more balanced than if they focus on only the chicken feed.

Things To Consider Before Feeding Them Chicken Feed

It is always best to go with the recommended game bird diet for your pheasants as chickens and pheasants do not have the same dietary needs nor do they have the same feed requirements.

If you are going to feed chicken feed to your pheasants at all costs which is highly inadvisable anyway, get them a mix of chicken feed that is higher in protein content so it can serve their dietary needs and would not stunt their growth.

Avoid feeding chick starter to your pheasant chicks, buy a game bird starter diet from any store around you and if they do not have then buy turkey starter.

Turkey starter might be more easy to purchase but you can easily replace the pheasant diet with turkey diet as they have about the same nutritional requirements.

To keep your pheasants healthy and ensure they have superior egg and meat production, provide them with their required staple diet and other supplementary meals.


Chicken feed is quite healthy and delicious and is good for chickens and a host of other birds which do not require a high amount of protein content. 

Pheasants however have a high protein requirement and as such they cannot eat chicken feed and develop  at the right pace.

The best feed for pheasants is game bird feed and an easy replacement is the turkey diet which can be given to both chicks and adults. 

Photo of author

About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox