Do Pheasants Get Cold? (Explained)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Cold weather is a cause for concern. The chills and goosebumps will make you want to spend the entire day cuddled up in bed.

Staying outside in the cold can often result in a cough. A runny nose and other health issues may also suffice.

Is this true for pheasants as well? Do we have to be concerned about them in the cold, as well? Let us find that out.

Do Pheasants Get Cold?

Do Pheasants Get Cold

Yes, pheasants do get cold. Every living creature does. And Just like people, pheasants also show signs of cold. When cold, they will usually shiver.

However, they do well in cold weather. They have an innate ability that enables them to withstand cold temperatures.

Want to learn more about how pheasants deal with the cold? Then, keep reading.

Do Pheasants Like The Cold

Not at all, pheasants do not like the cold. If they did, I don’t think they will shiver.

During cold weather conditions, their warm feathers and body fat come in handy. But, fat reserves and warm feathers aren’t just enough.

Pheasants would usually need a dense habitat that breaks the wind and stops the snow, which in turn keeps them warm. 

Pheasants usually require more food in winter than in other seasons. They require up to 40% more food in winter. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on whether pheasants change color

What Do Pheasants Do When It’s Cold 

Pheasants, as previously said, do well in cold weather. Although, their behavioral characteristics are usually different in cold weather.

They would naturally exhibit specific characteristics that would help them live in frigid temperatures. 

Pheasants exhibit certain characteristics when they are cold. They include;

  • They eat more when they are cold. Pheasants eat large seeds during the winter. Cereal crops are also a source of food for them. Berries, leaves, and insects are among their favorite foods. 
  • They would usually feed on more proteins in this season. This is to enable them to have the energy required for this season. However, Food is usually scarce throughout the winter.
  • They use up more energy in cold temperatures. This is why they need more food in cold seasons.

Wild birds typically expend their energy escaping predators and scratching for food. This makes things a little more difficult for them. This is not the case with captive pheasants.

  • Pheasants normally store energy as a fat reserve and can go for days without food. Because feeding grounds are frequently covered by deep snow throughout the winter. This reduces the frequency of sorting for food. 
  • Pheasants normally prepare for winter by storing energy in the form of fat. This permits them to go without food for a few days. A healthy pheasant should be able to survive at least three days without eating.

This is not always the case with wild pheasants. In seasons like this, domesticated pheasants normally have an advantage. They are provided with food and shelter away from adverse weather conditions.

  • Pheasants usually prefer a dense tree to nest in. They do this mainly for warmth. 

They frequently ascend that high to avoid being eaten by ground predators, such as foxes. This is because it is difficult for them to get away from predators in the snow.

  • In cold weather, pheasants may only fly 60 or 70 yards before returning to the ground for protection. Most of the time, they would fly only 20 yards.
  • Pheasants have a difficult time moving in the snow. When things are snowy they can’t make their way through. They’ll be forced to sit tight until they can move around.

Where Do Pheasants Go When It Snows

Pheasants are grassland birds. Pheasants just like other birds would take cover during extreme weather conditions.

They will usually need a shade to protect them from heavy wind and from freezing to death.

Pheasants would usually prefer to nest in dense trees, as earlier stated. They’re also found in wooded areas like willows or hedgerows. This helps them to stay warm during this season. 

Pheasants are unlikely to be found moving around in the snow. They have a difficult time in the snow.

They can’t make their way through in the snow. They would usually sit tight in a particular place until they can move around.

Also check out this article I wrote on whether pheasants eat raisins

How To Care For Pheasants In Winter 

Since pheasants do well during the winter, is there a need to give them any special care at this time? The answer to this question is yes.

That pheasant’s do well in the winter does not mean that they should not be provided sufficient care throughout this season.

Their survival depends on how well you cater for them during this season. 

Below are ways to care for your pheasants in the winter. 

Provide them with enough food: First and foremost pheasants should be provided with enough feed in this season. As earlier stated, they require up to 40% more food in winter. Ensure they don’t run out of food. 

Ensure they have enough space in their pens: The space they require in winter is usually double what they need in other seasons. This allows them to peck for hydration. 

Provide them with cover: This prevents them from freezing to death. Pheasants have been said to suffocate due to ice accumulating on the birds’ heads and nostrils. This is also due to the lack of proper covering. 

Keep baby pheasants indoors: Do not keep baby pheasants in the outside pen during the winter season. Ensure Pheasants are fully feathered and old enough. Without this, they may not withstand some extreme temperatures.

What Temperature Is Too Cold For Pheasants

Pheasants are well equipped to survive chilly weather in winter. But they will feel cold if the temperature goes too low and if they are without a shade.

However, winter is normally marked by high pheasant mortality. So, in the real sense, no temperature is too cooled for them as long as they have proper coverage.

How Can You Tell If Pheasants Are Too Cold 

Pheasants aren’t particularly cold except in certain conditions. This condition involves; staying without a shade and other protective measures that can prevent them from dying of cold. 

However, they can survive freezing conditions. They have natural adaptive features that help them stay warm.

Generally, when birds are cold they will;

  • Frequently put his head down and tuck his beak into his chest.
  • They will shiver as well. It is said that shivering is a means of keeping themselves warm.

Do Pheasants Need Heat In Winter 

As much as pheasants do well in cold weather. They would usually need some sort of warm-up.

Pheasants would usually need a dense habitat that breaks the wind and stops the snow, which in turn keeps them warm. 

Pheasants also need more food during the winter season to generate some body heat as well.

Food is usually scarce throughout the winter. But just as earlier stated pheasants can go for up to three days without food. 

However, if they starve for long, it can lead to pheasants using up their fat reserves. When the fat reserves are depleted and the pheasants are unable to locate enough food to generate body heat, they consume their muscular tissues.

Birds have much higher metabolic rates and burn more energy to stay warm than we do. Hence they require more food.

Consider providing high-energy foods like suet, peanuts, and black oil sunflower seeds. 

Water is essential year-round, so adding a heated bird bath can help keep birds stay warm.

Can Pheasants Freeze To Death 

Pheasants are great with winter and they have amazing adaptive features to survive the winter seasons.

However, they can freeze to death. This can be due to a lack of shelter or shade. 

Having a shelter or shade no matter how small can prevent pheasants from freezing to death.

Similar to people who may cuddle for warmth, some small birds like tree swallows crowd together in shrubs, vines, and evergreen trees to share body heat.

Other smaller birds like parakeets and cockatiels are also at a higher risk of freezing. This is because they have a proportionately larger surface on their bodies.

This causes them to lose heat. These birds can generate heat, but only a smaller core volume is generated. 

During freezing nights, cold pheasants will fluff their feathers to trap heat and slow their metabolism to conserve energy.

As such, you may notice your birdie fluff-up and look like a tiny downy ball.

Generally, Birds will shiver when cold to raise their metabolic rate and generate more body heat as a short-term solution to extreme cold. 

Conclusion 

Pheasants, like all other living things, become cold. They may potentially freeze to death if sufficient care is not provided. 

Wild pheasants are fond of dense trees during the winter season. They go there to get proper covering and stay warm. 

Domestic pheasants, on the other hand, should be provided with enough cover and protection during this time. 

Finally, avoid keeping baby pheasants in a pen outside during winter. Pheasants should be kept in an outside pen only when they have developed many feathers.

They will be able to survive the cold in this manner. 

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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.