Pheasant

Most pheasants grown in North America for meat are either Chinese ring-neck (Phasianus colchicus lorquatus) or

Mongolian (P. colchicus mongolicus) or commercial stocks derived from these. Pheasants are native to Asia and have been widely imported into North America as a game bird. The plumage of both species differs dramatically between males and females. Males have striking plumage color with a white ring around the neck. The Chinese male has a continuous white neck ring whereas the ring on the Mongolian male does not close under the beak. The Mongolian pheasant is about 10 to 20% larger in body weight than the Chinese. A white-feathered mutant pheasant is sometimes raised for meat in North America. This bird processes well, and no dark pinfeathers are visible. Under natural light pheasants produce about 50 eggs in the spring; reproduction then stops as the birds become refractory to the long days. The birds can be cycled to produce again in about 13 weeks by exposing them to a short day length for 9 to 10 weeks in a light-controlled facility. Pheasants are often sold in an eviscerated, whole-body package for $2.50 to $4 lb. They may be either young birds (called broilers) at 14 to 20 oz or adult birds at 2 to 4 lb. Some birds are sold smoked or fresh partially boned.

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