New Jersey's Pheasant Allocation Formula
Day-Old Chicks In the Brooder House Video - (.avi)
Releasing 5-Week Old Brooder Birds To the Range Pens Video - (.avi)
A Year In the Life At Rockport - (pdf, 1.5mb)
Snowstorm, October 2011 - (pdf, 1.6mb)
Pheasant Farm Chick Hatch Video - lehighvalleylive.com YouTube Channel
The Rockport Pheasant Farm is a 492-acre facility (within the 1,274-acre Rockport Wildlife Management Area) operated by the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife. Acquisition of the production area began in 1912 and was completed by 1925. The first release of Rockport pheasants was made in 1923. Since 1923 over 2 million pheasants have been raised at Rockport. All pheasants are produced for the sporting public (no pheasants are sold to the public); the operation is funded by the sale of the Pheasant & Quail Stamp.
A major milestone in the ongoing modernization of the farm was reached in 2010 with the completion of a state-of-the-art incubation and brooder building. The building's energy efficient, automated systems for egg incubation and chick care replace hand operated equipment and labor intensive chick handling and care regimes that date back to the farm's creation. The significant energy and labor cost savings realized with the new building and equipment ensures reliable annual production of superior pheasants for the same or lower cost to purchase birds from suppliers who may not be able to consistently meet annual demand.
Pheasants raised at Rockport are stocked for "put and take" hunting on 23 Wildlife Management Areas throughout New Jersey, as well as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Why Raise Pheasants?
The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Pheasant Program provides over 150,000 man-days of outdoor recreation annually, with approximately 12,000 hunters participating.
The Pheasant Program generates $2.6 million in income to local businesses such as gas stations, motels, diners, taxidermists and sporting goods stores. The cost of raising pheasants is borne completely by the Hunter and Angler Fund, which is comprised of revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and permits. No state tax dollars are used.
How Pheasants Are Raised at Rockport
Each year, 190 male (cock) pheasants are placed in "breeder yards" with 2700 females (hens). This results in approximately 160,000 - 170,000 eggs being laid between mid-March and the beginning of July. Eggs are collected three times a day and taken to the "egg room."
In the egg room the eggs are disinfected, sorted and put in trays. The room is maintained at 55 degrees F. to keep the eggs dormant until moved into incubators.
Pheasant eggs require 24 days to hatch. The first 17 are spent in forced air circulating incubators which automatically roll the eggs five times daily. The final 7 days are spent in flat hatchers. Hatching ends by August.
After hatching, chicks are moved to brooder rooms. They stay in these temperature controlled rooms until 6 weeks of age, then moved outdoors to the...
More than 35 acres of range pens house the pheasants until fall. The pens are planted in cover crop (Sorghum) to provide the birds with protection from the weather.In the pens the male pheasants will grow to 2.5 - 3 pounds, females about 1.5 pounds.
Beginning in early November, the pheasants are run into a large (24' x 300') building. Here they are crated and loaded onto trucks for distribution. The birds will be stocked on approximately 100,000 acres of state Wildlife Management Areas.
The Rockport Pheasant Farm has preserved valuable open space since 1912 and is now part of the Rockport WMA. However, due to recent changes in quarantine requirements in the USDA National Poultry Improvement Plan in response to Avian Influenza, the raising of pheasants would require costly measures that the Division simply cannot afford. These measures include sanitizing all vehicles that enter and exit the facility, constructing decontamination rooms for each building, and assigning staff to work only in one building or area of the farm. Consequently, meeting these requirements would not only be cost prohibitive, but would require doubling the amount of staff. Therefore, the Division is pursuing alternatives to raising our own pheasants.
Recognizing the challenge ahead, the Fish and Game Council voted in February to expand the purchase of adult pheasants to satisfy 100% of the birds needed for the stocking program. While there are several procurement challenges associated with this approach, we expect to fully implement this plan in 2019. As a result, no pheasants will be reared at the Rockport Pheasant Farm in 2019, provided that we are successful in developing the necessary contracts with outside vendors to purchase these birds.
Pheasant Stocking Locations Map
Rockport WMA Map (topo) (pdf, 255kb)
Rockport WMA Map (showing roads and parking areas (pdf, 110kb)