Inmates raise baby pheasants through Erie County sheriff’s brooding program

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO These pheasant chicks will be cared for and raised to maturity by inmates of the Erie County Holding Center as part of the Erie County Sheriff's pheasant brooding program.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Select inmates at the Erie County Correctional Facility will become foster parents to pheasant chicks, providing supervised care until the birds are mature enough to be released into the wild.

The Erie County Jail Management Division accepted a shipment of 650 day-old chicks from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) on Monday.

The chicks, a mixture of Hungarian and Ring-Neck pheasants, will live in a brooding house at the center for a couple of weeks before being moved to a flight pen. In a few weeks, the Sheriff’s office will accept another shipment of chicks.

The selected inmates will be responsible for all aspects of the chicks’ care, which is designed specifically for pheasants, from the day of delivery to the day of release.

Once the birds are ready to fly and survive on their own in the wild, the DEC will coordinate their release, likely in early October.

This is the second year of the sheriff’s pheasant brooding program. Last year, the Erie County Sheriff’s office performed two releases on New York State-managed properties. Nearly 1,000 birds were released between both locations.

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