NEW YORK (WWTI) — The application period is open for the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program.

The Reynolds Game Farm will soon be hatching and distributing chicks to approved applicants. For more than 100 years the program has provided free pheasant chicks to applicants that have proper rearing facilities and an approved release site.

More than 30,000 chicks were distributed last year.

Applications, which can be found on the program’s website, are due by March 25. DEC encourages schools and educational institutions to apply.

Key requirements and points include:

  • The DEC distributes 30,000 or more day-old chicks annually.
  • Anyone can apply to participate in the Day-old Pheasant Chick Program.
  • Participants must have the appropriate brooding facility and outdoor rearing pen.
  • Release sites must be open to public pheasant hunting.
  • Birds may not to be released on private shooting preserves.
  • Participants should become familiar with the Day-old Pheasant Chick Program guide.
  • Day-old pheasant chicks are provided to participants in April, May or June.
  • Pheasants must be released at eight weeks of age or older, but no later than the end of the pheasant hunting season.
  • Pheasants provided to participants may not be bought, sold or traded.
  • Habitat improvement projects on release sites are encouraged.

Anyone with questions regarding eligibility for the program can contact their regional wildlife office or the Reynolds Game Farm at 607-273-2768.