ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Department of Environmental Conservation is taking applications from people interested in raising and releasing pheasants in New York state.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the pheasant chick program, which began in 1919 when pheasant eggs and chicks were distributed to farmers and rural youth.

Day-old chicks are available for free to people who can provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Daily care is necessary. Applicants receive the chicks in April, May or June. Applications are due by March 25.

In 2018, DEC distributed more than 30,000 pheasant chicks.

The program is funded through the State Conservation Fund, which is supported by license fees paid by hunters, trappers, and anglers.