Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pheasant Pluckers

Warning:  risque content.

Many is the time when I was younger, especially when sharing an ale or two with friends, that someone would raise the pheasant plucker's son or Mrs Puggy Wuggy or various other tongue twisters that had a bawdy element.

For those who may not have heard it, the rhyme is:
I’m not the pheasant plucker, I’m the pheasant plucker’s son.
I’m only plucking pheasants till the pheasant plucker comes.
In the days of Merrie Olde England there probably were pheasant pluckers on the larger estates. Not having refrigeration and oftentimes hosting banquets, pheasant would have been a popular dish. Even the regular dinners for the lord of the manor and his family would probably have had pheasant from time to time.

These days the humour is in watching and hearing people get tongue tied and transpose the initial sounds. Strange then that it appears on a website “Poems for Children” at

What is of greater interest is that the above tongue twister is actually part of a longer and quite humorous song.  It appears to be of some antiquity but its origins are unknown.

Hear it recited as a poem at
(I love the near slip at the 1.30 mark and the chuckle and comment at the end).

Here are the lyrics to the Pheasant Plucker Song (there are different versions and lyrics but I consider this version the best):.

Me husband is a keeper, he's a very busy man,
I try to understand him and I help him all I can,
But sometimes of an evening I feel a trifle dim,
All alone and plucking pheasants when I'd rather pluck with him.

I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's mate
And I'm only plucking pheasants 'cause the pheasant plucker's late.

I'm not good at plucking pheasants, pheasant plucking I get stuck,
Though some peasants find it pleasant I'd much rather pluck a duck,
Oh, but plucking geese is gorgeous, I can pluck a goose with ease
But plucking pheasants is sheer torture, for they haven't any grease.

I'm not the pheasant plucker, he has gone out on the tiles,
He only plucked one pheasant and I'm sitting here with piles.

You have to pluck them fresh, if they're fresh it's not unpleasant,
I knew a man in Dunstable, could pluck a frozen pheasant.
They say the village constable has pheasant plucking sessions
With the vicar of a Sunday 'twixt the first and second lessons.

I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's son,
And I'm only plucking pheasants 'til the pheasant plucker's come.

My good friend Godfrey's most adept, he's really got the knack,
He likes to have a pheasant plucked before he hits the sack.
I try and lend a helping hand, I gather up the feathers,
It's really all this pheasant plucking keeps us here together.

I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's friend,
And I'm only plucking pheasants as a means unto an end.

Me husband's in the woods all day, a-banging with his gun,
If he could hear me heartfelt cries, then surely he would run,
For I've fluff in all me crannies and there's feathers up me nose,
And I'm itchin' in the kitchin' from me head down to me toes.

I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's wife,
And when we pluck together, it's a pheasant plucking life!


  1. A particular pleasant byte Otto but the risque content is surely only in the imagination of the reader :)

  2. Very true. Have a pheasant plucking day, Philip.

  3. Hi Guys.

    "Have a pheasant plucking day". I have a t-shirt with this famous phrase, and I got it as a gift from a friend.

    I live in Costa Rica and I am not quite sure about the meaning of this phrase, so, I was wondering if you guys can tell me more about that. is it just a part of a song or poem??

  4. Hellooooooooooo Cista Rica. As it says in the above artiucle, the humour is not making a mistake by saying pleasant fucker instead of pheasant plucker. A pheasant is a game bird that was eaten, therefore needed to be pluckjed before being cooked.

  5. I'm interested in getting or making these T Shirts. Any idea who owns the art work? I imagine the idea and phrase is in public domain.

  6. I would inagine so, does anyone know?

  7. where do you get bill maynard's lyrics

  8. Tere are various lyrics at:

    The Bill Maynard version can be viewed at:

  9. The origins of this song are not unknown - it was written by Gerard Benson, on of the Barrow poets.


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