A Year With Pheasants


September is one of our busiest months for moving birds partly due to the fact that we have many birds aged to leave us. As well as this our youngest chicks are now old enough to be introduced to life outside their shed. To accommodate the large number of chicks, we separate many of our breeding pairs of birds and make small groups of pheasants consisting of different species which are not likely to fight one another. This way we can have between three and six birds in a pen which during the breeding season will only be holding a pair of pheasants. The extra aviaries produced by moving the adults means that the chicks can have much more room which therefore helps to avoid problems of feather pecking and other injuries.

Some of the adult birds will stay in their new groups until the next breeding season starts as it is often safer for the hens to be kept separate from their mates while they are not laying eggs. Others, we will match back up as soon as the space becomes available. Not all the pheasant species we keep can be mixed easily with others. Mature Fireback and Reeves cocks are unlikely to mix with others and Eared Pheasants of either sex will probably be troublemakers.

Some of our chicks are mixed with adult birds. This is often the case with our Pheasant chicks which have a tendency to be aggressive to the others and also some of the species which grow much bigger than other chicks. They are usually mixed with adult hens or Peacock Pheasants who generally accept the young birds fairly well.

Any time birds are moved they must be watched very carefully for signs of conflict. If a bird seems particularly scared or shy it should be separated, from the birds it's sharing the aviary with, as it may not be able to feed easily without being attacked by one or more of the other birds. It can also happen that two similarly matched birds will want to rule the roost and not back down. If this is the case, again, the birds should be separated as it will certainly lead to trouble and fights can end tragically.

A Himalayan Monal and Mikado cock Pheasant together
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