As I enjoy reading and have looked many times for sources of information about pheasants it seemed right to include a section on books I have read about them. Unfortunately they are not in great abundance which is partly why I wanted to include so much of our experiences on our website. There may well be a better supply of books available for the sporting enthusiast but my own interest is purely for the welfare of the birds and predominantly the ornamental species so that is what I want to concentrate on.
I will start with a book "Pheasants & Their Management" published by Beech Publishing House and written by Dr Joseph Batty. Dr Batty has very kindly included Allandoo Pheasantry as a case study in his book but I will try not to be biased about my reviews. I will add that Beech Publishing House is a registered charity which tries to promote and protect poultry through their work. The book is quite thorough including all aspects of keeping and breeding pheasants and includes plenty of information about the species, breeding and disease. I would recommend the book to read as there are very few books about pheasants which go into any great depth about the rearing of these extraordinary birds. Dr Batty however has taken many breeders experiences and compiled them to give a variety of ideas and opinions on how to keep pheasants healthy and at their best. The only downfall of the book is that the print quality is not quite as good as some others. It also contains occasional spelling and grammatical errors along the way but the cliche about the pot calling the kettle black does rather spring to mind here so I will swiftly move on.
The first pheasant book we bought was "Pheasants of the World Biology and Natural History" by Paul A. Johnsgard. This is a lovely book which has been well used in our house. It does quite often say that "not much is known about..." but if you read what is known about the pheasants in their natural habitat it is a very informative and interesting book. It also contains many beautiful photos on excellent glossy paper which makes the pictures as clear as they can be. Of course it would have been nice to be treated to even more colourful pictures. Like many of the pheasant books this one is a little out of date now and it would be great to have a recent revised edition. It is still however a firm favourite of mine.
The next book on my list is: Upland Game Birds Their Breeding and Care by an American, Dr Leland Hayes. This book has a good chapter devoted to health and also includes useful information about breeding and management. The book does not detail every pheasant species but does include The Ruffed Pheasants, Silver Pheasants, Reeves, Tragopans and Junglefowl. It also includes information about Partridges, Quail, Turkeys and Guineafowl. This is a book worth reading especially if you are not only interested in pheasants.
We were pleased when we managed to aquire the book "The Pheasants of the World" by Jean Delacour. Our edition is the second one which was printed in 1977 (the 1st was in 1951). It is no longer in print but there are a few to be found. Even though the book is not a recent one there is plenty of good reading to be had from it which is still very relevant now. Jean Delacour discovered and bred many species of pheasant and includes his experiences as well as those of many other breeders in his book. He goes through each species detailing findings and problems with each one.
If buying pheasant books be very careful what you are ordering as my next book sounds much the same as others mentioned. It is called "Pheasants of the World Their Breeding and Management" by Keith Howman. This book has some beautiful pictures and the chapter on feeding is pretty good. We were however rather disappointed as we had heard the book was superb. Maybe we expected too much but we already knew much of what was included in it. I would say for someone buying their first birds or as a gift for such a person it is a beautifully presented reference book.
Another book which may be of interest to anyone who is thinking about pheasant keeping is "Ornamental Pheasants for Beginners". This book is definitely for novices. It does include a little information of all aspects of pheasant keeping and is good enough to give a basic idea of what is involved and what things can go wrong. It is one of the cheapest pheasant books available so is an ideal starting point but, for me, it does not take long enough to read.
Another book with a very similar name is called "Pheasants of the Old World". The author is Karol Sepielan and the book can be bought from The World Pheasant Association. The book gives a good amount of information on every species and includes details about their lives in the wild, as well as in captivity, throughout the world. It also includes an excellent selection of beautiful photos which allows the reader see clear differences between species, subspecies, sexes and even chicks and eggs. I was a bit disappointed that at £40 the book is only paperback so will need to be well protected to lengthen it's lifespan, especially if it's going to be well thumbed which I'm sure it will be in our house.
This review is a first for me, as the book is not in English. Due to this, my review may be a bit lacking and not do the book enough justice but I will try my best. I will start by saying the book is in Dutch and sent to me as a gift, because I contributed some photos of our birds to it. The book is called "Het Houdenvan Fazanten van hobby tot passie"(in English this is: Keeping Pheasants, from hobby to passion) and is written by Franz Duister. The book is hardback with good quality paper and print. It is also crammed full of amazing pictures (and I'm not just saying this because a small percentage of them are from us). Not only have I taken great delight in looking at these for the photos themselves, but they have also helped me greatly in my understanding of the literature. Everything is very clearly labelled and the book set out really well. The book consists of over 700 pages and 1300 pictures (I did not count these myself). There are chapters on everything you need to know to successfully care for your pheasants as well as detailed descriptions of the birds themselves, including the chicks and eggs. With the help of google translate, I have found the book to be a useful reference as it is the most comprehensive book I have seen on pheasant care. It would be lovely to read it from cover to cover but relying on google to translate for me is not ideal. It is still a handy option however if I want to look up something specific. Even without knowledge of the Dutch language it is a wonderful book to possess and if there is ever an English version printed I will be first in the queue to buy it. In the meantime the original is available from Aviornis Flanders or Aviornis Netherlands and costs 60 euros. Although not cheap, I do not consider this to be at all overpriced for such a wonderful book, which I do not doubt must have taken an immense amount of work to research and write. I must say I am really appreciating my present.
I would also like to include two books on incubation which we found useful when we first started to breed our birds. These were: "The Incubation Book" by Dr A. F. Anderson Brown" and "Practical Incubation" by Rob Harvey. The World Pheasant Association now sell a book titled "The New Incubation Book" by Dr A. F. Anderson Brown & G. E. S. Robbins which will be more recent than the one I mention previously by the same author.
The World Pheasant Association also sell a CD rom "WPA CD on Aviary Design & Management for Pheasants" which we purchased some time ago and is certainly worth purchasing if you intend to build an aviary. The CD was produced by their Vice President, John Corder who has helped us a great deal in the past and has also sold us some 1st class birds.
Another source of information is magazines. Unfortunately there is nothing devoted to Game birds in the UK. Americans are lucky enough to have "The Game Bird Gazette" which has a wealth of information about pheasants in every publication. In the UK the best chance of seeing pheasant articles (ornamental species) is in "The Cage & Aviary Bird Magazine". The articles do tend to be few and far between but they are there on occasion. There has also been a mention now and then in the Smallholder, Country Smallholding, Practical Poultry and Fancy Fowl magazines but don't hold your breath waiting on them.
Of course if you are reading this page you will also know you can gain knowledge from the internet and I do try and include links to other informative sites when I find them. Nowadays one of the best places to learn about pheasant rearing is facebook. There are numerous groups on the social website where you can gleam bits of information from breeders all over the world and if you have questions to ask there is rarely a shortage of advice.