The wild Reeves Pheasant is from Central China and prefers a habitat of open woodland. In captivity they are perfectly happy in an aviary of approximately 250 square feet or over. In too small a pen the cock's tremendous tail will be easily damaged. The colours of the cock may not be quite as bright or irredescent as some other species and he lacks a crest and face wattles but with his extra long tail and ornate markings he definitely still has the wow factor. The cock pheasant has a white head adorned with a black choker and a second prominent black band surrounding the eyes like a Venetian mask. His body is mainly a shade of deep dark yellow with a black border around each feather. He also has some white on his wings and a rich dark chestnut on the breast. The tail is mainly white with black barring and extremely long. The Reeve's hen is a pretty bird much paler than the cock but heavily mottled. She has a creamy yellow head with a brown cap and markings round the eyes to the back of the head.
Unfortunately the Reeves Pheasant has not got the best of reputations. Sometimes males can become aggressive to their keepers. It is a real shame as otherwise they are wonderful birds and of course many are not bad guys at all. They are easy to rear (although the cocks, even as young chicks, can be troublesome mixed with other pheasant species) and perfectly hardy. They do well on the normal pheasant diet and being omnivorous and unfussy enjoy whatever treats are on offer.
Reeves are quick to mature with cocks growing fast and colouring up in their first year. Both males and females are also likely to be fertile before they are fully a year old. We usually keep a few hens with one cock and fertility has always been excellent (if not 100% then very close to it). Hens will lay well (barely stopping between clutches if eggs are taken away). Clutch sizes are usually about 10 - 12 eggs and an estimated average of 36 eggs per hen will not be far off in a season. We do sometimes get hens that forget to stop and will lay a fourth clutch upping the egg number quite substantially.
The Reeves cocks are extraordinary birds and the hens attractive and charming. They are not noisy birds so shouldn't cause any upset with neighbours. They can take longer than some pheasants to become tame but even if they are a bit on the flighty side in the first year they do calm down as they mature. They are way too impressive for us to be without at Allandoo so we are on a quest to endear these imposing birds to the nation and hope to rear plenty of well behaved Reeves for many years to come.