Wild White eared pheasants live in the Himalayan mountains and are extremely hardy. In captivity they are perfectly happy with only a basic shelter from the elements. Our own Eared Pheasants are usually kept in aviaries with trees to protect them from the worst weather. They love the outdoors and rain or snow will not hinder them from their constant investigations. These birds like to keep busy, they have powerful beaks which are well used to dig up (or destroy) whatever they find to peck at in the aviary. Warning: Delicate plants will not survive.
Our White Eareds receive the usual pheasant pellets and treats of grain, peanuts, fruit, and live food. Everything is gulped down with relish although peanuts and mealworms are the firm favourites. The White Eareds lap up attention and will often be at the gate waiting to see what's going on. If they can't see enough they'll be on a boulder or perch or jumping at the wire to get a better view and make sure they don't miss any action (or treats). It's not unlike them to have a peck at our clothes or try and reach us from the next door aviary if they are feeling ignored.
White eared pheasants will start breeding in their second year and will usually lay a clutch of between 5 and 7 eggs. From the end of April until the end of June they can lay up to around 20 eggs. The chicks are totally adorable but real rascals. They do bully other chicks and are often best kept separate from other species. They are such funny little characters though that they are always worth all the trouble and mayhem they cause.
When we started keeping our White Eareds we were pleased that things were looking up for the captive breeding of them in the UK. Our own birds have produced well over the years and as these fantastic birds are in trouble in the wild our efforts are of vital importance. We believe that aviculturists have a crucial role to play in helping conserve the white eared pheasant and many other bird species. Unfortunately there have not been enough breeders with success. Our own birds are getting older and producing less and we've been unable to source new fertile stock of different bloodlines for a good number of years now. We are desperate to add new blood and have more success with breeding these wonderful birds before it's too late both for captive bred birds and their wild relatives. It is heartbreaking to see the promise we started with diminish each year as our birds age and no fertile unrelated birds can be found.
White Eared Pheasants are inquisitive, friendly birds in dire need of help. It is paramount that everything possible is done to stop the decline of this species. They are quickly running out of time. To find out more about the conservation of pheasants please have a look at The World Pheasant Association website.