Pheasant bird<<<< Back to birds
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Galliformes
- Family: Phasianidae
- SubFamily: Phasianinae
- Conservation status: Low risc
- Lenght: 60 - 90 cm
- Weight: 1.2 kg (2.5 lbs)
- Speed: 16km/h (10mph)
- Lifespan: 15 years
- Clutch size: 3 - 8 Eggs
The Pheasant comes from Central Asia and South Caucasus region. Currently 30 species are known, all active birds during the day, living on cultivated lands, and at night retreating into the forest and sleeping in trees. The pheasant found in Europe, is certainly a halfbreed, result of crossing several subspecies originated in Asia. Sexual dimorphism is like in any of the other subspecies of origin, very obvious.
The pheasants diet is very diversed, from insects, larvae, ant eggs, spiders, lizards, etc to beans of all kinds, fruit, juicy seeds, etc.
The male is heavier (over 1 kg) and more colorful than the female. His head and neck have a metallic green sheen, the body is brown-reddish, dotted with large black spots and yellow stripes on the feathers' contour on the back, a long and brown tail, crossed by dark brown stripes and a bright red skin around the eyes. Unlike the male, the female is less colored, sometimes with a dull appearance. It is a polygamous bird (the male has 5 to 6 females), sedentary, that does not migrate in the winter and will only search for food. The female will lay 8 to 15 egss in the nest, green or brown, that she will brood from April to June, for 24 days, on a grassy soil. To mantain a constant number of birds, there are currently people that breed phaesant, the eggs hatch in incubators. The bird prefers small thickets, groves, reeds, especially if there are near a water source. They prefer even more large reeds, swamps with springs that don't freeze, and agricultural fields now fallow. They choose these places for the good conditions of shelter and food. In the pheasant habitat, morning and evening you will hear the male's voice, a shrill scream, repeated, longer or shorter, depending on the case, but in any event unmistakable. His traces and droppings and especially the morning and evening screams betray his presence.
A big threat for the pheasant biotope is the farming mechanization and chemical processing. The use of Furadan created large losses in their numbers around farmlands. In recent years even in the Danube Delta, where large lands were leased for farming, the pheasant numbers are falling.
The trophy is the whole bird or the naturalized bust, or even the tail feathers worn on the hat. The hunting period is between 01.10 and 28.02 and shotguns with 3.0-3.5 mm shots are used. The hunting and recovery of the phaesant without a hunting dog is extremely difficult- because the bird senses the danger and will start moving very fast on his feet- without it flying , making it almost an impossible task for the hunter. Also after firing, his recovery will be very difficult. The hunting is recommended to be done with a hunting dog, because otherwise great damages are produced in the area, with the fired pieces being unrecovered.
An example of captive pheasants breeding.
The selected pheasants are chosen young under 1 year old, hatched before May 15. The selection is made in September-October. Only specimens in perfect health will be held, the ones well-conformed, with a fleshy chest, full plumage, including the tail, clear and sharp eyes, bluish color, smooth legs, without scales, males of a minimum 1.5 kg and females 0.9kg. Plastic glasses specially made are applied to the females.
Harvesting, transporting, storing and keeping of the phaesant eggs are similar to those of the incubating eggs, 5 to 7 days. 8 to 15 days old eggs can be used for incubation but the hatching percentage will be lower by 8-15%. 15 days old eggs give poor results in hatching.
Incubation of the eggs is done in 2 systems:
-Natural (with a brooding-hen)
-Artificially , in specialized hatcheries.
Natural incubation, with brood-hens, is done in boxes, nests for brooding, placed in a line, in warehouses. In some farms they use natural incubation by placing the nests on a fenced land, which must be higher, with a permeable soil, allowing easy water drainage, safe from winds, covered to provide protection from rain and shadow during warm and sunny days. The brooding cages should be located away from villages, in quiet areas, away from high traffic roads, railways.
Before the incubation starts the integrity of the boxes is checked, the damaged ones are repaired, all are disinfected and for disinsectization caustic soda 3% is used.
A sufficient number of brooding-hens should be purchased to ensure the phaesant egg production, usually achieved in May (60-65%). All these must lead to obtaining larger lots, compact and of close age.
A hen can cover 18 to 22 phaesant eggs. The care of the hens is done similar to other species of hatching birds. The hatching percentage with natural hatching varies from 60 to 75%. The average length of phaesant hatching is 24 days, 23-25 days limits.
The artificial incubation is done with good results, using high quality eggs, in incubators of different types and brands. The results obtained in artificial incubation can lead to a 70-75%percentage of hatching. After the birth of the offsprings, the percentage of those that will reach 8 weeks is between 60-90%. In average 100 incubated eggs will result in 57% adults.
If specimens of different species are bred, hybrid offsprings are obtained. If specimens from the same species but with different characteristics are bred, their offsprings are called half-breeds. The major difference between the two processes is that the half-breeds are always fertile while the hybrids are sterile.
To achieve a successful hybridization, you should consider choosing compatible specimens ( at least from the same family). If the differences between the birds are greater, the chances of succes are lower. Besides morphological differences, there are many factors that hinder this process: difference in diet, habits, reproductive period.
Artificial hybridization performed in the laboratory offers a wide range of possibilities, yielding, for example, breeds resistant to certain diseases and low temperatures. In phaesant breeding, hybridization is not a priority, pure breeds conservation is prefered. It is practiced especially with ornamental pheasant breeds, even with similar species suck as dwarf chickens and grouses.