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Golden pheasants are bred for decorative and industrial purposes. Their meat is a valuable dietary product, which is served in the best restaurants in the world. Growing pheasants at home is time consuming and expensive. The chicks are hatched in an incubatory way. Adult birds have a complex character, they are shy and sensitive to conditions of detention. But pheasants also have advantages - unpretentiousness in food and beautiful plumage.
The homeland of golden pheasants is Tibet and the central regions of China. In the middle of the 19th century, birds with bright plumage entered Europe on merchant ships. Best of all, the eastern birds were approached by the English climate. Golden pheasants became popular in Scotland and Wales. Later, farmers in Western Europe, the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand took up their breeding. Besides Tibet, a wild population of pheasants lives in the forests of Great Britain. It was formed by birds that escaped from the farm.
In ancient Chinese culture, golden birds symbolize greatness and prosperity. During the time of the emperors, they were bred for beauty and entertainment.
Habitat and lifestyle
Wildlife Golden Pheasant Facts:
- birds nest in bamboo thickets and on mountain slopes. They are found in lowlands and foothills, but do not climb to a height of more than two thousand meters above sea level. Sometimes they are spotted near rice fields and tea plantations;
- wild golden pheasants feed on foliage and young shoots of bamboo, rhododendron flowers, insects;
- birds run well and rarely fly;
- pheasants live alone. Adults settle in secluded areas in the shade of shrubs and trees. These are sedentary daytime birds;
- pheasants seek food on the ground, but sleep in trees;
- during the mating season, males emit a dull whistle, as if releasing air from a car tire. Sometimes their mating appeal reminds bird watchers of the grinding of metal;
- in natural habitat, females build nests and take care of offspring. They feed the chicks in the nest for two days after hatching. The brood grows up quickly, learns to look for food on its own;
- at 14 days, chicks can fly up a tree and settle for the night, and at four months they leave the nest.
In case of danger, wild golden pheasants fly up sharply, land and flee. It is impossible to approach them - the birds immediately flee. Domestication did not change the fearful nature of bright birds and deprived of important qualities - maternal instinct and immunity to diseases.
Appearance and productivity
The male golden pheasant looks beautiful and colorful:
- yellow plumage on the back;
- golden crest-cap;
- the neck is orange with black rings;
- tail with long feathers of gray-brown speckled color;
- red belly and chest;
- spurs on the paws.
The female is distinguished by gray-brown plumage with specks on the back, wings and chest.
Sexual differences appear after molting at two months of age. Also, males and females differ in size and weight:
|Weight (in kilograms)||1-3||0,7|
|Body length (in centimeters)||100||60|
Most of the body length of pheasants is taken by the tail: 35 centimeters in females, 77 centimeters in males. The egg production of laying hens is low: young females lay 20 eggs per season, and mature ones - 45-50. But with careful selection of birds and artificial breeding, the productivity of layers can be increased by 30 percent. Pheasant eggs are smaller than chicken eggs, weighing 30 grams.
Golden pheasants are bought for breeding in the fall. Chicks gain strength in winter, and in spring you can get strong offspring that will go for meat.
Signs of a healthy bird:
- dense, lean sternum;
- clean beak without plaque;
- brilliant plumage;
Purebred representatives of the breed can be purchased only at specialized poultry farms. To exclude closely related relationships, you should buy 2-3 birds from different farms.
Advantages and disadvantages
Before organizing a pheasant farm, you should familiarize yourself with the disadvantages of birds:
- high maintenance costs;
- only artificial breeding of chicks.
Females do not incubate eggs, so an incubator is needed to breed offspring. Birds are gluttonous, shy, and are wary of humans and animals.
Despite the difficulties, there are positive aspects to breeding pheasants:
- low competition;
- high demand for pheasant meat among restaurateurs.
Pheasants are bred by rare private farms. Therefore, there is no need to fear a battle for the client. The enterprise will pay off if you arrange supplies to regular customers.
Features of maintenance and care
Golden pheasants are kept in summer enclosures and heated sheds. They have a quarrelsome character. For bright birds, living together with chickens or geese is excluded. For walks, you also need to allocate a separate place to avoid frightening encounters with other poultry.
How to equip a summer pheasant enclosure:
- walls 2.5 meters high are made of fine mesh;
- a nylon net is pulled from above so that the birds flying up from fright do not get hurt;
- for a couple of pheasants, an area of 2 square meters is allocated.
The aviary can be fenced against the wall of the house or in an open area planted with grass.
The winter poultry house is set up in a brick or insulated wooden shed. Drafts are dangerous for birds, so the cracks must be carefully filled.
A metal mesh is placed on the floor and sawdust and hay are poured on top. The mesh floor protects pheasants from rodents. Feeders are placed in the illuminated part of the room, and perches are fixed in the shaded part. For females, just in case, they arrange nests of reed and dry moss.
The size of the pheasant walking area is 10 square meters. The area should also be fenced off with a net. Poultry inherited the craving of wild ancestors for trees. But from tall plantings, they will scatter around the garden. On the walking area, it is better to plant low-growing shrubs no more than one and a half meters high - boxwood, blackthorn, snowberry.
To prevent pheasants from meeting other birds, a walking area is located next to the winter and summer aviary, and they make entrances. In winter, birds also need hour-long walks.
Captive golden pheasants feed on grains, grass, meat scraps and vegetables.
The winter and summer ration of birds differs in the percentage of grain components:
|Feed type||Share in the diet (percentage)|
|In winter||In summer|
The diet of golden pheasants includes:
- corn grains;
- skim cheese;
- minced meat;
- bone flour;
- scalded nettle;
- dandelion leaves;
The herbs are pre-crushed. Grains are given in soaked or boiled form, with a small proportion of dry cereals. Vegetables are also boiled and cut into small pieces. Wet mash in meat broth is prepared for pheasants. Birds will love rhododendron flowers and bamboo stems as a treat.
In the summer, vitamins are added to the feed. In winter, give fish oil and ascorbic acid. Sugar, which is sprinkled on boiled grains, also increases the immunity of chicks. Wet mash can be replaced with compound feed. Ready-made chicken mixes are suitable for pheasants.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
Newborn chicks are fed with boiled eggs and low-fat cottage cheese, chopped herbs, vegetables, bone meal and wheat bran are gradually added to the diet. In the second month of life, they are transferred to adult food.
Chicks are fed 10 times a day for the first two weeks of life. At the age of one month, the number of feedings is reduced to six. From three months, the birds are transferred to three meals a day. New foods should be introduced into the diet gradually. The sensitive digestion of pheasants is disturbed by sudden changes in diet.
Basic principles of breeding gold breed:
- The mating season for pheasants takes place with fierce battles between males. Therefore, the flock is divided into families and seated in different enclosures. One male is planted to ten females;
- females lay eggs for three months. They have a weak maternal instinct. A typical occurrence when clutches do not fall into the proposed reed nests are located randomly on the floor;
- hens rarely hatch eggs before chicks hatch. Therefore, pheasant breeding is carried out in a more reliable way - with the help of an incubator and a brooder;
- for hatching chicks, eggs of the correct rounded shape, with a gray shell without cracks, are chosen. The collected masonry is stored for 15 days at a temperature of +10 degrees and a humidity of 70 percent. Longer storage times reduce the survival rate of chicks by 26 percent;
- the incubation period lasts 24 days. Eggs are not washed before laying, only allowed to warm to room temperature. The device is also warmed up during the day to a temperature of 37.8 degrees and the humidity is set to 65 percent. Such conditions are maintained for a three week incubation period;
- eggs must be turned every day at regular intervals: 4 times in the first week and 6 times in the second. In the third week, the incubator is opened slightly for 15 minutes for ventilation;
- from the 22nd day in the apparatus, the temperature is maintained at 37.5 degrees, the humidity is 80 percent, the eggs are not ventilated and the eggs are not turned until the chicks hatch;
- the brood is planted in a brooder warmed up to a temperature of +28 degrees. Stocking density - 25-30 heads per square meter;
- during the first week, the temperature in the brooder is increased by 6 degrees. A month later, the chicks are released for a walk and transplanted into a common aviary.
Chicks can be raised without a brooder by placing them in a chicken. Drinkers pose a danger to small pheasants. They can drown in ordinary containers. Therefore, it is better for chicks to put vacuum drinkers.
Diseases and prevention
Golden pheasants are often infected with infections. Treatment gives results in the early stages.
Diseases specific to the breed:
- Marek's disease - occurs as a result of viral damage to the nervous system and internal organs. In birds, coordination of movements is impaired, paralyzing the legs and wings. The disease quickly covers the livestock, and belongs to a number of incurable;
- viral laryngotracheitis - causes cough, bloody discharge from the larynx, foam from the nose, conjunctivitis. The mucous membrane of the throat becomes covered with a curdled bloom and small hemorrhages. The disease kills 50 percent of pheasants in 3 days. Surviving birds remain lifelong carriers of the causative virus. Sick individuals are slaughtered, and the rest are treated with antibiotics;
- marble spleen - birds die from suffocation. The disease is determined after opening, by the spleen lined with foci of necrosis. There is no treatment, since there are no signs of the development of the disease.
Chicks of golden pheasants are more likely to suffer from respiratory infections.
- quality control and freshness of feed;
- disinfection of the poultry house before settling in new chicks;
- the use of anthelmintic drugs every six months.
To increase the viability of the chicks, the antibiotic "Erythromycin" or "Biomycin" is added to the water. Prevention of diseases of adult birds is carried out before the arrival of winter. Pheasants are given antibacterial drugs and lipase, fish oil, vitamin supplements.