- Jul 12, 2016
I acquired a pair of ringneck pheasants from a game bird farm about a month ago. They looked a little bedraggled when I got them but the breeder explained that they were only 5 months old so I thought that the male's tail feathers would grow out eventually because he had nothing but little stubby ones. The female was alert and active walking all over the male who would just sit with his legs folded underneath him staring with one eye (because of the blinders) down at the ground. He also leaned to the one side when on the ground. If he got excited he would jump straight up and hit his head so I tried to keep them calm and covered in the beginning. One evening I noticed the male was making a rattling sound as he was breathing so I separated the two and put him under a brooder lamp and gave him Poultry Drench mixed with water with an oral syringe, just a few drops at a time. This seemed to help him and the breathing sounds got better. He was still leaning to the side and staring at the ground. I searched everywhere for information on how to remove the blinders that were inserted through the nasal septum because I thought that this may have been the reason his breathing was still noisy. I could not find anything but how to put them on, a process which appears to be inhumane. This is banned in the United Kingdom by the way. Because I could not seem to find a way to remove the blinders without hurting him, I cut the part off that covered his eyes and left the part that had been inserted in his septum. It was hanging off kilter so I thought it may have been damaged in some way causing the noisy breathing. The female's blinders seem to be installed correctly and her breathing is fine. Eventually I moved the two of them together again but the male was still acting very docile and leaning to the side. I have never seen him eating, but apparently he was because the feed was missing each time I checked. I was feeding game bird crumbles with black sunflower seeds and millet. He was also fouling his water so that I had to change it frequently. The female doesn't do this. When they were together in a large enclosure they did not interact with each other but huddled next to each other, so it did not seem like they were fighting or one was picking on the other. One evening while trying to get them to move from the outdoor enclosure into the safe night house (raccoons are plentiful) he wallked like he always did out of the enclosure, but this time he exited through a crack and scurried into the woods and I have not seen him since. I feel bad, but he could obviously see and still seemed quite strong so that a cat would not bother him. I thought he'd eventually come back if the female was around where he could see her, but he never did and I wonder now if he wasn't the product of inbreeding. The farm where I got the pair had hundreds of birds in a large bird house but they were not able to fly, which I don't think is typical. Most farms have netted flight enclosures. I would like to try again but I wonder where I can acquire a rooster from an ethical breeder. I don't want to deal with the blinders because I would separate the birds if they fought since I only plan on having a pair. Recently, the female was sitting on some extra quail eggs that I brought into her enclosure. I thought she might eat them, but she seemed more interested in sitting on them. she has yet to lay an egg despite the breeder's claims that she was laying when I got her. Do they just stop? If so, are the eggs reabsorbed by their bodies? Is stress causing this? Her area is quite calm and safe. She stays in an outdoor enclosure which is about 4 feet off the ground. I move her to an enclosure on the the ground to forage every day and she is now fine with me handling her. She eats poultry laying pellets with regular game bird crumbles. I left out the sunflower seeds because she doesn't appear interested and I don't want to attract rodents.