Lady Amherst's Pheasant
The Lady Amherst's Pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae) are native to south western China and Tibet.
They usually roost in trees at night. Whilst they can fly, they prefer to run. The male has a gruff call in the breeding season.
In nature they feed on the ground on grain, leaves and insects, larvae, earthworms, millipedes, snails and spiders.
The adult male averages over 43 inches in length, its tail accounting for 30+ inches of the total length. It is unmistakable with its black and silver head, long grey tail and rump, and red, blue, white and yellow body plumage. The "cape" can be raised in display. The female (hen)is much less showy, with a duller mottled brown plumage all over. She is very like the female Golden Pheasant, but has a darker head and cleaner underparts than the hen of that species
Next to the Golden Pheasant, the Lady Amherst is said to be the easiest pheasant to breed. This pheasant is one of the most vibrant colored pheasant species. Their ritualistic dance, display and dazzling beauty makes them a very popular species. They can also be easily hand-tamed. The modest demands of the Lady Amherst makes it an ideal species for the beginner to pheasant keeping.
These birds are very active and aviaries should be fairly large with plenty of branches and other objects for enrichment. They are docile and can be kept with other bird species such as doves, small hookbills and finches.
Amherst pheasants should be kept separate from the Golden pheasants to prevent cross breeding. The Amherst will readily hybridize with the Golden Pheasant and the offspring are usually fertile. Unethical breeders will try to sell "hybrids" as new mutations to unsuspecting hobbyists. It is considered bad practice to breed hybrids as it causes damage to pure blood lines.
These pheasants may breed their first year, but it is better to use a fully colored male to not lose fertility. Their breeding season starts in May and they attain breeding age in their second year. The hens average twenty eggs a season depending on the feed and care. The hen lays 6 to 12 creamy buff eggs, which she incubates for 23 to 24 days.
The diet is the same as in other pheasant species. A little higher protein breeder diet is recommended starting January in addition to supplementation with greens and various grains. During the off-season, they are fed a lower protein pellet mixed with grain. mealworms, berries and other fruits make nutritious treats.
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