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Facilities

1. Pens for adult birds.

facilitiesbigThe pens we have constructed for our adult pheasants have been developed for breeding. These pens can be of two kinds, one designed for the low-elevation species, which need artificial heating in the winter, and the other one, for the high altitude species, which don't need any special constructions to pass through the winter. The requirements and specifications are somewhat different in each case and, accordingly, the cost of the construction.

Pheasants are very adaptable and most of them very quickly get used to living in captivity and survive for a reasonable length of time, provided most of their requirements are met. Our experience has shown that what ever type of pen is made to accommodate them, a few basic requirements are essential :

  • The site of their pens has been selected in such a way that the pheasants get maximum benefit of the morning sun. 
  • The ground in the outdoor pen has been slightly raised, with a light loam or sandy soil, so that it drains well. Admittedly, this is an expensive way of doing things, but in the long run, the initial costs will be more than recouped in terms of healthier birds with good breeding results. Pheasants can easily stand the rain and most of them even the snow, but none of them like wet feet. 
  • The pens are of economic shape and perhaps also most efficient in design. The aviaries are a series of rectangular pens with a corridor in the middle for servicing and also for moving birds from one pen to another without having to catch them, which almost always puts a bird under a certain amount of stress, never mind how tame and docile they are. Each outdoor enclosure measures at least 4 x 2 x 2 meters high and the indoor pens measure 3 x 2 x 2 meters high. These smaller type of aviaries are being used for peacock pheasants, junglefowls, etc... We have established bigger outdoor aviaries for species such as the monals, longtaileds, eared pheasant, tragopans and argus. Concrete plates have been laid down in the corridors to facilitate the servicing of the pheasants and the maintenance of the vegetation in the aviaries.

Plan for double series of pheasant pens
Plan for double series of pfeasant pens

  • All indoor aviaries have concrete flooring elevated a few centimeters above the outside aviary to keep water outside during heavy rainfall and those meant for tropical species can be artificially heated by means of a petroleum airbomb, when necessary.
  • The corridor between the outdoor aviaries is provided with a door at one end only and is only wide enough to let the keeper move around freely. From the corridor a full size door gives access to the run portion of each pen. This door can be opened into the pen. No bushes or trees are planted in the area over which the door swings when opened. If a bird is to be moved to a distant pen of the unit, it is moved through the corridor. In this case , to move a bird all that is required is to walk behind it slowly and the bird will continue to walk a few steps ahead. Under no circumstances are our pheasants pressed hard forward, under the stress of feeling concerned.
  • All the aviaries have rendered rodent proof at considerable expense. Mesh size is 13 x 26 millimetres and the top of it is roofed with nylon netting's with wiremesh of 4 x 4 centimeters. The frames measure 2x2 meters and are made of steenless steal pipes. Plastic coated wiremesh is put in between. This design has been made predator proof by the use of a proper agricultural electric fencing system, called, "Hotline". Admittedly, all this has added considerably to the costs of the pens but in the long run it means that our birds are totally protected from rodents and that there is almost no maintenance to undertake anymore because of the materials being used, which adds to our peace of mind.
  • The cages are planted, many of them being vegetated. This is done for the aesthetic value and as a screen for shade and protection against the weather. All perches are kept inside and are of natural tree branches. The birds are lured with artificial lighting during the sunset to come indoors during the night time. Natural rocks and large tree stumps have been placed in most of the outdoor aviaries.

Aviary/Pens for young and adult birds

pens1 pens2
Modern developed pheasant aviaries with a central corridor for servicing. Modern built pheasant aviaries with lots of vegetation and cover in the outdoor pens.


2. Facilities for one-day old chicks and young birds.

A considerable number of pens for rearing young birds from the end of May till November has been made available. These aviaries have been constructed in the same way and are made from the same materials as we have been using for the adult pheasants. Our plan is to keep these aviaries empty during 4 months of the year (from November till February) to be used for unforeseen circumstances. These aviaries consist of an indoor and outdoor aviary, in which we raise the juvenile birds till they are ready for shipment (October-November). Each outdoor enclosure measures at least 4 x 2 x 2 meters high and the indoor pens measure 1.5 x 2 x 2 meters high.

During the breeding season, which usually starts early March in Belgium and ends early June, we often use these "rearing" aviaries for those hens, we consider suitable for artificial insemination (A.I.). We have achieved particular good results with A.I. using these smaller type of aviaries for hens meant for A.I.. Each female is kept single, and has only visual contact with her conspecifics, giving her a safe place to hide with having enough privacy to lay her eggs. Especially with tragopan and longtailed hens we have achieved remarcable results using these facilties.
 

chickpens1

Connecting doorway through various aviary systems
meant for breeding non-domesticared pheasants.

3. Rearing boxes for the raising of youg chicks.

All chicks are raised in rearing boxes using artificial heating and automatic drinking. Chicks of the same species, and having the same age, are raised together, in groups of 5 up to 10 chicks for at least 4 to 5 weeks. At the age of 6 weeks they are transferred to the pens meant for young birds, where they are kept indoors, with artificial heating till they are strong and vital enough to be released to the outdoor pens. All chicks are raised on wire-mesh floorings and/or on rubber mats in their early stages of life. We take care they are raised in a humane and clean environment at all times.
 
Nursery box for tragopans

Nursey box for tragopans

4. Incubators and hatchers.

Grumbach air-forced incubatorsAlmost all our eggs are incubated using Grumbach forced-air incubators and are transferred at the end of the incubation to an other room and set in clean hatchers for hatching. Almost all eggs are being used for artificial incubation to have a better control over the embryonic development and incubation procedures. At the end of the incubation process all fertile eggs are transferred to the hatchers in which the chiks are being born and kept for one extra day to hatch and to dry. From here on they are all transferred to their rearing boxes where they are raised till they are about 5 weeks old.

Incubation rooms

Incubation room Grumbach air-forced incubators type compact S84
Incurbation room for non-domesticated pheasants One Grumbach forced air incubator type Compact S84, suitable for artificial incubation of most rare pheasant eggs.
incubator3 Frontal view of 3 Grumbach forced air incubator (2 for incubation and 1 for hatching (above)).

5. Quarantine and hospital.

New birds are acquired on regular basis in order to diversify the gene-pool of our stock birds. Immediately after arrival, all new birds are put in isolation, away from our stock birds, to give the newcomers a chance to acclimatize to their new environment and to settle down well. Admittedly, new infectious diseases are kept at a safe distance from our stock birds. Hence, the risk of spreading of such diesases is kept at a minimal level, also because there is strong veterinarian and personal control on these new birds while in quarantine.

Apart from this, we also maintain one small hospital unit to take proper care for sick birds, which are put in a small cage, given warmth and proper medication.

6. A.I. room and equipment.

Artificial Insemination is done on all those species that are known to produce large numbers of infertile eggs, because of wrong behaviour and/or inbreeding. We have performed A.I. on almost all species of pheasants, available in captivity except for the peacock and argus pheasants. What can be said with certainty is that A.I. is the perfect tool to correct fertility in captive pheasants and other galliforms, provided some essential conditions are met :

  • the people doing A.I. are familiar with the technic, if not, there will definiely be losses.
  • the birds, meant for A.I., must be kept in smaller aviaries and most preferably single for easy trapping and handling.
  • the right equipment to perform A.I. on pheasants is being used in the correct way.
  • a special facility is made available for A.I., where semen can be taken from the male and inseminated into the oviduct of the hen. This facility is best located at the short distance from all aviaries in which all A.I. birds are being kept, for quick handling and keeping stress at minimal levels.
  • A.I. is best done by two persons, who understand the application of the technic, in the pheasantry. Both are willing to invest a major part of their time into the application of the technic during the breeding season.

 
 



 


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