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Male pheasant aggression towards chicks (1 Viewer)

Anyone able to help with pheasant behaviour?

Earlier in spring a male pheasant started visiting our garden bird feeders. Shortly after, he was joined by a female pheasant. Result: she nested in our garden, and last Wednesday 14 chicks hatched. Over the last week quite a few have been lost, probably predation from a range of sources, neighbours cat, and the crows have taken a keen interest. Although the chicks are a bit kamikaze, with a bit of a death wish, and an amazing turn of speed. As of today, I think there are between 7-9 left. Yesterday, the male pheasant behaviour seems to have changed (until now he’s mainly patrolled his ‘territory’ and followed the female and chicks but otherwise not had much to do with them) and he’s quite aggressive to the remaining chicks, chasing and pecking them quite relentlessly and the female seems more unsettled. Apart from filling the feeders for the usual garden birds, we’ve pretty much left them to it, and just enjoyed watching the chicks antics from a distance. Any idea whether the male’s aggression towards the chicks is normal? Everything I’ve found online suggests the male doesn’t have anything to do with raising the chicks.
 

maplekong

Well-known member
England
There have been reports of male pheasants killing chicks, but I'm not sure how common this is. The male might just think they are pests on his territory, some bird species do that to their young. How are they now?
 

Andy Lakin

Well-known member
Quite a few species will chase their young out of an established territory once they feel they have outstayed their welcome. Coots and moorhens can be brutal even to the point of fatally injuring their offspring apparently! I can imagine that the male may be protective of an easy food source but could be wrong.
 
There have been reports of male pheasants killing chicks, but I'm not sure how common this is. The male might just think they are pests on his territory, some bird species do that to their young. How are they now?
Thanks so much for responding, that’s really helpful. We have 3 chicks left out of the original 14. The male seems to have settled back to his general disinterest and carefully distanced following the female and chicks. Last year, a crow nested in the garden and raised two chicks. All three have been taking various chicks (blackbird particularly) so we think they are mainly responsible for the loss of the pheasant chicks. But at least the male pheasant has settled back to his former self.
 
Quite a few species will chase their young out of an established territory once they feel they have outstayed their welcome. Coots and moorhens can be brutal even to the point of fatally injuring their offspring apparently! I can imagine that the male may be protective of an easy food source but could be wrong.
Thanks Andy, that’s such a helpful thing to know. It’s mainly the male that comes for food, and once a day the female. As you say, it’s definitely brutal, looks quite vicious pecking. Now there are only three chicks he seems to have settled so perhaps 14 was an unexpected intrusion. Whether those three will survive the crows I doubt, once they know there’s a food source they just return until it’s gone.
 

KC Foggin

Very long time member
Supporter
United States
Thanks Andy, that’s such a helpful thing to know. It’s mainly the male that comes for food, and once a day the female. As you say, it’s definitely brutal, looks quite vicious pecking. Now there are only three chicks he seems to have settled so perhaps 14 was an unexpected intrusion. Whether those three will survive the crows I doubt, once they know there’s a food source they just return until it’s gone.
Fingers crossed for the little ones.
 
Hello! How's it going?
Hello! Ah sadly we lost them all. For a while I thought we’d have 3, one disappeared a week past Friday and then we had two left all weekend. Monday morning, no more chicks. However, the pair of pheasants are still in our garden and the female keeps disappearing so she may be laying a new clutch. Thanks for asking :)
 

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