Back in the fall, I asked my bird-friend to come over and tell me if my coop was ready for the winter. I wanted to make sure that my prized birds would be safe, warm, and hopefully ready to breed in the early spring. After experiencing bad bird-luck during the summer, I felt that I had finally crossed the hurdle and looked forward to gazing on a beautiful show in my coop during the next summer.
My bird-friend came on by and took one look at my male red-golden pheasant and nodded with approval. (This was my second pheasant after the first one flew right over my head and out of the coop) After the bird-friend gave a low whistle, I knew I had scored. He told me he had never before seen such a nice looking bird. Instantly my heart swelled up with pride and I determined that no matter how much money it cost, when this bird died, I would have it stuffed.
The new pheasant I bought was truly spectacular to look at. He had a dark, rich colours. His comb was large, giving him a real unique look.
I was able to keep my breeding pair of pheasants, silkies, partridges, and one silly looking cross breed bird all in the same cage. This made caring for the birds through out the winter easier.
During the first part of winter, it was simple taking the water out to the cage once a day and checking up on the birds but my heart sank when one day I discovered my partridge dead on the coop floor. It bothered me but there was comfort that I could buy a new one in the spring from my bird-guy who has a wonderful supply of birds for a decent price.
Then tragedy occurred a few weeks later. I checked in on the birds one late afternoon and was shocked to see all three of my silkies laying on the ground...dead. Their silky feathers were scattered all around. I quickly scanned the coop for my pheasant - it was no where to be seen. I turned on the light and checked the nesting boxes desperately hoping it was tucked safe inside but my beautiful red golden had totally disappeared. There wasn't a feather or any clue left behind. I checked the snow for foot prints because this bird would be worthy of theft. As I scoured the coop, desperately hoping that the red golden would make a sudden appearance, its female partner perched high on her roost, safe and sound. After our investigation, we did discover a tiny hole where a rodent must of crept up through to kill the silkies, but the hole was so small there would be no way a large pheasant could fit through it.
This whole thing remains a mystery. An unsettling mystery.
But here is an important question: when is it time to call a hobby quits? When is enough, enough?
The cost, the hassle, the extra work...these issues all play into the decision.
Right now I am thinking its time to say good-bye to the specialty birds and just stick with the practical, egg-laying hens.
BUT when spring comes...it could be a different story...
red -golden male pheasant #1
The three docile, comical silkies - gone.