Pheasants are a pleasure of our garden but not without their drawbacks. We have had them for several years and they have become relatively tame, appearing on time each morning, when I go to leave out the hens, and give them some rolled barley. They are always within reach in the garden during the day and come to a low wall outside the kitchen window if I have failed to leave enough food for them. One feeds from my hand – pheasants will do anything for peanuts! They are not pets and are not tamed but are very much our pheasants and they add an extra interest to our gardening lives.

Pheasant chicks in veg patch  (6)
These chicks hatched earlier this summer and have made themselves perfectly at home in our garden – I was standing about two metres away when taking this photograph and they are perfectly comfortable with that. 
Pheasant chicks in veg patch  (7)
This chick is obviously a cock, beginning to show the red colour around his eyes
Pheasant chicks in veg patch  (2)
Just a little nibble at the lettuce –  in fact,they eat very little of the vegetables
Pheasant chicks in veg patch  (5)
This is “Ditzy”, our  most amusing pheasant. Instinct seems to tell her that she should run away when I come too close but her brain seems to engage and tell her there is no need to do so. As a result, she flits left and right, flapping her wings in a panic, as though changing her mind and undecided what to do. 

However, there are some little disadvantages – very little, and really just part of the amusement of having them in the garden. When the weather is hot and the soil becomes dry pheasants, like the hens, like nothing better than a dust bath. This is all very well but it has become obvious that the perfect place for this dust bath is the latest prepared seed bed in the vegetable garden. Obviously, this disturbs the seeds, germination is lost, time is lost and the work has to be done all over again – while the pheasants look on and wait for a newly raked and prepared bath.

Pheasant dust bath
A dust bath between the courgettes. 

This has called for drastic measures and the latest seedbeds have had added security added to frustrate their beauty treatments. I’m sure they will find another location!

Netted veg bed  (1)
A seed bed with added security. 
Netted veg bed  (2)
Protection for the seedbed.
Pheasant cock  (1)
The Daddy of them all – waiting to be fed! 

Paddy Tobin

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