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Keeping and Breeding Vieillot’s Crested Firebacks
Courtesy of Alan Downie and Zoë A. Hunter
Allandoo Pheasantry – Breeders of Ornamental Pheasants in Southwest Scotland
The Vieillot’s Crested Fireback is also known as the Malayan Crested Fireback. They are endemic to Malaysia and Sumatra.
The cocks have very glossy blue/black plumage. The top half of the curved tail is pure white. There are also contrasting white streaks on the sides of the body. They are very impressive with blue facial wattles, a bushy crest and large spurs.
The hens do not have the same showy coloring as their male counterparts but they are a lovely bird. They are a chestnut brown with a crest somewhat flatter than their mates. They also have blue facial skin and the breast feathers are edged in white.
As these birds are from a tropical climate they do need some heat in the colder months. The temperature in their shelter should be at least 5°C. However they are easy to look after and will do fine on a proprietary game feed.
As with many pheasant species the Fireback cock can become quite aggressive to its mate during the breeding season. It is therefore very important to include plenty of cover in the aviary to allow the hen to hide if necessary. Our Firebacks seem perfectly happy and are thriving in aviaries 18′ x 12′.
The Vieillot’s firebacks are often into their third year before breeding successfully. It is a long wait but well worth it.
They will start laying at the end of April and lay 5-8 eggs in a clutch. They will lay 2 or 3 clutches in the season.
Firebacks have wonderful personalities and make some very unusual noises (for anyone who remembers the children’s TV programme “The Clangers” – they sound just like them), especially when they are cross or upset.
They keep us quite amused with their antics and can become very friendly birds as well as being truly stunning to look at in the aviary.
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