The Phasianus colchicus reproduces sexually. The male ringed-neck pheasants or cocks, leave their winter home range in late March to early April to establish their breeding territories. The older females, or hens leave their winter range a few weeks after the cocks to return to their previous summer range that is within a cock’s breeding territory.  The younger hens tend to wander around before settling into a cock’s breeding territory (Riley and Schultz, 2001). The cocks become very aggressive during the breeding season. They strut by puffing up their brightly colored feathers and crow to discourage any other males from intruding into their breeding territory as well as to attract some of the younger hens that are not sure where they want to settle down. A cock pheasant tries to acquire a harem of up to twelve hens (Riley and Schultz, 2001).
     Hen pheasants nest on the ground and they typically begin building nests in overgrown pastures and hay fields in May. A pheasant nest is a depression in the ground that is lined with feathers and grass. On average it takes a hen around 16 days to lay a clutch of eggs. Clutch sizes vary, but normally consists of 7-16 eggs, and incubation takes around 23 days. When you factor together how long it takes a hen to lay a clutch of eggs, and the incubation period, this buts the hatching of the chicks in June. One adaptive advantage that the ring-necked pheasant has is that if a nest or clutch of eggs are eaten or destroyed, a hen will often reattempt to nest up to four times throughout the summer. As a result of this, pheasant chicks can hatch anytime between June and September (Riley and Schultz, 2001). 
     A few hours after the chicks hatch, they are able to run around and eat. The hen is very protective and caring for her young, she broods, or hovers over her young for the first three weeks (Riley and Schultz, 2001). The hen and the chicks stay within a few hundred feet of the nest during the first few weeks, because the chicks are not able to move very fast or fly, so they best defense against predation is limiting their movement to avoid detection. Around six weeks of age, the chicks begin to develop adult plumage, especially the males. At this stage the chicks are extremely motile. They can’t fly or run as long or fast as their adult parents, but they are not far behind them. By one year of age, the chicks are sexually mature adults (Riley and Schultz, 2001).

Now you know how pheasants interact with each other but do you know what other species the ring-necked pheasant interacts with? Click Interactions to find out!

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