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Fascinating Phantams

A) Your query prompted me to try and find out as much as I could about phantams. It is, I discovered, a subject that has long fascinated poultry keepers. Charles Darwin mentions hybrids between domestic fowl and pheasants in his book The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, and a number of 19th century poultry keepers managed to achieve such hybrids. The resulting offspring are described as both wild and sterile.

I?ve kept free-range bantams for several years, and wild cock pheasants feed alongside my hens every day, but I have never seen a pheasant display any interest in the hens. My bantam cockerel ignores the pheasants completely, as there is clearly no rivalry between the two. I suspect that a cock pheasant confi ned in a pen might take more interest in his female companions.