Observations on the patterns of embryonic mortality over the laying season of pheasants.
1. Embryonic mortality of domestic pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) eggs was recorded for a 10-week laying season for two groups of laying hens maintained under mating ratios of 8:1 and 12:1 (females:males).
2. Mating ratio had no significant effect on embryonic mortality between 1 and 4 or 5 and 20 d but values for these categories doubled as the laying season progressed, both rising to 8% to 9% of fertile eggs.
3. Higher embryonic mortality was observed between 21 and 25 d for the eggs from the 8:1 mating ratio (14.5% of fertile eggs compared with 12.1 %) but this was unaffected by week of setting.
4. Reasons for these patterns of embryonic mortality were not clear and further research is needed to determine the factors affecting embryonic mortality in pheasants.