Incubating and Hatching Pheasant Eggs

Incubating and hatching pheasant eggs requires a specific process to insure success. The process we use at MacFarlane Pheasants is documented in our online booklet called The Complete Guide to Incubation. You can download our booklet for free and try incubating and hatching your own baby pheasants! Let me use this article to share some of the finer points of preparing and incubating pheasant eggs so you are aware of just what it takes to end up with beautiful baby chicks!

Incubators

  • We use an expensive unit called the NatureForm Model I-14 to incubate our eggs but you can buy a small incubator with a digital reading for under $100.
  • You need a mercury thermometer to calibrate the incubator.
  • You need absorbent paper to place under the eggs in the hatcher and boxes to place the chicks in after they hatch.
  • You will need Gro-Gel neonate supplement for chicks after they hatch.

The Eggs

  • Collect eggs daily. You can’t let the hen sit on them!
  • Eggs must be washed before they are put into the sanitized incubator. Watch our egg wash video to see how this is done at Macfarlane Pheasants. If you are just working with a few eggs you can rinse them in 105 degrees Fahrenheit water and dry them right away. Read more about this process in the incubation guide.
  • Pheasant eggs must be stored at temperatures between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity has to be kept at least 75% lower than the outside room.
  • Don’t store the eggs for more than 10 days before beginning the incubation process.
  • Warm the eggs gradually. Read about the process in our incubation guide.
  • Eggs hatch at 23 1/2 – 24 day after they are placed in the incubator. Keep reading our incubation guide to learn about responsibilities during days 1-24! It’s not complicated but it does require turning eggs four times per day to keep the embryo from sticking to the membrane. Follow the guide to learn what to do once those fluffy chicks hatch!

Enjoy our Complete Guide to Incubation and please contact us if you have questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incubating and Hatching Pheasant Eggs

Customer Service at MacFarlane Pheasants. Inc. is Outstanding

We have five talented people in our office at MacFarlane Pheasants. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the colleges they attended. They are experienced, educated and dedicated to outstanding customer service.

Sarah Pope is the General Manager in our office and is responsible for Human Resources. She has a degree from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse in Political Science. Her agricultural background led her to MacFarlane Pheasants.

Rachel Atherton is the Global Marketing Director and also keeps all our systems running with her Information Technology skills. She has a degree in International Business from Monmouth College in Illinois. Her education serves her well in the global marketplace where MacFarlane pheasants are sold.

April Goble is our Chick Coordinator. She handles all major chick customers and their accounts. She also gets all paperwork ready for the hatchery to assure that the chicks arrive safely to each customer. April graduated from Blackhawk Technical School with a degree in Criminal Justice. Her love of the outdoors (hunting and fishing) brought her to MacFarlane Pheasants. 

Karina Rangel is our Administrative Assistant. She helps in every department as needed. She is very versatile. Two of her main duties are to keep our retail store stocked and help customers find what they want. She is also bilingual and assists us with customer service and employee needs. Karina attended San Diego University for one year before moving into the work world. She worked as a marketing manager and a dental assistant, before moving to Wisconsin and working in our office. She enjoys getting to know people and is well suited for this job. 

Sarah Baker is our Mature Game Bird Coordinator. She handles all the shipments of mature birds and works with customers to assure that they get their birds ordered and delivered when they want them. She handles day to day office “stuff” to keep everything running smoothly. Sarah attended Carroll College and has a BS in Biology with an emphasis in animal behavior and two minors (Physiology and Small Business Management).

 

Always feel free to call our office at 608-757-7881. Our staff is prepared to help you with any of your pheasant or other game bird needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Service at MacFarlane Pheasants. Inc. is Outstanding

Fighting Hunger by Filling Empty Bowls-October 28, 2017

Let me begin by inviting you to attend the Empty Bowls event at Parker High School, 3125 Mineral Point Ave., Janesville, WI, on October 28, 2017, from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

WHAT IS EMPTY BOWLS?

Soups, artisan breads, beverages, desserts, and entertainment (SWINGfish and Parker High School Musical) will be provided at a cost of $8 for online tickets and $10 tickets at the door. Featured soups are provided by local businesses from all over Janesville. It never ceases to amaze us at the number of businesses in our community who share their resources to make this event a success. MacFarlane Pheasants has joined in this event for many years and is a proud participant.

The soup is locally made and delicious, but more importantly, your attendance helps the fight to end hunger in our little corner of the world. This lunch fundraiser will support Everyone Cooperating to Help Others (ECHO), our local faith based charity, dedicated to helping those in need of food in our community.

Sarah Boyd, our favorite chef, will be preparing Smoked Pheasant Florentine for MacFarlane Pheasant’s soup contribution this year. This soup has been a favorite in past years and is back this year by popular demand.

Join us in supporting the fight to end hunger in our community. Please register online at Empty Bowls and join us at Parker High School on the 28th of October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fighting Hunger by Filling Empty Bowls-October 28, 2017

Reasons Why Buyers Prefer MacFarlane Pheasants

The number one trait buyers look for in a pen raised bird is performance like a bird naturally found in the wild. We have literally used a lifetime of experience to raise all of our pheasants with the attributes of a perfect wild pheasant. Our birds are uniform in size and right in the desired weight range to be the best flyers (around 2 pounds). No one wants a fat pheasant. Hunt clubs want their pheasants to be the best flyers and the most beautiful examples of wild birds! 

Hunters want to feel that they are indeed hunting wild pheasants. The perfect pheasant doesn’t fly straight up in the air. It flushes and coasts creating a vision of excellence with its bright green back, dark brown sides, distinctive ring around its neck, and long pointed tail. MacFarlane Pheasants raises these beautiful pheasants consistently. In fact, we have already delivered 100,000 birds this year. 

One of the main reasons, buyers prefer MacFarlane’s pheasants is that they can be assured that the birds are healthy. We are vigilant about biosecurity. We test our feed weekly for aflatoxins. None of our employees are allowed to own birds because we can’t take a chance that they would carry disease back to our farm. Our office staff takes orders and organizes all the paperwork necessary for shipping and for buyers to receive their game birds. Our delivery drivers follow every precaution when delivering birds to assure our buyers that they will be receiving the best looking, healthiest pheasants anywhere in North America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons Why Buyers Prefer MacFarlane Pheasants

Celebrate MacFarlane Pheasant Employees

Raising pheasant and partridges is the easy part of our job at MacFarlane Pheasants. We hire talented employees who enjoy working outside and are knowledgeable or willing to learn about game birds. The real challenge on a game bird farm, or in any business is to figure out how to help employees be successful at their jobs.

Our mission statement at MacFarlane Pheasants is “sustained profitability focused on integrity and accountability to employees, vendors, and neighbors, with respect for our birds and the environment.” We have Town Hall Meetings with employees and owner Bill MacFarlane, every 6 months. Managers do not attend these meeting but all crew members are in attendance. This is an opportunity for employees to share their needs and concerns.

  • What equipment/tools do you need to do your job?
  • Are the processes of your job clear so that you can do it correctly?
  • What changes would you make to the farm?
  • What makes a quality/professional farm?

In order to help employees succeed we need to get to know them as individuals. We figure out individual limits and interests by being in constant communication. We set goals with individuals and teams. Our Town Hall Meetings help us to meet this goal and to understand individual mindsets and strengths.

Managers celebrate accomplishments. Sometimes it is as simple as a pat on the back, a “thank you,” or “good job.” We have also celebrated teamwork and individual accomplishments by providing lunch, going to Badger games, Mallard’s games, tubing on the lake or a day of fishing. The most important part of employee success is to have goals and have your accomplishments celebrated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate MacFarlane Pheasant Employees

Art Schumacher Keeps Our Equipment in Tip-Top Shape!

Art Schumacher is the maintenance manager at MacFarlane Pheasants. It takes a lot of equipment to operate our pheasant farm so he is a busy man. Art has worked at MacFarlane Pheasants for 10 years. Prior to that, he worked at Allied.

Art learned some of the skills needed, to be in charge of maintenance, at his prior job. But he will be the first to tell you that much of what he has learned about keeping equipment running well, he learned from hands on experience.

A typical day in the maintenance department includes maintenance checks and repairs on the equipment and vehicles at MacFarlane Pheasants. When I asked him what his major responsibilities were, he said, “ to keep equipment working.”  This man of few words does just that. Our equipment is in tip-top shape and we can thank Art for his many years of service and skill at performing his job so well.

When Art is not working he likes to golf, fish, and camp. He also likes to spend time with those most important to him, his wife Pam, his daughters, son, and 5 grandchildren.

Last but not least, Art told me that the best advice he ever got was “Practice what you preach.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Schumacher Keeps Our Equipment in Tip-Top Shape!

Game Bird Delivery Season in the United States and Canada

We have begun shipping pheasants, French partridges, Hungarian partridges, and Chukar partridges from MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. for the season lasting from the middle of August until March of 2018. Our drivers have already traveled to Canada, Montana, South Dakota, Idaho, and Colorado since the middle of August and we are just getting started! By the end of the season, drivers will have also delivered to Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, Wyoming, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Michigan. During the first week of September local customers can bring their own crates or use our cardboard boxes to pick up birds, as long as they place an order 72 hour in advance. It really is an exciting time around the farm!

We have already shipped about 100,000 birds, this year. This includes 44,000 started birds (six weeks old).  Started birds are only delivered within 8 hours of the farm.  Just to give you some idea of the magnitude of our deliveries, we can transport as many as 5000 birds in the semi we rent. It takes this much space to fill the orders from private property owners, hunting preserves, and naturalists who release our birds into the wild to repopulate an area.

Keep in mind that a spring order is recommended for the fall season in order to ensure that you get the number of birds and breeds you want. Once it gets closer to the season we call our customers to confirm the delivery date. Our coordinator schedules trucks, drivers, gets all required paperwork ready, and calls the customer to confirm the delivery date in late summer. Details of the delivery are discussed in detail with our customers so they are ready for their game birds. Every year the long cycle of bird delivery follows a similar pattern, but the season also feels brand new each year as it starts over. Delivering birds means life is good at MacFarlane Pheasants.

Please contact Sarah Baker at s.baker@pheasant.com or call us at 608-314-3461 for questions about ordering game birds or getting ready for your delivery!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game Bird Delivery Season in the United States and Canada

How do we ship game birds?

MacFarlane Pheasants Inc. ships pheasants and other game birds in shipping crates built by a dedicated on-staff carpenter. Basically, we use what we call a warm weather small crate and a cold weather large crate. Recently, we began trying out the use of manufactured plastic crates.  Avian Influenza is a threat we worry about constantly. Plastic is easier to clean and least likely to hold invasive bugs or micro-organisms.

We have had a great deal of success with our shipping crates in the past. Our birds are shipped all over North America and arrive healthy and on time, but there are important factors to crate design that help us get the job done efficiently and safely.

  1. We plan enough space for the number of birds we are placing in the crate.
  2. We plan proper ventilation for the time of year we are transporting birds.
  3. We plan for loading and unloading the crates efficiently.
  4. We plan proper size/weight/handles for carrying.

We have around 3000 crates on hand at all times. The majority of them were built right here on the farm. Though we are in the midst of a transition to plastic crates, I thought some of you might still be interested in knowing about the crate design we have used for quite some time.

The primary crate we use on the farm is a wire sided small crate with a flap door at one end. The size of the crate is 24” long x 16” high. The top and bottom of the farm-made crate are made of 1/2” treated plywood. The three sides are covered with 1” square vinyl-coated wire. The flap door is hinged and hangs from a metal rod at the top of the crate. It will only push open to the inside. The wood frame of the longer sides prevents the door from opening to the outside. The birds inside the crate keep the door from opening.

Each crate will hold:

  1. 6 mature Ringneck cocks or
  2. 10 mature Ringneck hens or
  3. 15 Chukar Partridges or
  4. 15 mature Hungarian Partridges.

The large crate is 24 x 32 x 9 1/2.” This is the crate we use for rooster shipping in the winter as it has holes drilled for ventilation but not open sides. This crate will hold 10 mature roosters.

Lastly, the dimensions of the plastic crates we are using also come in two sizes and hold the same amount of birds as the small and large wooden crates.

If you have questions please contact us! We love sharing game bird experiences with you! Join us on Facebook for more game bird fun.

 

 

 

 

How do we ship game birds?

Why Can’t I own Birds if I Work at MacFarlane Pheasants?

Health and safety are topics that are always at the forefront of our planning at MacFarlane Pheasants. Health and safety go hand in hand with biosecurity. That is why it states specifically in our employee handbook that employees are forbidden to own birds of any kind. There are many backyard flocks that are not tested regularly, like our flock is, for Avian Influenza and other diseases. Interacting with a backyard flock and then coming into our flock at MacFarlane Pheasants is dangerous for our birds. The ownership of birds is one of the many biosecurity issues on a game bird farm. 

Another common issue is that diseases can be carried on your boots. That is why employees cannot wear their boots off the farm. Even if they don’t own birds but they take a walk in the woods and pick up contaminates on their boots, the worker would bring the risk back to our farm. Employees must change into their work boots as soon as they get here. Incoming delivery drivers wear booties and clean off their tires with disinfectant before entering the grounds. Even in our workrooms, each crew member has dedicated coveralls and dedicated footwear for each bird room they enter. All footwear is disinfected before workers enter a workroom. This just names a few of our precautions beyond the rule that anyone working on our farm cannot own birds of any type. 

It is sometimes difficult to find employees who are willing to work outdoors year-round and understand and follow our biosecurity guidelines. Once we find a prospective employee who is willing to do so, we ask if they own birds of any type and explain our rules regarding bird ownership and all other biosecurity guidelines. MacFarlane Pheasants offer great benefits and competitive wages. It is a great place to work. If you are interested in working here, please read more about employment and biosecurity on our blog site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Can’t I own Birds if I Work at MacFarlane Pheasants?

Testing for Aflatoxins in Feed at MacFarlane Pheasants

Aflatoxins are nasty contaminates found in feed. No animal is immune from aflatoxins. They are produced by certain molds, like aspergillus flavus. The good news is that feed companies must test for these molds regularly and constantly and we have never had to return feed because of high aflatoxins. We don’t let the testing by our feed supplier be the last test, though. We test four random feed samples on the farm per week. We have often talked about how important it is to do everything possible to insure the health of our birds. This procedure is just one of many steps we take to make our birds stay healthy. 

When we test the feed, we grind up a small sample and dissolve it in a liquid solution. We use test strips and two machines that are specifically designed to process and detect mycotoxins. In our case, we are specifically looking for aflatoxin. A small amount of the sample is placed on the test strip and incubated in the first machine. Each strip is placed in the second machine where the aflatoxin would be detected. Anything below 3 ppm is not a concern. As I indicated in the introduction to this topic, we have never had to return feed due to high aflatoxins. Our feed company does a good job and we follow up with double checking our feed at least 4 times per week. 

Kate Roulette K.Rollette@pheasant.com and Chris Theisen Chris.@pheasant.com can answer specific questions about our testing for aflatoxins and other bird health and safety questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing for Aflatoxins in Feed at Macfarlane Pheasants