What is MacFarlane Pheasants Inc Connection to Rocky Comfort, Missouri?

MacFarlane Pheasants is continuing to expand its operations to meet the needs of customers. We purchased a farm in Rocky Comfort, Missouri in September of 2017. This is a tiny town on the eastern ridge of McDonald County. McDonald County, Missouri, established 1849, is located in the southwestern corner of the state and has about 23,000 people in the whole county. The 40-acre farm purchased by MacFarlane Pheasants has been established as a breeder farm. 

Our new farm, titled MoMac, sits on 40 acres, has a farmhouse for staff, four 40×400 feet barns, and miscellaneous other barns. Before we put birds in the barn in November, we had quite a bit of work to do. Troy Cisewski, Brad Lillie, Brian Klein, Sarah Pope, and Ryan George traveled to MoMac to evaluate the birds, after their arrival, and work on various projects to insure the success of this new addition to the MacFarlane Pheasant business. Troy Cisewski continues to oversee the MoMac Farm. 

One full-time employee assisted and supervised the cleaning out of the barns, pressure washing everything, and prepared the bedding. We also had to install new water drinkers for the birds, do some repair to feed lines, install light timers and test all fans and heaters. 

Since MoMac is a breeder farm we had to select some great breeders from our Janesville farm and ship the 8000 hens, in two shipments, to the MoMac farm. Each barn now has 2000 laying hens that will lay from January till August. The eggs produced from these breeders are stored on-site in an egg cooler and shipped to Janesville, on a weekly basis, to our egg wash department and then moved on to the hatchery.  

Currently, there is one MacFarlane employee at the farm, picking eggs and keeping the operation running smoothly. In mid-March, we have 2 men coming from South Africa on a 10-month work visa, who will work at the MoMac farm picking eggs from the four barns. The employees will also clean plassons, do top dressing, and mow around the house and barns. Troy will be in charge of training them. At peak production, we should be getting around 6000 eggs per day. That’s a lot of egg picking!  

We are pretty excited about this new farm. Having our breeders off-site and isolated is a good biosecurity measure. We have been producing eggs in barns for many years in Janesville so now we are learning to replicate the process from afar. Growing and learning at MacFarlane Pheasants is a huge benefit to our customers. Every change we make is designed to meet our customers’ needs.











What is MacFarlane Pheasants Inc Connection to Rocky Comfort, Missouri?

The Production Palace at MacFarlane Pheasants

We kept you informed about our new Hen Barn as we built it, so now it is time to talk about what we are doing with that beautiful building. First of all, it has been renamed, “The Production Palace”. The Hen Barn staff was put in charge of naming the facility and we think they made a clever choice. 

The Production Palace is a white bird production facility where we are breeding the birds that produce the eggs that will hatch our birds that will be raised for meat production! Doesn’t that sound like a Dr. Seuss story? This new Hen Barn is a palace! It is a brand new 4900 square foot building, with all new equipment. Our staff says, “It’s decked out like a palace.” 

The Production Palace went into use on May 22, 2017, and the first group of chicks were placed on June 5, 2017. The Production Palace has 4 rooms. Room 1 is where we start the hens at day one of age and they remain there until they reach 24 weeks of age.

At that point, they are of breeding age and are moved into the laying room, which is Room 3. We have a young male room that the males are moved into from the Hen Barn at eight weeks of age. At 24 weeks, males are moved into Room 4 for light stimulation and where they will produce semen for artificial insemination. 

We are currently at the highest production levels ever at MacFarlane Pheasants! Fertility is being maintained at a high level in the newest Hen Barn and I believe our birds are satisfied with their Production Palace! The end result is awesome white pheasant meat for our customers to enjoy.
















The Production Palace at MacFarlane Pheasants

Dillon Seamster Talks About His Life and Work At MacFarlane Pheasants

Dillon Seamster has worked at MacFarlane Pheasants for a little over three years. He started out as a crew lead with the Pen Crew. As a crew lead, Dillon was required to learn all of the paperwork related to his job and also how to run full crews for an entire shift. He attributes his training and experience for helping him to develop his people skills and learning how to keep everything moving forward in a positive manner. One of the positive moves forward for Dillon is that he recently became the manager of the Pen Crew. 

As the manager of the Pen Crew, Dillon’s job entails delegating the breakdown of the crews and assisting in catching birds for customers. An important element of this job is ensuring that only the highest quality birds are caught for customers. After the main shipping season winds down, Dillon’s crew shifts their focus to placing blinders on the young birds and moving them out to the freshly prepared pens. 

He applied at MacFarlane Pheasants at the encouragement of a former employee. It turned out to be a very good decision! His advancement is an example what a good fit Dillon has been for the farm. 

Dillon graduated from high school in Newport, North Carolina, where his entire family still lives.The family is very important to Dillon and he stated emphatically that he wouldn’t be who he is today if not for them! In fact, when he was asked who was most influential in his life he said it was his dad because his dad led by example and taught him many important skills and attitudes. 

Dillon likes to be productive at work and in his free time. He likes to go to the gym, when he’s not working, work on car audio, and collect old and foreign currency. 

Dillon concluded his interview by sharing that for him “the best part of working at Macfarlane Pheasants is definitely the people.”












Dillon Seamster Talks About His Life and Work At MacFarlane Pheasants

NAGA Convention 2018-Motivating and Informative for Pheasant Farms

Brad Lillie, Sarah Pope, and Bill MacFarlane attended the North American Game Bird Association (NAGA) convention Jan 15-17 2018 in Seattle, Washington. MacFarlane Pheasants has been involved with NAGA for two generations so they never miss an opportunity to attend and participate. There were 70 attendees at the convention, this year, held at the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle. Many opportunities were provided for guests to network with others in the game bird business.

Brad, Sarah, and Bill came back from the convention with new information from experts in the business and motivation to try out some new ideas. It is always encouraging to be with like-minded people. The NAGA mission is “to protect, promote, and sustain a positive environment for game bird producers and hunting preserve operators.” They focus on preserving wildlife in rural America, raising public awareness, and environmental management.  The NAGA mission is truly a source of pride for all game bird operators.

Preventing disease in game bird populations is also a major mission of NAGA and so to honor that goal there was an excellent sectional on educating employees on biosecurity. Brian Beavers spoke about documenting biosecurity measures. John Metzer talked about implementing biosecurity plans and MacFarlane’s Sarah Pope spoke to the group about training employees regarding procedures for biosecurity.

Brad Lillie of MacFarlane Pheasants was also a speaker for the event. He shared his thoughts on where he sees the game bird industry in the short and long term. Brad thinks baby boomers will fuel the industry in the short run and that hunter interest will remain engaged. The economy could be either a plus or minus feature for the industry because the economy is so hard to predict. Brad expects less “public” opportunity for hunting to exist but says the opportunity for private hunting enterprises will be good! In the long run, there are mostly questions. Will there be a new generation of hunters and will hunter interest remain?

We encourage you to take a look at the NAGA website for more thoughts about game birds and taking care them and our environment.
















NAGA Convention 2018-Motivating and Informative for Pheasant Farms

MacFarlane’s Milton Farm 2017-2018

Management changes took place at the Milton Farm in late summer. Brian Check left the Milton Farm to become the farm manager at the Janesville Farm and Brian’s assistant, Matt Welsh became the Milton farm manager. Changes like this give employees opportunities for continuing growth and development. We think that is a winning combination for job satisfaction and productivity! 

The Milton Crew, lead by Matt Welsh, was running with three crew members until January. Now, only two staff members are keeping the farm in operation. Three of our South African guest workers had been working at the Milton Farm, but we wished them a fond farewell, as they returned to their homes, this month. 

During the winter months on the Milton Farm, crew members are caring for, roughly, 10,000 adult pheasants. 

Until just a couple days ago we have had plenty of cold weather in the Milton area, but very little snow. (We got about three inches of snow on the 23rd of January.) That meant that most days this winter, the birds have been watered daily, using the tractor and water tank. Once the water would freeze, the crew also had to break the ice from the pans before watering. 

The rest of their time involved feeding the birds, vacuuming excess feed, setting rat baits, and breaking down pens that were no longer in use. This continuing process includes cleaning and sanitizing all equipment, in preparation for spring set-up, our busiest time of year.














































































MacFarlane’s Milton Farm 2017-2018

Who Entertains Us with Pheasants Year After Year?

Our company Christmas card has been drawn by the same artist year after year. Every year we have a card with a pheasant theme to tickle your funny bone and share our wishes for a Merry Christmas. Ron Lawrence, currently living on a family farm in Crawford County, is the artist who has drawn the MacFarlane Pheasant Farm Christmas card for more years than anyone can remember! He has a long history with the MacFarlane family. 

Ron worked full time at General Motors in Janesville until his retirement, but for 28 years he worked part-time at MacFarlane Pheasants. Ron decided he needed to supplement his income because he wanted to buy the family farm. Obviously, it worked for him because he lives on the farm he began paying for when he was 20 years old! He took the job at MacFarlane’s when Bill MacFarlane was a teenager and his dad, Don MacFarlane owned the business. Ron continued to work at the farm when Bill took over the business. In fact, his work with pheasants was such a big part of Ron’s life that his nickname at General Motors was “Pheasant.” 

Ron (Pheasant) Lawrence was the youngest of three boys. When he was 5 or 6 years old, his older brother sent a picture to “Can You Draw This” from the back of a magazine. Ron decided he liked keeping up with his older brother and began to copy pictures from the comic strips in the paper. He continues to love doodling and making pictures out of the stories his friends tell. He has spent his entire life drawing cartoons for relaxation. 

Ron remembers drawing a caricature of the entire crew at MacFarlane Pheasants for Fred, a foreign exchange worker at the farm, who was leaving to return to France. Everyone enjoyed the picture so much that Bill asked Ron if he would be interested in drawing the Christmas card for MacFarlane’s. He has been drawing the Christmas card for the farm, ever since. Bill has two framed pictures in his office with all of the cards Ron has drawn. 

As you can imagine, Ron is very important to MacFarlane Pheasants. We hope you have enjoyed his cards over the years and though we miss him, we are sure glad that his many years of hard work led him to the farm in Crawford County that he loves so much!
















Who Entertains Us with Pheasants Year After Year?

The Talented Krista Ventimiglia Joins the MacFarlane Pheasant Team

Krista  Ventimiglia joined the MacFarlane Hen Barn crew in July 2017. Her work involves helping to create the white meat pheasants via artificial insemination and raising the pedigree white pheasants. She also works with the Hen Barn crew to collect and record data on the birds. Krista is in charge of weighing eggs and collecting the data for choosing the egg-laying pedigree hens!

Krista grew up and still lives in Durand, Illinois, which is about 25 miles south of the MacFarlane farm.  Poultry has always been her specialty. She was active in 4-H for many years, showing her prize poultry. Krista currently judges small animals for the Winnebago County Fair. But working at MacFarlane’s and judging at the fair isn’t enough to keep this active employee busy!

Krista also makes jewelry from, none other than, MacFarlane pheasant feathers, washed and sanitized before they become jewelry. The jewelry is made from Ringneck, White and Melanistic Mutant feathers with semi-precious gemstones, wood, or glass beads. Some of the jewelry contains found peacock feathers from another location. All of the jewelry is on display and for sale at our retail store on the main MacFarlane Farm.







This jewelry is so unique because the feathers were found on our farm and the employee is producing the jewelry for our store. Krista’s talents don’t stop there, though! She is considered the Hen Barn’s craftiest person, so she takes on the job of decorating the port-a-potty for the holidays.

In addition to her work for MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc., and her work crafting, Krista is busy raising two boys.  Dominic is in second grade and Nicoli is two years old. Their dog, Bea Arthur is a fun addition to her family.

When I asked Krista who the most influential person in her life had been, she was anxious to tell me about her former boss, Deb. She said, “Deb taught me to believe in myself and that I could do anything I put my mind to. I would not have gone after the job at MacFarlane Pheasants or started my jewelry making venture if it wasn’t for her continued support and encouragement.” Krista said Deb was a “wonderful example of tolerance and strength,” and considers herself very lucky to have her constantly cheering her on.

Lastly, when I ask Krista what she enjoyed most about working here she said it was interacting with the birds. She said, “I love their funny faces and their personalities. I enjoy snuggling the birds, which I believe is what has led to a significant improvement to the white pheasant program within the last six months.”

We enjoy Krista’s many talents and feel lucky to have such a hard-working, talented employee on our farm.









The Talented Krista Ventimiglia Joins the MacFarlane Pheasant Team

The MacFarlane’s Enjoy A South African Braii

In March 2017, 10 hard working and interesting men from South Africa got employment visas and traveled from their far-away homes to MacFarlane Farms. They certainly fulfilled MacFarlane’s need for workers and everyone gained valuable cultural experiences. Thanks, guys!

Wicus Jacobs

Ronnie Viljoen

Gerhardus Martunis Venter

Len Noort

Johan Jacobs

Jano Smith

James Saayman

Kallie Englebrecht

Bradley Wade

Anton Meijer

With that in mind, during a traditional Thanksgiving experience at the MacFarlane’s home, the men were discussing foods they missed most from their homes. A “proper” Braii was at the top of the list. A Braii is a cook-out!  The guys explained that a “proper” Braii does not use gas or a charcoal grill, though. A Braii is made with a huge bonfire and meat is placed on a grate over the fire, when the coals are hot enough. Our South African friends were at the right place because Bill and Dori have an outdoor fire pit!

When Bill and Dori MacFarlane asked the South African guests if they would like to have a Braii at the MacFarlane home, they were ecstatic and immediately volunteered to provide the meat. A date was set and plans were put in place, including inviting Sarah Pope, Brad Lillie, Chris Theisen, Brian Klein, and Troy Cisewski to join in the fun.

The guys explained that a Braii always features lamb, but also includes several other kinds of meat. Side dishes are not valued at a Braii. In fact, the only side dish was a Greek salad because Ronnie Viljoen’s Mom suggested it!

The day of the Braii arrived and the temperature was zero. Camping chairs were brought in because the swings surrounding the fire pit were too far away from the warmth of the fire. Ronnie and Martunis arrived first and with a little help from Micah Boyd, they got the fire started. The fire was going strong when the rest of the guys arrived.

Coolers of meat arrived with them. Johan brought his guitar and played and sang while everyone else cozied up to the fire. He started with American songs but was soon asked for some traditional South African music. The party heated up when others joined in the singing to traditional South African songs. What a great way to stay warm! Eventually, Johan put his guitar away and they played traditional music on the Bluetooth speaker, while everyone chatted.

After being outside in zero degrees weather for several hours, the coals were finally hot enough to cook, ribs, tenderloin, chicken, steak, and brats. Dori said, “Maybe there were more kinds of meat but, honestly, I lost track! We were having so much fun.” In addition to all that meat, Johan and Len made Braiibroodjie, which is a South African grilled cheese with tomatoes, sliced onion, and apricot jam in it. Traditionally chutney is used in the sandwich, but they just couldn’t find any, locally.

Under normal circumstances (warmer weather), this meal would be eaten family style, outside, but for this meal, when the cooking was done, all 20 people ate family style in the house. It was just too cold, as the fire began to die down. Bill and Dori said there was enough food for 100 people and the meal and company made the whole experience an unforgettable night.

What a delightful way to end the 10 months these South African men were a part of the MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. family.

















































The MacFarlane’s Enjoy A South African Braii

Typical Work Day for The Brooder Crew at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.

The brooder crew is always busy at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. Crew members are responsible for the youngest chicks on our farm so their work is intensive and important. We have two shifts per day.

Day Shift Hours-7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Night Shift Hours-2:00 p.m.-11 p.m. 

  • A typical day includes both work and communication with each other, maintenance if needed, and the opposite shift.
  • Chores include walking every barn, washing waterers, checking feed, heat, and removing chicks that have died. The chores take about 3 hours.
  • Crew members meet up when chores are done to discuss any maintenance needs and report the needs to the appropriate person.
  • Each day is slightly different but after chores we might be putting chicks in barns, breaking down and cleaning out barns, moving birds from an A room to a B room, moving huns from room to room, bitting huns, helping with peeping, or moving older birds outside.
  • Luckily, we have lunch at noon!
  • The afternoon includes finishing morning tasks and making our afternoon check of every barn to check the well-being of our birds.
  • Lastly, the day shift communicates with the night shift about what is complete or needs work. The night shift carries out similar work and is in the brooder barns from 2:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. The last check of the evening before the night shift leaves, includes setting alarms so that if the temperatures drop in the barns, we are alerted immediately.

If you would like to learn about our brooder crew and their work, please contact Brian Davis (b.davis@pheasant.com).



















Typical Work Day for The Brooder Crew at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.

What does It Take To Work On MacFarlane Pheasant’s Brooder Crew?

Our job posting for a brooder crew worker lists the basic skills needed to work anywhere on our farm. A crew member needs to be: responsible, dependable, motivated, have organizational skills, common sense, acute attention to detail, have a valid driver’s license, and be able to lift 50 pounds or more.

In addition to those skills, we look for some other attributes and experiences that will insure success on the brooder crew.

  • Positive attitude
  • Willingness to learn
  • Quick learner
  • Internal drive and a sense of urgency
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Strong communication skills
  • Punctual
  • Honest
  • Reliable
  • Ethical

Tractor and skid loader experience is also a huge plus in this position.

The reason these attributes are important for a brooder crew worker is that we work in a fast-paced and tightly scheduled world. We have young, wild birds in the barns and they can be unpredictable.

During our peak, we care for nine barns with around 220,000 birds at one time, with birds hatching weekly. It takes super organization to make sure their environments, feed, water, and care is top quality. We also do a fair amount of our own maintenance to keep our equipment in tip-top shape. We are always looking ahead to new technology so that we work smarter, not harder. Sometimes things go wrong. There can be lots of stress with so many young animals. A positive attitude and the ability to work with a team to solve problems are essential qualities.

MacFarlane Pheasants is an equal opportunity employer. If you are interested in working on our pheasant farm, please see our website at https://www.pheasant.com/contactemployment/employment.aspx.















What does It Take To Work On MacFarlane Pheasant’s Brooder Crew?