135,000 Pheasant Eggs Left for Europe on May 17, 2016

MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. has burned the midnight oil to prepare for a shipment of 135,000 pheasant eggs that left for Europe from Chicago O’Hare Airport on May 17, 2016. It takes a lot of people-power to put together a shipment of this size, and communication is the key. The office was busy getting numbers, health certificates, coordinating drivers, and scheduling flights for the eggs. Many people were involved in boxing the eggs and getting the eggs ready for shipping.

What did it take to get eggs ready for shipment?

 Eggs were collected daily, prior to this shipment. Our egg collection crews were collecting over 30,000 pheasant eggs daily from our breeder flock.

  • Every egg was washed soon after collection by the egg washing crew at the breeder farm.
  • The eggs were picked up by the hatchery crew and taken to the hatchery. Each egg was then stamped with our NPIP number.
  • The eggs were then cased (boxed) at 420 eggs per case.
  • The 135,000 eggs were cased in 324 cases.
  • The cases were then palletized (see the attached picture).
  • Within 24 hours of the shipment leaving for O’Hare, the USDA vet in Madison signed the health certificate.
  • Our trucks delivered the shipment to O’Hare Airport with the original health certificates.
  • Lastly, the shipments left O’Hare for Charles De Gaulle Airport and for Heathrow Airport in London.

When the eggs arrive in Europe, our customers immediately take them to their hatcheries to begin the incubation process.  We have been shipping eggs overseas for many years now, and our employees never lose the excitement of knowing our hard work is responsible for pheasants (eggs, in this case) traveling around the world. We are grateful at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. for our employee dedication to this shipment and the shipments yet to happen this season. This is a busy time of year for chick and egg sales. Be sure to watch our website for sales and call us at 800-345-8348, if you need help with your order.

135,000 Pheasant Eggs Left for Europe on May 17, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

135,000 Pheasant Eggs Left for Europe on May 17, 2016

It’s Time to Order Your Day Old Chicks!

There are some fabulous deals on chicks during June at MacFarlane Pheasants.

  • K-Thunder Cocks-available for order June 14, 2016
    K-Thunders are a high flying bird that is a smaller blue backed pheasant with excellent tail quality. Mature birds are 2.25 to 2.5 pounds for cocks and 1.6-1.8 pounds for hens. The lighter weight makes it an amazing hunt bird with fast high, flight. There is a strong demand in 2016.
  • Chinese Ringneck Cocks– available for order June 21, 2016
    The most popular of breeds, this pheasant is used primarily for stocking and hunting. The weight of the Chinese Ringneck at maturity is 2.7-3 pounds for the cocks and 1.7-2.2 pounds for the hens. These hardy birds adapt readily to the wild and are prized by sportspeople for their excellent flying ability and brilliant colors.
  • Chukar chicks-available for order June 20, 2016
    The chukars are partridges with zebra-like stripes on their wings. They have a black band running from the forehead, across the eye, down to the other eye. They are a favorite addition to any hunt because they hold well in cover and get up and go when flushed. They weigh in at 1 pound.
  • Melanistic Mutant Straightruns are available June 20, 2016
    The Melanistic Mutant is a pure breed. These large pheasants feature an iridescent, greenish-black plumage. They have an awesome ability to reproduce in the wild and are a favorite for release. The cocks weigh in at 3.5 pounds and the hens weigh in at 2.5 pounds. SOLD OUT! CHECK BACK SOON!

We provide service from our support team for every sale of partridge and pheasant chicks so you can buy with confidence. Pricing lists are available by clicking on the links with each type of chick listed. We also provide a Rearing Guide and Tips on Raising Pheasants that you can download. Call us at 1-800-345-8348 with any questions you have about chick orders or to place your orders. We are ready to help you with any questions you might have.

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It’s Time to Order Your Day Old Chicks!

Sharing Our Daily Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection

Every day is an adventure in the Maintenance Department at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. We take care of 4 Kenworth trucks, 3 Freightliner trucks, 2 Mercedes Sprinter vans, a Ford F 550 truck, and a Ford F 450 truck.  We make a lot of deliveries from our farm and it is just part of reality that vehicles have issues.  We take our responsibility seriously in the maintenance department. That is why we have a Daily Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist for our vehicles that is signed and dated. It includes the action taken if any problems are identified by our 3 person crew. Vehicles don’t leave our lot without being in tip-top shape. The checklist covers the following items:

Walk around inspection:

  • Observe under vehicle for leaks or obstructions
  • Notice any dents, scratches, or other damage
  • Check muffler condition and securement
  • Check tire pressure
  • Check tire treads
  • Check wheels (bent, loose, missing lug nuts, or flap)
  • Check lights
  • Check clearance (license, interior lights, reflectors
  • Check doors
  • Adjust mirrors

Open Hood

  • Check oil and fill with correct motor oil
  • Check radiator overflow container level
  • Check fluids at proper level (brake, steering)
  • Check windshield washer level
  • Check battery housing and connections
  • Check visible drive belt, hoses, and wires
  • Check windshield condition and cleanliness

Start Engine

  • Check transmission fluid level
  • Check to see if all gauges are working
  • Check windshield wipers and blades
  • Check horn
  • Check defrosters
  • Check heater and air conditioner
  • Check emergency brakes
  • Check steering wheel for play
  • Check pallet lift operation
  • Check back up beeper
  • Check fire extinguisher (correctly charged, dated, and secured)
  • Check first aid kit (proper items and replenished)
  • Check blood pathogen kit (required items)
  • Check for 3 reflectors (complete and in red box)
  • Check seats and handrails (condition and secure)
  • Check seat belts
  • Check for seat belt cutter
  • Check that exit windows and roof hatch are functioning
  • Check for current insurance and ID
  • Check for current registration and safety inspection sticker
  • Check that vehicle is free of loose objects
  • Check for overall cleanliness

Please contact Jay Illbeck, Assistant Maintenance Manager, at j.illbeck@pheasant.com  if you have more questions about our checklist. We really do enjoy hearing from you!

Jay Illbeck in one of our trucks.

Jay Illbeck in one of our trucks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing Our Daily Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection

6 Feed and Water Procedures to Keep MacFarlane Pheasants Healthy

Feed and water are the life source for our game birds. Our system for making sure our     pheasants and other game birds stay healthy, by receiving proper hydration and nutrition, has 6 main procedures:

  • We check feed and water systems daily, and each time we enter a room or pen where our birds our housed. An automatic system can fail at any time so it is essential that we catch a failing system immediately so that our birds never run out of feed and water.
  • We monitor feed consumption because if the birds are not feeling well they will not be eating as much as they usually would. Their lives depend on our crew catching the early signs of ill health.
  • We stay on top of our feed orders by doing a scheduled feed check. In the hen barn the bins are checked once a week, as we do not go through feed that quickly. Other areas of the farm are checked more frequently.
  • We also don’t want to attract rodents so we are on the alert for spills and keep the feed areas spotless. We’re a pheasant farm, not a mouse farm!
  • Pheasants living in outside pens are monitored for growth of their tail feathers. A tell tail sign that they are lacking feed space is that the tail feathers are not growing at the correct rate. We determine this by observing other pens of birds of the same age. We are very careful to check and double check our bird space ahead of time to prevent these situations from happening.
  • Feed and water continue to be a main concern when we are staging birds for delivery. The night before we drive birds from the pen to the staging lane and then to the catch pen, we follow a specific procedure. We make sure we have feed and water in the lane in advance of staging the birds. Birds can sometimes be in crates for up to 36 hours so it is important for them to have access to feed and water right up until the time they are placed in crates for a delivery.

There are so many learning experiences going on at the farm every day. Please feel free to schedule a farm tour in the near future. We think the best way to learn about raising pheasants is by observing the process in action. If you have questions about feed, feel free to contact us.

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6 Feed and Water Procedures to Keep MacFarlane Pheasants Healthy

Game Birds Bring People Together

Bill MacFarlane, the owner of MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc., is a proud member of the North American Game Bird Association (NAGA). The association is important to the many hundreds of game bird producers and hunting preserve operators in North America.  Bill, like his father and uncle before him, values the opportunity to work together with other game bird producers and hunting preserve operators to preserve the long tradition of responsible use of the environment.

NAGA’s mission is to protect, promote, and sustain a positive environment for game bird producers and hunting preserve operators. Their activism is influential in bringing game bird people together to preserve wildlife in rural America, prevent disease in the game bird populations, and develop plans for environmental management. They also provide education, public awareness and influence legislation that is a benefit to the game bird business and the environment.

Bill enjoys the yearly conference, provided by NAGA, for game bird owners and producers. It is an excellent opportunity to network with others in the business and also to hear about all the latest topics affecting all of them. “There is strength in numbers,” Bill says.  “I like working with others to protect our birds from disease, provide scholarships for post high school education, protect the environment and influence political concerns that affect the game bird business.”  Thanks to NAGA we have the opportunity to do all of these!

 

NAGA logo

 

 

 

Game Birds Bring People Together

Brad Minguey Contributes to MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.

Brad Minguey has been a supervisor at MacFarlane Pheasants for about 4 years but his experience with pheasants began when he was 12 years old. He describes work on a pheasant farm succinctly. “It’s not easy work but when the season is over you feel like you have really accomplished something. Then you start all over again and try to do better than the year before.”

A typical day for Brad is getting the crew going for the day and then pitching in to get the work done. During this time of year, there are young birds in the barns, so all of them are checked frequently throughout the day. We have talked about the importance of that job in other posts. We have to make sure they are healthy, alert and problems are identified and remediated immediately. Others on the crew begin washing feeders, tilling pens, setting up pens for birds who will soon be moved out of the barns, and repairing pens, as necessary.

Brad said spring and fall are the busiest times of year on the farm. “In the spring we have to get our pens ready for the young birds and move them out into the pens. Then we have to clean the barns for the next batch of birds. In the fall, we are catching all the mature birds to ship and that work is non-stop until April.”

Brad is most excited about going to work every day because he gets to do work that is unlike anything else and it is exciting to be a part of a unique business. He also commented, “Most of the work is outside and that is a big plus.” I think Brad speaks for many of our employees! Love of the outdoors is a necessary attribute for pheasant farmers!

You may contact Brad at b.minguey@pheasant.com if you would like to learn more about daily life on our farm.

Brad Minguey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Minguey Contributes to MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.

Smart Investments On Our Pheasant Farm That Pay Off in the Long Run

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We are making some big investments in our pheasant farm this spring. After completing our regular review of needs this year, we decided on some important work that must be done and some equipment needs that will improve our ability to effectively and efficiently accomplish caring for our bird population. Here’s what’s going on in spring 2016:

  • By April 22, 2016, we will have installed a new net over outside Pen #8 and repaired all broken posts and support cables on the pen. It will take our crew of 3 people 6 weeks to complete the project. The new net is 495,000 square feet (11.4 acres). We can expect this new netting to last around 20 years. Read more about flight pens on our website.
  • We have purchased a feed truck that will hold 15-18 tons of feed, depending on the feed type we are having delivered. There are 6 compartments on the truck that will hold 2-3 tons each. By purchasing our own feed truck instead of contracting the work out, we have analyzed the cost savings to be 35%. When you go through 6,400 tons of feed every year this works out to be a large savings. In addition to the savings, we now have complete control of where our truck goes and what goes into the truck. It’s hard to put a price tag on the added bio-security this truck will provide.
  • Our two Kabota tractors have been traded in for 2 new John Deere Tractors. The John Deere tractors are heavy duty and small enough to drive into all of our pens. We decided on the John Deere tractors for several reasons:
    • They are made extremely well. We use our tractors steadily and we need something that will hold up!
    • They are competitively priced for the product you get.
    • They are easily maintained.
    • They are easy to operate.
    • They are very reliable-we can’t afford to have a tractor go down during the busy season!

We invite you to visit the farm and view what a brand new pen looks like and see our new feed truck and tractors in action. Feel free to contact chris@pheasant.com with your questions! I know we have told you this before, but we love hearing from you! We hope you will visit our Facebook page to look for new topics and please let us know we are meeting your needs for information, by liking our posts!

 

 

 

 

 

Smart Investments On Our Pheasant Farm That Pay Off in the Long Run

MacFarlane’s Food Division is a Busy Place

Shayne Noller, our Food Division Supervisor, recently shared his excitement about how busy his crew has been during this last year. This was a recent post on our Facebook page that explains a part of Shayne’s excitement!  “Exciting things are happening at the farm today! We are shipping 40,000 pounds (over 1700 cases) of frozen pheasant to Japan. The container of pheasants will be trucked to Chicago, then it will go on a train to San Francisco and finally will take a boat ride to Japan. “

Shayne shared his comments about the importance of the USDA certification. “Our staff worked hard to fill this order and we are proud to say that our USDA pheasants will be available in the Japan market now! This would not have been possible if we had not received USDA certification in the past year. We were previously inspected by the state of Wisconsin, which was an excellent inspection, but did not allow us to ship internationally. After a process that took about two years, we became USDA certified and it gave us the ability to broaden our horizons.”

Let’s take a look at what keeps us busy in our growing Food Division!

  • Our USDA inspector comes in on processing days and reviews all of our paperwork, including our Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan, (HACCP), and standard sanitary operating procedures. He inspects the cutting room and cutting process. We are happy to report that conformance issues are rare. We have worked together to implement improvements, such as a new air curtain in our back loading dock that prevents any outside elements from entering the building, while we load and unload trucks. Since we are always looking for ways to improve and increase our food sales, we appreciate our USDA inspector’s assistance.
  • We have regular customers throughout the year that order products weekly so we are also busy processing those products. Many customers want fresh birds, so those birds are packaged and shipped or picked up the day after being processed. Our most popular product is dressed whole birds.
  • During the holiday season, from October to January, we ship gift packs that often include whole birds, pheasant pot pies, and smoked whole pheasants. In addition to these pheasant products many people also add items from the retail store into their gift packs. These include sauces, spices, sausages, candy, and recipe books. We even have specialty gift boxes that include wine and Bloody Mary glasses, cutting boards, and other specialty items.
  • Except for a few months in the spring and summer from April to early June, when we slow down after the holiday season, there are usually 6-7 full time employees and 1-2 seasonal employees, as needed. Terry overseas our cut room and ensures that the right products are cut to fill our orders. The main cutters, who cut whole birds into different products, are Maurice, Brenda, and Luz. Alan aids in cutting and mans the vac knife machine. The vac knife is used to retrieve the remainder of the meat from the carcass. Jordan runs our sealing. All items are placed in either bags or pouches and sealed in this machine. This removes all oxygen and seals the products tightly for storage.
  • When our work is finished for the day we clean and sanitize the cut room. The crew cleans all equipment and surfaces in the room. The room and all equipment is washed, rinsed, and sanitized with spray nozzles connected to a hose that is hooked up to a dispensary. It sprays just the right amount of cleaning and sanitizing products. All tools, such as knives and scales, are hand washed and sanitized in a designated sink.

We’re proud of our work in the Food Division at MacFarlane Pheasants. You can be assured that our products are top quality and we encourage you to take a look at all products we have available at our online store.

Japan truck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MacFarlane’s Food Division is a Busy Place

Breeding Pheasants with Beautiful Tails

Ringneck Pedigree Pheasants are a unique population of birds we raise at MacFarlane Pheasants. They have the best combination of all pheasant traits. Their lineage is tracked and recorded as we continue to develop the best birds. Breeding pheasants that are hardy and healthy with long, beautiful tails is rewarding. Pedigree birds are used to reproduce breeder males.  When we find great traits we want those traits to be repeated for many years. It is such an interesting process to study pheasants and find those with the best qualities of a pedigree.

We measure a number of traits, including tail length, and then use the birds with the best combination of traits for breeding. It is possible that there are folks out there that don’t care about a long, beautiful tail, but once you see the Pedigree Ringneck you come to a new understanding! Actually, the breeding of birds, via specific traits, over time, leads to a very uniform and consistent bird year after year. Visit our website to view pictures of all the birds we raise at MacFarlane Pheasants. But, before you do, enjoy this good-looking pedigree pheasant!

Breeding Pheasants with Beautiful Tails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chinese Ringneck is the most popular of breeds. This pheasant is used primarily for stocking and hunting. These hardy birds adapt readily to the wild and are prized by sportsmen for their excellent flying ability, brilliant colors, and long beautiful tails!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breeding Pheasants with Beautiful Tails

What is the Big Deal About Maintenance?

We have lots of equipment at MacFarlane Pheasants and we spend a great deal of time making sure that every piece of equipment is kept in great shape. It is important for us to protect our investments, from feed and water systems to delivery trucks. If we don’t maintain our equipment, we waste our resources and we just can’t let that happen, if we want to keep our business profitable!

We have recently shipped our last birds. It is time to get our farm ready for a new season. New hatches will soon be ready to be moved outside to flight pens. We are removing feeders and water pans from the pens and mowing down the remaining cover. Once this task is accomplished we will begin rototilling inside the 150 acres of pens, in preparation for planting fresh cover. Other crew members are going through the pens and repairing any damage, including holes in the top net, holes in the side wire, and broken posts or gates. In addition to this work, we are washing and sanitizing all feeders and water fountains.

Equipment has to be checked out and made ready to go before we can begin preparing the pens. We have nearly 30 licensed vehicles on our farms. In addition to pickup trucks used on the farm, we have delivery trucks, tractors, mowers, manure spreaders and other pieces of equipment that have to be maintained.

We have gators that are great for getting around the farm and in and out of the pens. We use them to haul all the needed equipment into the pens. A gator is a John Deere 4-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle with a small truck bed on the back of it. Gators are important resources to the farm and have been excellent work-horses for us. We take good care of them and keep them fueled up and ready to go so every morning so we can begin the day with confidence.

Trucks that we use on the farm are maintained regularly but also cleaned out and washed each day. All tools and equipment are removed and put away at the end of the day. That way we can start every morning with both tools and equipment ready to go. There is nothing more frustrating than starting the day with missing equipment or a truck with a problem!

The trucks we use for chick and pheasant delivery are gone over with a fine tooth comb, by our maintenance supervisor before they go out on the road. Coolant leaks, flat tires, fuel problems or broken springs can be disastrous when we are delivering a cargo of pheasants. Imagine a driver with 10,000 chicks stranded during a delivery!

Spring is in the air and we are excited about another productive season. If you would like to learn more about  our maintenance procedures or any topic on our farms be sure to contact us.

What is the big deal about maintenance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Big Deal About Maintenance?