25 Years of the Manchurian Project – Part 1

MacFarlane Pheasant Farm is justifiably proud that it’s been 25 years since we first imported Manchurian pheasant eggs into the United States, and we’re still the only pheasant farm that maintains a pure flock of the feisty birds. What we sell on our website – www.pheasant.com – is a cross with our MacFarlane ringnecks. These hardy birds are a little bigger than ringnecks, a little flashier, and they retain the wild traits like explosive and powerful flight that makes them excellent sport birds.

We’ve set up a slide show, http://tinyurl.com/p7xfor7, to chronicle the history of our importation. As an aside, it’s a substantial investment to keep the flock of Manchurians and keep carefully crossing it with the ringnecks, but it pays off with some great birds and after 25 years – you can be sure we know what we’re talking about.the-story-behind-macfarlane-pheasants-importation-of-manchurian-pheasants-12-638

The first couple of slides lay out the three-year process it took to get the permits and paperwork to be able to import the eggs. The permit was for 1,260 eggs from Changchun City, China to come to the United States Changchun is also call Jilin City, and the Changchun Province is also called Jilin Province.  This is why our birds are sometimes called Jilin pheasants.   The eggs were collected in the brushy, hilly highlands of Changchun (near the border of North Korea) and they were to go to Beijing to Tokyo and then to Chicago.

The eggs started their journey in late May of 1989 and then a tragic, historic event – the Massacre at Tiananmen Square, which held them at the Beijing Airport for a week.

They arrived in Chicago with a health certificate from China, unfortunately, no one here was able to read the language.  Wisconsin had previously decided the eggs couldn’t cross into the state, so we set up a quarantine barn in Harvard, Ill. We didn’t have very high hopes we’d get any birds because the eggs had sat for so long. But we did get 400 chicks out of the eggs we imported. The chicks went through extensive testing by the USDA to confirm they were healthy and to establish they were 100% Manchurian.

In slide 8 you can the chicks, right away we noticed they had advanced wild traits. Even at that young age – they ran from people. Slide 9 shows full-grown Manchurian pheasants – note the ring that goes all the way around the neck, the larger size, and how much darker the hens are.

Next – A visit to China helps put into perspective the MacFarlane’s Manchurian project

Manchurian Ringneck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Years of the Manchurian Project – Part 1

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