Hen Barn Update May 2017

We let you know in February 2017 that construction had started on a new building on MacFarlane Pheasants. We are excited to report that our new hen barn construction has been completed. The electricians are working to complete their role in this project and cages that are a part of the facility have arrived in port from Germany. The benefit to this expansion is that by November of this year our dressed bird production will be significantly expanded.

White Pheasants are raised exclusively for dressed meat that is sold through our distributors to restaurants and grocery stores. They are sold to the general public directly from our retail store and online store. The new hen barn will expand our business significantly as we expect the 3000 laying hens, the barn will accommodate, to translate to the production of 12,000 eggs per week.

We hope you will visit our store at 2821 South US HWY 51, Janesville, WI USA 53546, when you are in the area, and consider a virtual tour to see a hen barn in action.

Hen Barn Update May 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hen Barn Update May 2017

Wing Banding-Why and How We Do It

Wing Banding is one of the many jobs done by our research crew. We wing band our pedigree birds to keep track of who their parents/grandparents are, weights, egg production and even the exact location of the bird. Identifying our pedigree birds is done so that we have a continuous cycle of producing the best pheasants.

What is a pedigree bird? It is the cream of the crop pheasant! Pedigree pheasants have clear, bright eyes, perfect feet with straight toes, and perfect legs and hocks, In general, perfect bodies and feather development are all indicators of a pheasant that is an excellent producer of more perfect birds! These are the birds that we need to identify and follow up on.  We wing band these birds at one day old.

How We Wing Band

  • In order to wing band without damaging tiny tendons or injuring blood vessels, employees must know the anatomy of the wing.
  • The major bones in the wing are shaped like a V.
  • There is a tendon running from the shoulder of the bird to the wrist. Yes, pheasants have a wrist! This tendon is called the web cord.
  • The entire V shape is covered with a thin piece of skin called the wing web.
  • The chick is picked up with one hand and with the thumb and forefinger the tiny wing is held out.
  • The band is inserted just past the web cord and not too far into the wing web. If the wing band is not placed perfectly, the tendon or tiny blood vessels can be injured.

The wing banding stays in for the life of the bird and provides us with all the information we need to keep track of our pedigree birds and produce excellent pheasants consistently.

Wing Banding-Why and How We Do It

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wing Banding-Why and How We Do It

WI Livestock and Meat Council Recognizes Don MacFarlane

WI Livestock and Meat Council Recognizes Don MacFarlane

The WI Livestock and Meat Council Inc. is a 58-year-old company located in Wisconsin. They established the WI Meat Industry Hall of Fame to recognize the contributions of individuals who have had a significant impact on the meat industry of Wisconsin. These contributions may be business ventures, ideas, processes, inventions, or any other effort that has positively influence the people and environment of Wisconsin. Don MacFarlane, who started his pheasant business in Janesville Wisconsin, was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame on May 4, 2017. His company lives on as MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc and has grown to be the largest Pheasant farm in North America, owned and operated by Don’s son, Bill MacFarlane. 

Don started his pheasant business in Janesville WI in 1935 and continued to grow the business for the next 50 years. In 1945 Don contracted polio, but even though he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair or struggling to walk with crutches, he loved life, his community and his business, and MacFarlane Pheasants continued to thrive. One of his accomplishments was developing a white feathered pheasant through selective crossbreeding with ringneck pheasants. These white pheasants continue to be a big part of our business and are raised exclusively for our Food Division at Macfarlane Pheasants. 

Don made many contribution to the community during his years as the owner and operator of MacFarlane Pheasants. His brother in law, Jim Adamson joined the business in the 1950s and ran day to day operations while Don ran the office, built up the business and participated in the community. Don’s family is proud to have Don’s contributions to the meat industry recognized. You can read Don’s entire story on our blog site in an article titled, The History of MacFarlane Pheasants, Part 2: All in the Family.

 

 

WI Livestock and Meat Council Recognizes Don MacFarlane

Environmentally Friendly Compost Turner Is Our Newest Piece of Equipment

We are renting a new machine from UW Madison called the Aeromaster PT-120 Compost Turner. Now that is a mouthful of words! This new machine works strictly in an aerobic process. We can inoculate the decomposing material with many strains of bacteria to build up the humus crumb.  In other words, we expect our compost material to revert back to environmentally friendly dirt!

Here is what it does.

  • Removes carbon dioxide and replaces it with oxygen to allow for the breakdown of organic matter
  • Manages temperature by removing excess heat and allows the wind-rows to continue the breakdown of organic matter into compost
  • Mixes without pulverizing-the turning process must mix the material exposing particle surfaces to moisture and microbes without turning the material to dust.
  • The compost turner thoroughly mixes wind-row materials without pulverizing the humus crumb structure that develops during the build-up phase of the composting process
  • Allows a one-man operation with operator control from the cab
  • Mixes and blends composted materials by moving the perimeter materials to the center and center materials to the outside of the wind-rows.

Here is how we prepare.

  • We create wind-rows approximately 4 feet high and 4 feet wide.
  • The rows are made up of used bedding that is cleaned out of the chick barns.
  • Once a week the wind-rows are turned.

This equipment is brand new to us so we are excited about following the process of our decomposing material and using a process that is environmentally friendly. MacFarlane Pheasants is committed to being responsible users and protectors of the environment.

Environmentally Friendly Compost Turner Is Our Newest Piece of Equipment 1Environmentally Friendly Compost Turner Is Our Newest Piece of Equipment 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmentally Friendly Compost Turner Is Our Newest Piece of Equipment 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmentally Friendly Compost Turner Is Our Newest Piece of Equipment

Fans and Intakes at MacFarlane Pheasants Keep our Game Birds Cool!

Our game birds are cool because they are beautiful and healthy!  But, in addition to being cool, we have to keep them cool. One of the ways we keep them comfortable is by using fans and intakes to move and refresh the stagnant air in our barns. This is one of the many ways we create a healthy and productive growing environment.

Every room/barn has at least one fan and intake and most have more. The fan exhausts the hot and stale air from the barn and the intake brings in clean fresh air.

Inside the hen barn, most of the rooms have a fan that is set on the second stage and is connected to an intake. When the barn reaches a certain temperature (usually 5 degrees higher than the target temperature) the fan will turn on and the intake will open. The fresh air is usually cooler and will bring the temperature down.

If the air is hotter outside, the intake will be bringing in the hotter air, but it will be fresh and moving air. Game Birds, like people, appreciate moving air when its hot!  Rooms with older birds typically have the intake on the same fan as the timer to always bring in fresh air when the timed fan runs. The intake is best located on the opposite wall as the fan, allowing  a cross flow of air to sweep across the birds.

Like any piece of mechanical equipment in our barns, the fans and intakes have to be checked daily and maintained regularly. Managers of each department are responsible for their own fans and intakes. They are checked daily, in warm weather, by moving the temperature dial of each fan and intake to force them to kick on. Any problems are immediately reported to our maintenance department.

If you need more information about fans and intakes in game bird barns, we invite you to contact us. We would be happy to help.

Fans and Intakes at MacFarlane Pheasants Keep our Game Birds Cool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fans and Intakes at MacFarlane Pheasants Keep our Game Birds Cool!

10 Hatching Tips for Incubating Pheasant Eggs Successfully

Our hatchery at MacFarlane Pheasants is where we incubate eggs and hatch our pheasant chicks. The most important part of incubating eggs is to provide heat, humidity, and ventilation. If you can provide those basic needs and follow some basic steps, 25 days later you will have some beautiful peeping chicks.

  1. Pheasant eggs are incubated at 99 degrees and 51% relative humidity for the first 100 days.
  1. We check the temperature using a mercury thermometer. (Even if the incubator has a digital reading it is important to verify the temperature.)
  1. The incubator must be up to temperature BEFORE we put eggs in it. We also make sure there is good airflow.
  1. Eggs are turned 3 times per day to make sure the chicks do not stick to the inside of the shell. It really is a labor of love.
  1. On day 10 we candle the eggs to determine if they are viable and growing. We use a piece of foam and a handheld mag light.
  1. At 21 days the temperature is reduced to 97.8 degrees. This is not absolutely necessary, but since chicks are expending lots of energy to get out of their shells it helps them not to get too dehydrated. The eggs are not turned at this stage.
  1. After another 4 or 5 days and the chicks are out of their shells, dry, and ready to go to the barn.
  1. Special fee is provided to begin the process of raising the healthy, newborn chicks.
  1. Providing constant water sources are critical to raising healthy chicks.
  1. Keeping these tiny bodies warm helps them to keep them stress free!

Following this process and being especially attentive to temperature, humidity and airflow leads to successful hatches year round! If you wanted to try hatching chicks, an incubator can be purchased at a farm store for $100-$500. The miracle of life is exciting whether it is on a large or small scale!

We have added a link for you so you can watch this exciting hatching process in action. Enjoy and feel free to contact us with your questions.

Your comments and questions on our Facebook page are always appreciated. Our mission is to provide information that is interesting and beneficial to pheasant lovers everywhere!

10 Hatching Tips for Incubating Pheasant Eggs Successfully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Hatching Tips for Incubating Pheasant Eggs Successfully

10 Things You Should Know About Driving for MacFarlane Pheasants

  1. Delivery driver applications are considered year-round.
  2. Drivers can apply by walking into our retail store and filling out an application.
  3. Drivers must have a Class A CDL or be able to attain one.
  4. Experienced drivers are preferred but we are willing to help train new drivers to attain their CDL, if we think the person is right for the job.
  5. Drivers must have a good driving record so they are insurable.
  6. Drivers must be able to lift 75 pounds (the weight of a large crate of birds).
  7. Drivers are part time, so this is a good job for someone who only wants part-time work.
  8. Drivers must be able to follow instructions, precisely.
  9. Drivers must be computer literate as we will soon be using electronic logging devices in all our trucks.
  10. Drivers must be responsible and trustworthy.

Please visit us at MacFarlane Pheasants if you want to fill out an application.

?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Things You Should Know About Driving for MacFarlane Pheasants

Living By the Numbers When Raising Fabulous Pheasants

The guidelines used to provide feed and water to pheasants from birth to maturity are like a recipe. If the recipe is followed, the end result will be the same each time. If an ingredient is changed or missing, who knows what the end result will be? Here are the guidelines we use for feed, water, and space to raise our fabulous pheasants.

The first three weeks are critical.

During the first three weeks, we provide.25 square feet of space, per bird, in the barns.
During weeks three to seven we provide .50 square feet of space, per bird, in the barns.

At seven weeks we sex the pheasants and they are separated and moved outside to flight pens.

If the cover is two feet or higher, roosters get 22 square feet of space.
If the cover is two feet or higher, hens get 18 square feet of space.

Cover and open space are important ingredients.

We mow a five foot wide path around the perimeter of each pen and a path down the center of the cover. Pheasants then have a place to get out of wet cover after a rain. It allows them to dust in the open space. The open space also allows us to see into the pens and keep an eye on the pheasants, as we drive by daily.

Feed and water space is part of the recipe.

Once birds are out in the flight pens, the ideal feed space per bird is .7 inches and water space is .1 inch per bird.

Our production is based on a premise that pheasants will be shipped off our farm when they reach 23 weeks. If we short cut our recipe, there is a risk of the birds picking. Gen-erally, if picking takes place, the tails suffer. If this happens, it delays their readiness for shipping, as time is needed for tails to regenerate. If we hold on to pheasants longer, we have more mouths to feed. So, of course, our goal is to get birds off the farm as soon as they are ready and to keep our orders filled on time, every time.

Living By the Numbers When Raising Fabulous Pheasants

 

 

 

 

Living By the Numbers When Raising Fabulous Pheasants

Coming Soon: Electronic Logging Devices for Our Drivers

MacFarlane Pheasants continues to grow technologically. Our pheasant company has been in business 88 years, so the advancements in technology, since that time, are astronomical! We made a decision to purchase an electronic logging device for our trucks and have it implemented no later than December, 2017. These new devices are like an I pad that is connected directly into a delivery truck’s engine monitoring system and they make it possible for the driver to monitor the hours spent on the road electronically. In addition to that very important function, we are looking for a system that may also include a phone and a GPS system. 

We haven’t yet purchased this device, but are exploring all the available technologies. Though we hope to purchase an electronic logging device with multiple functions, the “must have” function is a log book app. It will make the paper log books obsolete and help assure our drivers and our company that federal driving laws are specifically followed! 

The current law says that as soon as you start your pre-trip you have 14 hours to be on duty before you are required to shut down for a 10 hour break. You cannot drive more than 11 hours in a 24 hour period. The apps we are researching have a computer generated log book. Drivers enter information about driving and not driving. The apps automatically calculate hours of work and make it easy for our drivers to follow federal law, regarding how many hours they can be on the road. 

Art Schumacher (maintenance@pheasant.com) is our head maintenance man and he is quite excited about getting this device installed and ready to go. He would be happy to share his knowledge about this new technology, so feel free to e-mail him. 

 https://eldfacts.com/eld-mandate/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Electronic Logging Devices for Our Drivers

The Biosecurity Team on our Game Bird Farm

We have been implementing biosecurity practices for over 31 years at MacFarlane Pheasants. Since 2015 we have had a biosecurity team, who meets once a month, to discuss current issues, biosecurity protocols and changes in protocols due to specific situations or new information. Troy Cisewski is the chairperson. Trudy DeRemer, Rachel Atherton, and Krystal Price are members of the team. Each of them consider biosecurity a major priority.

The major reason biosecurity is such high priority is that the methods and protocols established to keep animals safe from contagious diseases, parasites, and pests are critical to the health of all the birds on our farm. When there was an outbreak of HPAI in the Midwest in the spring of 2015, we increased our biosecurity standards beyond the strict protocols we already had in place. HPAI is Avian Influenza, informally called bird flu. It is a highly contagious disease among birds and if it spreads throughout a farm, it can be quite deadly. This is one of the reasons we decided that a team, who met monthly, was necessary.

Our procedures protect our business. Listed below are just a few of them.

  1. All crew members that peep and move out young pheasants wear cloth uniforms.
  2. Our farm shoes are designated (they never leave the farm).
  3. There are disinfectant trays at every entrance to the barns, office, and break rooms.
  4. We have designated staff who move deceased birds to the composter.
  5. All equipment is washed and disinfected regularly.
  6. Tires on vehicles are sprayed off before vehicles enter all farm locations.
  7. All new employees are trained on biosecurity as they get hired.
  8. All current employees are refreshed once a year on all biosecurity protocols.

Feel free to Contact Chairperson Troy Cisewski at t.cisewski@pheasant.com with questions you might have about keeping your game birds healthy.

The Biosecurity Team on our Game Bird Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Biosecurity Team on our Game Bird Farm