MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. Renews Lease on 19 Acres in South Dakota

We currently lease 19 acres of  flight pens, in Miller, South Dakota. You can read about flight pens on our blog site. If you do, you will realize that it requires both time and money to build pens. An advantage to the property we lease is that the flight pens were there when we rented the land. Miller is a proud and beautiful agricultural community where we began raising 7 week old pheasants to maturity, last year.

The birds are shipped to South Dakota from our Janesville, Wisconsin farm. This satellite farm proved to be very productive and we recently renewed our lease for five years. The farm is an excellent location for birds that we can ship into Canada, if needed.

We raised 35,000 birds in South Dakota, last year, and expect to raise the same number this coming year. An employee lives on site and takes care of the birds all summer. We hire local help when needed and in the fall, we send a crew out to the farm to catch and deliver the mature pheasants.

The decision to extend our lease in South Dakota is a sound business decision that provides advantages for our customers. Partnerships with other communities in North America allow us to provide greater economic security for both parties. Please contact Chris at if you have questions about our satellite farm in South Dakota.

MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. Renews Lease on 19 Acres in South Dakota














MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. Renews Lease on 19 Acres in South Dakota

Free Flight Pen Construction Manual

Our managers and employees at MacFarlane Pheasants are highly trained and experienced with all facets of pheasants care. They all contribute information, used by our customers, to care for game birds they purchase for their own game bird operations. This information comes to you in the form of manuals and being available to answer questions if you contact us.

Our latest manual is called, The Complete Flight Pen Construction Manual. You can learn how to choose and prepare your site, how to build the pens, build the gates and where to find the products. Diagrams of the parts needed to build your pens and specific instructions about how to decide on the size are included. The instructions are very specific, but if you have questions, just give us a call. We are a dealer for some of the products you might need, but we have also provided, in our manual, phone numbers and emails of vendors who deal with the products you will need to build your flight pen.

Other manuals you might like to download are listed below. These are all free and filled with tips, techniques and explanations about why certain procedures are necessary.

Set up and Care for Adult Birds Manual contains lots of information about how to get ready for a delivery and how to care for your birds after you get them.

The Inside Guide to Pheasant Rearing offers insight into what it takes to run a successful game bird farm.

Raising Tips  is a guide we developed to explain how to prep for deliveries and raise your pheasants.

We encourage you to download these manuals and take advantage of the experiences and knowledge our employees have to share with you. Feel free to call us at 608-757-7881 or contact us on our website.

Free Flight Pen Construction Manual
























Free Flight Pen Construction Manual

Keeping Our Focus on Game Birds!

We made a business decision at MacFarlane Pheasants Inc. for this spring. We have 200 acres of farm land that we have been using for the last two years to grow corn, beans, and wheat. Prior to that, we rented out this land for 12 years.

Our big decision for the future is that our time must be prioritized, to focus on our game bird business. Planting and harvesting fields coincides pretty closely to our busiest pheasant times. In addition to that problem, the high cost of planters and combines can’t come close to justifying having this equipment to work 200 acres! So, with that in mind, we decided to return to our prior arrangement and rent out this land to a local farmer.

There are so many exciting game bird responsibilities, every day, that our time is best spent on maintaining and growing our pheasant business. As our customer base grows, this just makes good sense.

We are busy getting all our buildings in shape for spring. Chick orders are coming in like crazy and that is definitely keeping us busy as we prepare to fill those orders, beginning in April.

We are building a new hen barn because our white pheasant business is growing and growing! Getting that barn ready to produce more white pheasant chicks requires an increased focus on this aspect of our business.

We raised 35,000 birds last year in South Dakota, on a satellite farm. We just renewed that lease and expect to raise another 35,000 pheasants this year, on that farm. Our employees are busy here, there, and everywhere!

We are also raising birds in Alberta, Canada and this is another critical use of our time.

We’ll be sharing more details about our operations in South Dakota and Canada in the near future, so watch for those posts. We also plan to share the progress on our new hen barn, so that is another post to watch for in the new future.

Keeping Our Focus on Game Birds!

















Keeping Our Focus on Game Birds!

We’re Building a New Hen Barn!

We have been busy planning a second Hen Barn because our food products’ customers can’t get enough of our tasty, nutritious pheasant. Our White Pheasants are raised for our food division. Grocery store orders, restaurants who serve pheasant and our retail business are growing, so the bottom line is we need to raise more pheasants for our food division!

  • Our existing barn was built in the 1980’s.
  • Five years ago, we renovated this barn, increasing our capacity from 1000 to 2000 laying hens.
  • Now we need more space, so a new barn is being built and it will be sized to handle 1000 more laying hens, with room for expansion.
  • Certified Wick builders are building an Agricultural Pole building as our new barn.
  • Production birds bred in this barn will not hit the shelves as dressed pheasants until Thanksgiving 2017.
  • Planning for expansion is definitely not a speedy process.
  • Careful planning for our new barn and for expanded production is a long process but the benefit to our customers makes our investment well worth it.

Though we name the building our Hen Barn, we have to have some males to make the magic happen! The new barn will have 4 rooms including two male rooms, a hen room, and a brooding room. Eggs are sent to be hatched in our hatchery. We expect 3000 laying hens to produce 12,000 eggs per week. That will translate into lots of white pheasants for our food division and, ultimately, our customers.

This project has taken a great deal of planning and financial investment and it will take time before the new facility is up and running, but what a great problem to have. We have customers who are so happy with our pheasant meat products that they are asking for more! Watch our blog for pictures of our new barn as it moves toward completion.

We’re Building a New Hen Barn!









We’re Building a New Hen Barn!

Dressed Bird Business Continues to Expand

Our Food Division at MacFarlane Pheasants has expanded over the past year. New opportunities became possible after we became USDA certified in 2015. This verification was a long process, but resulted in our ability to sell our pheasant products all over the world!

In addition to sales all over the United States, through our distributors, Harris Teeter, Burris Logistics, and Lipari Foods, we export to Canada and Japan. Recently, we sent pheasant product samples to Qatar, in the Middle East, and we hope they will love our dressed pheasant and decide to place an order. We are always looking for new international sources for our dressed birds. We are delighted that our Made in America pheasant food products are being exported to other countries.

The bulk of our dressed birds, in the United States, go through our major distributors. Our pheasant is then distributed to grocery stores and restaurants all over the country. Our products are reaching Sprouts in the west and southwest, and Whole Foods all over the United States.

Sales have been so great in the last year that we made a major decision to build a new hen barn for White Pheasants. We expect our barn to be completed by this spring. Watch for an article with pictures about this project at

Rachel Atherton at works with our distributors all over the world and “expansion” of our dressed bird business is a priority in her job. Growth in each of our divisions is one of the many reasons MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. has been in business for 87 years.

Dressed Bird Business Continues to Expand










Dressed Bird Business Continues to Expand

Celebrate the Reactivation of Game Bird Forum!

Celebrate the Reactivation of Game Bird Forum! has been reactivated. Due to so much interest in the game bird industry we are up and running again for 2017! It is your “go to” site for asking questions and getting answers from other game bird experts.

We will still answer questions you leave on our Facebook page or on our contact form but the Game Bird Forum is a special forum where anyone in the industry, from anywhere in the world, can ask questions and get answers. Wisconsin is a completely different environment than other locations. Think of how much you can learn from interacting with other game bird folks who know about your specific locale!

We are excited to give folks in the game bird industry a chance to talk to each other. We currently have 4 categories listed on the site.

  1. Breeding, Incubation, and Hatching
  2. Brooding
  3. Feed, Health Care, and Misc.
  4. Rearing Outdoors

Sample Question and Answer

incubating grey partridge eggs

My grey partridge eggs have taken 26 days to hatch. I could blame this on my incubator, but I did put sixty eggs under broodies and these have taken just as long. Why is this I wonder? We have had terrible rain storms over the last three weeks and the temperature is well below average. I was hoping to raise the chicks using broodies, since they are much better parents when released, but my hens are buff orpingtons and are just too clumsy. I even had one hen decide the chicks would make a good meal. A terrible return from 138 eggs, just 39 managed to make the first day. I think day olds are the way forward.

Re: incubating grey partridge eggs

Usually Grey partridge have very good hatching rates. They should hatch at about 24 days, so 26 days isn’t really that bad. How old were the eggs when you put them into the incubator? What was the temperature you were running your incubator at? This may have an effect because Grey Partridge have a BETTER hatch rate when held for 14 days or more, than when they are just lain. I have set partridge eggs that were 30 days old and had a 90% hatch rate. Incubator run at 99 degrees Fahrenheit and 51% humidity. It’s always a good idea to have a mercury thermometer that stays inside the incubator to double check the temperature. A lot can happen in that 24 day period.

This is meant to be YOUR forum so feel free to talk to us about topics that you want to see. We only shared one question and answer, so be sure to visit to read the many questions and answers that have already posted or to ask and answer a question. Let your inner expert out!




Celebrate the Reactivation of Game Bird Forum!

Hatchery Manager Retires from MacFarlane Pheasants After 31 Years

Ben Lawton, one of the most universally respected people in the pheasant business, has retired from MacFarlane Pheasants after 31 years. Brad Lillie, Chief Financial Officer describes him as “one of the hardest working and most motivated individuals I have ever known.” Ben’s accomplishments over 30 years at MacFarlane Pheasants have earned the respect of everyone here at the farm, but also national and international respect as a game bird expert.

Ben has been the hatchery manager at MacFarlane Pheasants for 30 years. His expertise in that area and in biosecurity have been instrumental in the success of the farm. He has been a featured speaker at our seminars because of his ability to share his expertise in pheasant management in plain language. As one of the pheasant world’s most outstanding biosecurity experts, he wrote a manifesto for biosecurity that will continue to be used long after his retirement. He has taken the responsibility for hatching 80,000 birds a week in peak hatching season year after year. Bill MacFarlane describes his work ethic as “impressive” and is proud to say that he chose to work at MacFarlane Pheasants during his entire career.

Ben began working on the farm in 1986, after completing a degree in Poultry Science with a Natural Resources Emphasis. He started his career with a solid base of knowledge and ended it with achievements far beyond our greatest expectations. He has left such an impression on other employees that his legacy will live on, despite not having his daily presence on the farm.

Krystal Price will miss her friend and mentor, Ben Lawton, as she assumes the position of Hatchery Manger for MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. Thank you, Ben for blessing us with your time on our farm and for preparing Krystal to take over the hatchery. Wishing you the best in your well deserved retirement.

Ben Lawton



















Hatchery Manager Retires from MacFarlane Pheasants After 31 Years

Watch for Our 2017 Chick Catalog!

Think spring! We are so excited to tell you that our 2017 chick catalog has gone to press!

  • Bill MacFarlane, MacFarlane Pheasants Inc. owner and April Goble, Chick and Egg Sales Coordinator started updating the 2017 catalog in November.
  • Bill and April updated the pheasant pictures, descriptions, numbers, and prices and met with the creative director for Meridian, Mary Terry, to get her input. Once finalized by Bill and April, Dori MacFarlane did a final proofreading.
  • The chick catalog went to Meridian on January 9, 2017 and within a couple of weeks production will be completed.
  • The catalog will be distributed to 5000 of our customers via a mailing list we provided to Meridian. You should receive your chick catalog by the beginning of February.
  • If you don’t get a catalog or would like to get one, call our office at 608-314-3453 and talk to April. We will have 1000 extra catalogs if you do not receive a copy in the mail.
  • When you get ready to order, call April at 608-314-3453 and place your order. She can answer all your questions about your delivery.

Our first chicks will be ready by April, 2017. I hope you are as happy as we are to begin another chick season. If you’re interested in receiving future mailing of our chick brochure you can now sign up online. If you have questions about our chicks, you can also contact us through our website. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Watch for Our 2017 Chick Catalog!

Winter in the Brooder Barns Keeps Employees Vigilant

The below 0 degree temperatures and wind chill days, this week, have been busy times in the brooder barns. We pay special attention to our birds when it is so cold, but the real work begins BEFORE the first hard frost. When we start to have cooler nights, we go around the farm turning on baseboard heaters to heat the boot room areas to make sure they are operating properly, before the big freezes!

Winterizing is important for the protection and health of our birds. Everyone on the farm makes this protection their highest priority before, during, and after the big freezes. In the brooder department we have to make sure the birds do not get chilled. We are still dealing with young birds in barns, throughout the winter, to keep up with the demand for our White Pheasants, so it is a busy time.

The young birds will pile up if they are not kept warm, which can result in the loss of birds. We have temperature and fan controls going all the time and alarm systems are attached to our temperature controls, but nothing is more important than the human element. We check and double check our birds during the winter months. It is much easier for young birds to get stressed in the winter and stress is not their friend!

Protecting birds is our number one priority, but we must also protect our equipment. If a room is not being used, we don’t heat it, so we have to drain ALL water lines not in use in barns or boot rooms. Frozen or cracked water lines can be very costly. We pay special attention to boot rooms because our source of water is located in those rooms. Because we are so diligent, we rarely have problems like this, but it has happened. So, this is very serious business.

Communication is the key to our success in keeping both the full and empty barns properly cared for in the winter. Everyone pitches in to help those with less experience understand the processes we use. We have multiple people do walk-throughs to make sure nothing is missed. Employees all understand the importance of following proper winter procedures so we don’t lose birds or other financial assets.

If you would like to talk more about winter on the farm at MacFarlane Pheasants, contact us through Facebook or on our website at















Winter in the Brooder Barns Keeps Employees Vigilant

The Mature Game Bird Season is A Continuous Cycle

We begin shipping mature game bird at the end of July and finish up in early April, but the process for making sure you get a delivery begins much sooner! If you want to make sure you get the number of pheasants (all breeds), French partridges or Hungarian partridges you want for next year, it is not too early to begin planning.

We recommend a spring order for the fall mature season in order to ensure that you get the number of birds and the breeds you want. We get orders from private property owners, hunting preserves, those who want to release into the wild to repopulate or those who want to resell our game birds.  Here is how the process works on our end.

  1. The customer calls and/or emails us looking for a quote in the spring.
  2. We quote the customer and send it back via mail or email.
  3. The customer then calls us back to confirm their order.
  4. Once it gets closer to the mature season the customer calls to confirm a delivery date.
  5. We put the delivery date on the out-delivery sheet with the customer’s order.
  6. The logistics coordinator then schedules a truck and driver(s) for the delivery.
  7. About one week before the delivery, we get all the paperwork ready (invoice, health certificates, delivery report, and directions).
  8. We call the customers a couple days in advance to confirm the delivery time and date.
  9. We get a clipboard ready for our driver and clear directions about where to go and what to do.
  10. The driver meets with office staff the day the truck is scheduled to do a pre-trip checklist.
  11. The truck is checked out before and after each trip to ensure that it is in order and the game bird order is correct.
  12. When the driver is an hour and a half away, the customer is called with the estimated time of arrival.
  13. The drivers arrive and offload the truck.

We look forward to hearing from you this spring. April Goble at would be glad to help you plan for your needs in 2017. Just give us a call at 608-757-7881 for details.





















The Mature Game Bird Season is A Continuous Cycle