We are in the process of making plans to expand our hatchery because the demand for day-old pheasant chicks is very high. Months before we place the eggs in the brooders, we find that MacFarlane Pheasants’ orders have surpassed the eggs we are hatching! So, we are discussing what our hatchery would need to look like so we can increase production and modernize our facility at the same time. Our staff in Mo can raise more breeding hens, allowing us to fill the expanded hatchery with more eggs. We also intend to continue growing our dressed business, so we need space to hatch more white chicks. We hope to complete the expansion during the winter and spring of 2024.
The hatchery is run at full capacity for the months of March thru July. So it can be hard to justify that kind of expense for something that is only run at capacity for five months out of the year. This is the reason we have not pulled the trigger sooner! But we believe the demand is strong enough that we could sell all the chicks we can produce, so we are moving forward.
Some of the topics we are discussing include:
- How should we modernize to take advantage of new technology?
- How can we be more efficient?
- What would the layout of an expanded hatchery look like?
- Should we double the size of the current facility to meet our goals?
- What will it take to modernize to meet the growing need?
- What size cooler will be needed in a larger facility?
- How many months can our hatchery run at total capacity if expanded?
Chris Theisen, our Vice President of Production, is excited about this project because the expansion will allow us to meet the growing enthusiasm for day-old chicks, provide more white pheasants for our Food Products Division, modernize our hatchery, and take advantage of the latest technology. These are exciting times for MacFarlane Pheasants!