On Monday MacFarlane Pheasants hatched our last group of day-old pheasant chicks. It’s been a cracker of a year—we produced over 1.6 million day-old pheasant chicks last year alone—but this final batch for 2014 still illustrates the care we take in ensuring you receive your chicks thriving and ready to grow toward those exciting fall hunts.
When you order chicks, our support specialists begin toiling toward getting you your birds. A week prior to the ship date, one of our staff creates your shipping labels, which are then affixed to your order’s boxes. This ensures that in the hustle of arranging newly hatched chicks to ship to you that there’s no delay and no mix-up.
There are a few things that go into the overall cost of shipping, including distance and number of boxes. We use priority shipping because it ensures a minimal transit time of one to two days for all chicks. Surprisingly, it’s not the distance of your location that affects transit time as much as it is your location’s size. The larger your town, the faster birds arrive, with a two-day time common for smaller communities. But rest assured you can depend on your birds arriving relatively unflustered.
The real movement on the farm happens on Mondays and Tuesdays. As chicks hatch on that day, your order is sorted into boxes. In the early part of the season, when temperatures are cooler, we’ll fit 130 chicks per box so that birds can benefit from the group’s body heat. But in these warm summer days, we’ll place 105 chicks in each so that chicks have a lower likelihood of overheating. Boxes are then lashed together in groups of three. In each box, a five-percent overcount is standard to ensure that any attrition during shipping comes out of our wallet, not yours. (Typically you can expect a three-percent loss, so consider the surplus chicks our thanks to you.)
Orders are then loaded into trucks by 7 p.m. and driven to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, where after arriving just after midnight they’re then flown to destinations all over the country. For some orders in our home state of Wisconsin, we’ll also ship out of the Madison Post Office. Finally, we offer an onsite pick-up option, which we especially prefer because it minimizes the stress that chicks undergo in transit. There’s no question that this last method produces the highest success rates, so if it’s feasible for you, ask us about a local pickup.
When you receive your chicks, you’ll want to get them into the brooder as soon as possible. We ask that you take note over the coming days of chick mortality rates. Just take the “report card” affixed to your order’s box, fill it out, and ship it back. This helps us ensure that you have the best possible experience with MacFarlane Pheasants, and if not, we find a way to make it right.