Keagan Strange, a graduate of Kansas State University (KSU) with a degree in Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management, began his duties as Hatchery Manager at MacFarlane Pheasants on January 14, 2019. Keagan was an intern at MacFarlane Pheasants in January of 2016. MacFarlane Pheasants has had an internship agreement with KSU for 10 years and it has proved to be a positive experience for both the students and our farm.
Keagan was born and raised in Colby, Kansas, a small town in the northwest corner of the state, where he worked on a grain and cattle farm. Here’s what Keagan had to say about leaving Kansas for his new job here in Janesville, Wisconsin: “Being so far from home and family has been a very big adjustment, and I’m definitely going to miss my grandpa’s stories. One thing I am really going to miss is the amount of quality hunting ground I had access to. I’ll just have to take some vacation to travel back and hunt. The thing I like best about this area is the water. Back home, I had to travel nearly 100 miles to get to the nearest body of water. Now, you can bet I’ll be fishing far more often. Another benefit is the number of choices for food, as my hometown was definitely limited.”
The most rewarding part of the job for Keagan has been getting to see the healthy chicks hatch. “What appears to be a standard egg goes through so many changes in such a short amount of time. It is fascinating.”
Adjusting to a new job is always a little stressful, even when you love what you’re doing. Keagan said that Chris Theisen and Juan Zamora have been extremely helpful. Juan’s knowledge and experience in the hatchery, and Chris’s willingness to work through any concerns have been a huge benefit to him.
Job duties as Hatchery Manager include:
- Traying, setting, candling, and transferring eggs
- Ensuring proper bio-security protocols are followed
- Keeping accurate records and preparing hatch reports
- Ensure alarms are functioning correctly
- Managing employee schedules and workloads
- Calibrating incubators and hatchers, along with making sure they are functioning and performing properly
- Building egg sets, which is essentially deciding what eggs get set depending on the date they were laid
- Sexing chicks
- Overseeing the shipment of day-old chicks to customers
Keagan’s dedication to our chicks and willingness to work hard are much appreciated. Welcome aboard!