We have a 4 person crew busy daily now working on setting up our breeder flocks for the 2010 season. We are planning on keeping over 30,000 pheasant layer hens and the selection process for such a flock takes months. This fall there is another element to setting up our 2010 flock – just how many breeders should we keep? In years past, we found it relatively easy to determine how many breeders to keep – we took a quick survey of our customers and were able to make a fairly accurate estimation of how many chicks we could sell – and we kept the number of breeders to produce that number of chicks.
But this year, people are so nervous. The hunting season is just really getting under way. And the producers of mature birds, though things seem to be going well at this point in time, are wary about what the winter will bring. We all hear the media telling us that the U.S. economy has “turned the corner”. But my question is, when will the economic turn around trickle down to our enterprises. Are corporations starting to loosen the reins and allow their execs to take corporate hunting trips – I’m doubtful.
So we can’t really get a good picture from some of our biggest chick customers regarding how many pheasant chicks they will be purchasing in 2010. I do know that more people seem to be interested in purchasing small quantities of pheasant chicks for them to raise as a hobby or sideline. Our retail sales of pheasant chicks in 2009 were definitely up.
So the indicators we usually use to make our determination of the number of breeders to keep aren’t that useful. I am choosing to believe that 2010 will be a good year for selling pheasant chicks. Therefore we aren’t backing off our numbers – we’re going to produce chicks with the intention that the market will be there!