Our new season is upon us. We collected 16,000+ eggs yesterday, we’ve started 20,000 pheasant chicks and the pen crew is mowing and rotovating pens – in preparation for the new season. At the same time we are delivering lots of mature pheasants to preserves – the hunting season is ending on an upswing. Next week we’ll deliver all but 5,000 of the mature pheasants we have on the farm – it will be a very busy week. An ironic concern is that it actually may get too warm (predictions are for 70+ degree weather) and the hunting season make come to an abrupt end.
The day old chick business is dynamic and never boring. From 2008 to 2009 we saw a decrease in demand for day old pheasant chicks (pretty obviously due to the economy). The downward trend is changing for us – we have had a surprising amount of new chick business – enough to convince us to keep 1000 more breeder hens that will be placed next week. We are encouraged as we will operate more efficiently if we are closer to full bore in our breeder operation.
All the inflections and attention to detail of pheasant genetics is intriguing to me. There are so many different sizes and colorations of ringneck pheasants available in the market. Certainly the market has shifted over the past 30 years to smaller birds. One of the interesting (to me) aspects of this shift is that as a general statement, bigger pheasants are darker in color and smaller pheasants are lighter (more yellow on their shoulders and flanks). Do pheasants have shoulders? – just a side note question. Anyway, getting back to my train of thought – just because the market is looking for smaller (and therefore harder flying) pheasants – doesn’t mean that the market is looking for lighter colored pheasants. This week it was brought to our attention (again) that perhaps our birds are getting too light in color. In many cases the preserves wouldn’t care about the color – but in the situation where our birds are released into areas of high number of wild pheasants – coloration is vitally important. So when we select our additional 1000 hens next week, we are going to select the cocks that are less yellow (yet still the same weight) – and then keep track of that flocks eggs.
Just one more note. We hired Cole Hardyman as an intern PR person for the farm a few weeks ago. He is working about 20 hours a week – strictly on our webpage and Facebook fan page. Cole has expanded the content on our pages and he has been a welcome addition. To look at some of the things he has done – go to http://www.pheasant.com and look at the seminar or the about us drop down menu’s and check out the content he has added there.