MacFarlane Pheasants has already moved about 45,000 French and Hungarian Partridges, and 150,000 pheasants into the outside pens, so we need to care for them no matter how hot it gets. Summer heat requires extra diligence to make sure our birds and employees stay healthy and happy.
• Many departments transition their work hours from our typical 7 AM-4:30 PM to an earlier start and finish time (5 AM-2:30 .PM). This has a benefit for both our birds and the employees. It is cooler for employees and takes the stress off birds when they are getting moved out to the pens.
• Cover management (ensuring there is adequate vegetation in pens for the birds to take shelter from the sun and storms) is a priority. Irrigating flight pens usually begins around the middle of June.
• Plassons (waterers) are washed weekly to ensure water is getting to the birds. Algae can plug the plassons when the weather warms up. Chlorine is administered through the flight pen water system to limit the algae buildup.
• Plassons are adjusted to make sure the water levels are full. Thorough farm checks include looking for plassons that aren’t working and repairing them immediately.
• Shipments are caught either late at night or early in the morning. Birds are loaded on a trailer and the driver will drive around to keep the air flow on the birds until the next group of birds are caught. In addition, fans are used to keep them cool.
• The flight pen water lines are cracked open to keep cold water flowing for the birds to drink.
Lots of fresh water, movement during cooler hours, good cover for shade and protection and constant farm checks are the keys to protecting our birds during summer months. This heatwave has kept us busy, but our birds are looking good!