MacFarlane Pheasants 12th Bi-Annual International Pheasant Management Seminar was held in early March. There was a broad range of topics covered and guests from all over the world in attendance. Cass Cole and Jim Klempel were two truly interesting guests.
Jim and Cass traveled to Janesville from Billings, Montana. Jim is the Principal of Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Montana and Jim is the Vo-Tech teacher at the school. Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch is a non-profit organization providing year-round-school and therapies to children struggling with mental health issues. In 2019, they added a new program to Yellowstone Academy. Cass Cole and Jim Klempel started a pheasant rearing program! Cass shared some details about the program he and Jim, and the youth, have developed.
The young people have learned about monitoring egg incubation, raising chicks, building pheasant pens, and caring for pheasants. When the program started in 2019, one of the campus greenhouses was renovated into an indoor pen for adult pheasants. Youth from the school also constructed an outdoor fly pen attached to the greenhouse so the birds could roam and fly! Generous donations made it possible for students and their supervisors to construct additional fly pens. They are in the process of building a third fly pen and once that is completed the Pheasant Program will have a 2,500 bird capacity!
The ranch currently receives 200 eggs and 300 live chicks in the spring. Some birds are kept for breeding, some are sold, and at least 500 hens are released at local wetland areas and on private ranches to aid in increasing the pheasant population in Montana.
Students are involved every step of the way. They learn the lifecycle of the birds through egg and chick development. They also learn how to care for and nurture a living organism. It is heartwarming to hear how much positive influence pheasants have had on the lives of these children.
Cass and Jim are so proud of the program. They came to MacFarlane Pheasants’ 4-day seminar to learn more about pheasant rearing and possible ways to improve their program. They were excited to learn more about biosecurity, rodent control, the process of hen to hatch, and bird nutrients. They told us that they returned “with a plethora of knowledge and resources to continue their work enriching the lives of troubled boys and girls through the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch Pheasant Program.”