Welcome

Thank you for your interest in Elkhorn Farms and Hatchery’s chicks. We are currently taking orders for the 2022 season for day-old pheasant chicks and partially and fully adult birds. The order form on this site cannot be completed  online. Please  print out the form, fill in and send to us at the address listed.

Man plans, God laughs.

 We thought it would be an easy year. After all, we have just gone through two rather odd years with many unknowns. Each year we expect “normal,” and each year we encounter new issues. Just when we thought all the buzzwords had been used, we have shortages and supply line issues! Paper, construction supplies, plastics, feed shortages and price increases leave us scrambling to get sufficient data to make decisions.

But as we walk into 2022’s growing season, we are already confronted with the reality of Avian Influenza spreading across the country.  We’ve gone from bird biosecurity to PEOPLE biosecurity and now back to birds.  Review, update and increase biosecurity protection measures. Gamebird producers are NOT immune. Please note the need for biosecurity. Our breeder flock and older birds are regularly tested as part of the NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Plan) and we hold to the North American Gamebird Association standards.

Review your farm biosecurity practices and TEACH your employees to use them! There are lots of informative articles on the NAGA website. Sign in and search the archives for AI resources. Keep vigilant and join the North American Gamebird Association (NAGA) for the information, support and political clout it gives.

One factor found in all the gamebird cases is the startling presence of ducks or other waterfowl related material. One hunting club encouraged ducks into the area through wetland development, and then returned recaptured pheasants to the pens. This exposed the remainder of the flock to the virus, and it spread.

Another raised ducks as well as pheasants in the facility. While this practice used to be acceptable, it now produces an incredible liability with Avian Influenza. If you feel you must raise ducks, raise them on separate facilities and practice good biosecurity.

Remember your national organization working to keep clubs and farms open and operational. The North American Gamebird Association (NAGA) trade association represents game farm and hunt club needs before government agencies.

The North American Gamebird Association has started two new projects this year. The first is a livestream video production called Gamebird Spotlight aired through YouTube and Facebook. We will discuss items, issues, inspiration and information of interest to the industry. You can search and subscribe to the Channel on YouTube and ask for notifications of new sessions.

NAGA is offering a Hunting Club Conference at Deer Creek (OH) State Park near Mt. Sterling, Ohio. July 18-20th, a great opportunity to learn more about the hunting side of the industry.  The venue is beautiful with different price point options for housing- lodge, cabin and camping. The speakers we have lined up are superb, with lots and lots of immediately usable information to take home and put into practice. We are asking you growers to look at your client list and please encourage those who can benefit (hunt clubs) to attend. Details and registration form is available on www.northamericangamebird.com. You can also join via that website if you are not a NAGA member already which we strongly encourage you to become. Now more than ever we need to band together to keep our businesses, our freedoms and our guns. (www.northamericangamebird.com)

The demand for hunting supplies is climbing. If you have shell supply
issues, contact others in the NAGA. Some with ammunition group purchasing contacts are being a blessing to others.

Evaluate production costs, set prices and get contracts on birds so you know what to produce and reduce surprises. Even long-term customers may change their situations, and drop out last minute. Now you’re stuck with birds to move. With contracts and deposits the blow is lessened. Or you can use NAGA’s Gamebird Central to help list your birds.

Labor issues continue with costs increasing. Our children are doing
their part to supply the next generation of workers, but they need a few years to mature first. We are streamlining our procedures, so some things have changed.

We are available to discuss ideas, questions, concerns, or suggestions.

Buckle up for 2022!
Peg & Sam Ballou
Ruth and Samuel

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Photo credit: Chip Gross

Our pheasants are a Chinese Ringneck with a slight Mongolian Cross, coloring up as adults with blue-green backs, white rings and dark burgundy body feathers. Some darker variations in coloration (“mutes” or “melanistic” ) appear infrequently and are in great demand. We do not actively breed for that strain and cannot predict how many we can provide. Since the process is time-intensive, we charge a surcharge of $.10 per chick to sort these.

Elkhorn pheasants dress out as adults at about 2 to 21/2 pounds providing enough for the pot, while being highly flighty for good hunting. They are used regularly on our own and nearby hunt clubs, as well as shipped across the country with similar results, dependent on feeding practices.

photo credit: Chip Gross

Fuel and feed prices impact your raising and pricing strategies “big time.” We wish you the wisdom of Solomon in figuring these issues out. However, do not scrimp on good quality food for your birds! Expect that cost to be the greatest economic input toward raising gamebirds.

See our Basic Care & Keeping page for additional information regarding raising your birds. Educate yourself now about raising birds by reading Gamebird Propagation by late author John Mullin, or Dr. Swartz’ book Grower’s Reference on Gamebird Health.  There are numerous gamebird educational seminars available through NAGA or regional associations. Access to an archive of articles from the NAGA News is included with your NAGA membership.

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Shipping

Starting in May through July, we ship our day-old chicks “per box” of 125, our minimum order to ship. Smaller orders may be picked up at the farm. Price reductions are at the 1000, 5000 and 10,000+, and 20,000 chick levels.

Shipping is additional. We strongly recommend Express Mail for day-old chicks with its one- or two-day delivery guarantee. We DO NOT recommend Priority Mail for pheasant chick deliveries to any but our neighboring states. We will only ship Priority with the understanding that we cannot guarantee the timeliness of arrival, or the viability of the pheasant chicks. The choice, responsibility, and liability are totally yours.

We use the www.usps.com postage calculator to figure your Express Mail or Priority postage by weight and zone. This cost is one of the reasons why we would like to arrange truck deliveries on larger orders, or combined orders within 750 miles of Elkhorn Farms. Also consider ringneck pheasant adult or partially adult birds. Delivery prices vary on quantity, distance, and the relative cost of fuel but generally is priced $.90 per mile, round trip.

Please remember that our shipping/pickup days for pheasant chicks are Wednesdays, except for holidays like the 4th of July.