HTF - MTM Pheasants
For Tony Smith, a hobby has turned into a big bird business.
"I personally started back in 1996," said Smith, a Managing Partner at MTM Pheasants, with locations near Rosalie and Pender, Ne. "This year we're going to push right around 90 - 100,000 (pheasants) through the farm."
Before the feathered fowl live outdoors at MTM, they're brought in from a hatchery as day-old chicks.
"When we first bring these birds in, they're about an inch, inch-and-a-half tall," said Smith. "And there'll actually be rings set up and these brooders will actually be producing enough head to keep it right around 104 degrees."
As they get older, the birds will get some bling on their beaks in the form of "blinders."
"It's an anti-pick device and that's what helps us raise these birds with nice, long tails," said Smith. "It doesn't allow them to pick as much."
The blinders are color-coded, too, letting farm managers see how old the animals are at a glance.
After a few weeks, they're moved to acres of outdoor, netted pens.
"We try to minimize the amount of human contact with the birds, just to keep'em wilder," said Smith.
There are automatic watering systems, and the food is replenished for these ring-necked birds once a month.
And when they're old enough, they're shipped out to hunting clubs across the country.
"Oh yeah," said Smith. "They put on 50 or 60,000 miles a year almost."
MTM Pheasants incorporated in 2015.
The company started deliveries for this season in August.
If you want to follow the pheasants, you can, at this Facebook page: facebook.com/MTMPheasants.
If you think of a farmer that might be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: firstname.lastname@example.org.