How to Build a Flight Pen
Information provided by Chris Theisen of MacFarlane Pheasants
Before you do anything there are a few things that you need to be sure of:
- Look at the Layout : Make plans for the future. Don't box yourself in with plans for today. Make sure that you have sufficient enough room for expansions and that you have enough for daily operations such as getting trucks in and out.
- Research and Ask Question: Since you're here, you've already made the first step at successfully building your pen. Researching and finding out everything you can about the future of your business, and possible future expansion is key. Investigate techniques and new materials being used throughout the industry.
1) Site Preparation
Possibly one of the most important parts of the process is site preparation. This is the excavation aspect of building your pens. Clearing away possible trees or other natural/unnatural obstacles (pictures below) is important to do before you actually start the building of the pens. It's much easier to do before all the pens go up and you have to deal with being careful not to damage them. Knowing the entire layout of the pens is essential.
2) Start by Pounding the Posts
Making sure you have the posts are spaced equally and grounded securely are very important. Taking the time to make sure they are in securely will prevent future problems with tipping over due to winds or pressure on them.
3) Hang the Cable and Start Stretching the Wire
Hanging the top cable again to be sure that there's little to no slack so it can support the wire and netting is essential.
4) Wire Installation
Wire is typically efficient, simple and reliable which is why it's the best material to use when building your flight pen. Efficiency saves money and in today's economy, that's more important than ever. Be sure to keep in mind your initial ideas when actually creating them and never give up on them; improve on them where possible. Make sure to Run the Division Fences FIRST and then run the perimeter wires. *Stretch the lane wire LAST
5) Digging Trenches
There are many different ways or ideas on how to dig trenches. These include your typical trencher, excavators or even the old-fashioned way, your hands and a shovel. Feel free to come up with a different idea that best suits the equipment and your budget. Check out the tool used below for an idea.
6) Install Gates
It is much easier to install the gates before the fence and netting are put up. Do this at each point where handlers/workers are going to need t enter or transition from area to area.
7) Plant cover and Add feeders
Obviously before putting the netting up you want to be able to get the large machinery needed to plant the cover and add the typically large feeders.
8) Put up Fencing and Netting
This is the "meat and potatoes" of your flight pens. It's what keeps pheasants in their own area and helps you avoid mass chaos. Be sure the get the first net up square because you use that one to put every net on after that square. Take your time to make sure there are no holes or gaps and that the netting/fencing will hold birds trying to set themselves free.
9) Run the Water Lines
One of the most important aspects of keeping your birds happy and healthy is providing sufficient water. For most of you this means running water lines to each area. Run the lines OUTSIDE of the pens so birds don't have a chance to put holes in them and create unneeded costly replacements.
Things to Remember
1) Improve on existing procedures
2) Keep an open mind
3) Talk to people and get their input
4) Work smart - Not Hard