Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pheasants Raised on Miller Farm Are Displayed at Washington Zoo

Huron Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD)
Sunday, May 26, 1968
Page 15

[Caption 1]: The Raising of Pheasants is a project of the Seeman Pheasant Farm, which is located at the northwest edge of Miller.  The farm is operated by Mrs. Mary Yost and owned by her two sons, Jerry Yost, of rural Miller, and Jack Seeman, of Willmar, Minnesota.  The majority of the pheasants are sold for “the dinner table,” although last year 500 were purchased by Pheasants Unlimited, Inc., of Sioux Falls, to stock Hand County.

[Caption 2]: Pheasants raised on the Seeman farm at Miller are a cross between a ringneck and a monogolian.  The eggs (shown at top) are not nested, but instead lay in the open, requiring 24 ½ days to hatch.  Once the egg is hatched, it takes another 16 weeks before the chicks (shown at bottom) are full grown.


                Miller – A Miller woman who has been raising pheasants for the past six years says when she first started “I didn’t know anything about this business.”
                Mrs. Mary Yost, who manages the Seeman Pheasant Farm located at the northwest edge of the city, said she’s in the pheasant business “for profit” and last summer sold 500 ringnecks to Pheasants Unlimited, Inc., of Sioux Falls.
                “The birds which were purchased by Pheasants Unlimited were used to bolster the pheasant population in Hand County,” she said, “and we anticipate they will do the same again this year.”
                The farm is owned by Mrs. Yost’s two sons, Jerry Yost, of rural Miller, and Jack Seeman, of Willmar, Minn.
                “When we first started this business I didn’t know anything about raising pheasants,” Mrs. Yost said, “but have learned from experience.”
                But, this business has gained in popularity and in 1965 received national recognition when the State Game, Fish and Parks Department acquired six of Mrs. Yost’s pheasants and gave them to Sen. Karl E. Mundt, R-S.D., for display at the Washington zoo.
                The request for the birds came after Sen. Mundt had visited the zoo and found only one ring-necked pheasant displayed – and that one looked like a “scrawny rooster.”
                The South Dakota senator immediately contacted the State Game Department and requested “six healthy species” of the state’s official bird to be placed in the zoo.
                Upon receipt of the birds, it was first announced that they had been “trapped in the wild,” but this was quickly straightened out and proper credit given to the Seeman farm.
                Mrs. Yost said she is faced with numerous problems – topped by the fact that pheasants are cannibalistic.
                “Only about 50 per cent of the hatched eggs live and we can’t put two hatches together – otherwise the older birds will eat the young ones,” she said.
                The eggs lay out in the open since the pheasants don’t nest and it’s necessary to check the pens frequently and collect the eggs before they are eaten by the birds, she added.
                “The wild pheasant hen usually does nest – finding a good hiding place for her eggs,” Mrs. Yost said.  There are approximately 400 eggs in each hatch, with a total of five hatches counted last year. 
                Other problems are cats and horned owls “who are constantly a threat to the young pheasants, although Mrs. Yost said she has had little trouble with hawks or skunks.
                “It takes about 24 ½ days for an egg to hatch and 16 weeks before the bird is full grown,” she said, adding: “We clip one of the chick’s wings at birth to keep them from flying away.  If we didn’t we’d have to put a roof on the pens.”
                The pheasants raised on the Seeman farm are a cross between the ringneck and mongolian pheasant, she said.
                When asked if the drop in the state’s pheasant population has bolstered her business, Mrs. Yost replied: “We sold more pheasants last year than we did a year ago, but I don’t think this had anything to do with it.”
                “Pheasants which are raised on a farm such as this are much tastier eating than the wild ones,” she said – a fact which has probably played a major role in the recent success of the farm.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Miller Woman Keeps Watchful Eye On Domestic Pheasant Flock

Huron Daily Plainsman (Huron, South Dakota)
Sunday, December 11, 1966

Caption [photo very poor]:  Pheasant caretaker Mrs. Mary Yost, of Miller, feeding her flock of pheasants which are raised in captivity.  A bird from the flock was presented by Sen. Karl Mundt to the Washington Zoo and is thriving there as a center of attraction in his new captivity.


                Miller – Raising pheasants is the professional concern of the game biologists, but just a hobby “to keep busy with” for Mrs. Mary Yost, of Miller.
                While the biologists seek ways to increase the pheasant population in the native habitat, Mrs. Yost is concerned with the bird population on the Pheasant Farm, started eight years ago as a hobby by her sons Jack Seeman, now of Willmar, Minn., and Jerry Yost, a plumber here in Miller.
                “The boys started raising birds to see if it could be done,” Mrs. Yost related last week while babysitting with her grandchildren.  “Because Jack has moved away and Jerry is busy during the day, I keep watch over the flock for something to do.”
                And raising pheasants in captivity requires a heap of watching at times, too, she added, pulling a grandchild away from a “no-no” in the kitchen.
                The task starts in the fall with the selection of the breeding hens and cocks.  This year the Yosts decided to keep 65 hens for next year’s production.  Then in the spring, the birds are penned (one cock with six or nine hens) and the watch starts.
                “Pheasants are cannibalistic.”  Mrs. Yost explained.  “In pens, the hens don’t nest, so you have to pick up the eggs right away or the hens will eat them.”
                Each hen will lay between 50 and 60 eggs, Mrs. Yost said, compared with game birds which hatches 12 to 15 eggs in her nest.  About half the eggs hatch, she continued.  The eggs are hatched in an incubator, purchased from Claude (Bud) Ebert, who raised pheasants as a hobby when he lived in Huron.  The eggs hatch in about 23 days and then the chicks are placed in brooders for six weeks.
                When they are ready to be moved into the 75-by-125-foot pens, the right wings are clipped (“So they can’t fly away on me,” Mrs. Yost said) and the commercial feed ration is changed to a growing mash with wheat screenings added.
                “You can’t mix the broods in the pens,” she commented, “or they will kill each other.”  Thus the chicks raised in the brooder batch are penned together as young birds.
                The feed ration is varied during the summer to bring the birds to the proper weight (a dressed weight of three to four pounds) and then just before the start of the pheasant hunting season, Mrs. Yost puts a finishing feed in the trought [sic] to “top off” the tender birds.  Then she starts dressing and freezing the birds for her son’s fall trade.
                “For some reason, the business comes during the season, mostly hunters,” she said.  “Few hunters this year, little business.  It varies with the game population.”
                The hunters are not buying birds to claim they bagged one, she explained.  Often the buyers have their limit which will be given to friends to dress and cook while the hunter takes home a domestic pheasant, more tender, cleaned, frozen and without broken bones or shot for his wife to serve, Mrs. Yost said.
                “Oh, sometimes a hunter will ask me to kill one for him to take home as a hunter’s bag,” she said, “but frozen pheasants aren’t part of the limit.”
                In the years of raising pheasants, the family has found nature to be a hazard and that even domestic pheasants can be victims of predators.  One year a windstorm about wiped out the flock and cats prey on the young chicks while dogs are a threat to the bigger birds, Mrs. Yost related.

                “And I have one bird whose wings weren’t clipped, she said.  “She flies from the pen whenever I come out, then returns to eat.  I think my birds finishing feed in the through to [sic] their wings weren’t clipped, but this one likes the security of the pen.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jack Seeman - Spearfish Basketball

From the Queen City Mail, Spearfish, SD issue of April 6, 1939.

They may have been on the bad side of a trouncing, but knowing Jack Seeman, he played his heart out.