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Oh Turkey

June 12th, 2014

Well we have three turkey poults – not as many as we’d hoped for – but it’s better than none! The Narragansette tom must have not been up to the task, not one of the six narragansette eggs even got out of the gate. Two of the Wishard Bronze and one of the barnyard mix turkeys hatched. That leave us with three tiny poults.
turkey poults 1
Turkey poults are completely different than ducklings, chicks and guinea keets. They are super laid back, not really active and barely make a sound. I also noticed that they LOVE to eat green things. If I cut up herbs from the yard and put them in their brooder they gobble them up long before they eat any of their other food.
turkey poults 2
These turkeys were supposed to be for Thanksgiving dinner for us and the neighbor. I was also hoping to have an extra hen and tom to keep for breeding, but that might not happen. If all three survive and I have a hen and a tom I’ll keep them and forgo eating one of them for our Thanksgiving celebration. We shall see how things shake out later this fall.
turkey poults 3
As I was watching these little guys yesterday I was thinking about how the circle of life is so vivid when you raise your own food. Even when I purchase turkeys from local farms I didn’t really think about the fact that the poults were hatched from eggs by someone somewhere. There are so many steps involved in getting something like a turkey to our Thanksgiving table. It’s one of those things we often don’t even think about as we eat what is on our plate. I will definitely be looking at our feast a little differently this year!

Do you eat turkey for Thanksgiving? Have you considered that they are being hatched now or in the next couple months in order to be fattened for your feast?

5 Comments to “Oh Turkey”
  1. GretchenNC on June 12, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Oh my goodness! I never considered the idea of raising Turkeys! Do you have to keep them in their own coop? Is there a good resource for raising backyard Turkeys that you recommend? I’m interested in raising one for ourselves for thanksgiving too!

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    • Susy on June 12, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Right now the poults are in a separate brooder because there are only three and they don’t have a mama. If I keep two for breeding they will go in with the chickens. There can be issues with blackspot when turkeys/chickens are in the same space, but it’s not really an issue when you have a small scale operation and are raising heritage turkeys which have a better immune system. I know a lot of people that raise them together in the same coop.

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  2. Jaye Whitney on June 12, 2014 at 7:50 am

    We had turkeys (hens) as pets and they were delightful creatures! I hope you enjoy them until Thanksgiving :)

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  3. whit on June 12, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Sorry you didn’t get the number you were looking for. These little guys and gals are so cute! We’ll hope their tasty too.

    We eat turkey for Thanksgiving from our neighbour’s raw dairy. You sign up with a deposit in April, and pick up before Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Last year, a couple days before slaughter, a coyote some how found its way into the turkey enclosure and had a nice feast for himself. Only two were left. They did have what were supposed to be Christmas turkey (for people who signed up in May), so the turkeys for Christmas were given to the Thanksgiving people a month late and the deposits for the Christmas turkeys could be applied to milk or other store items. This year, they are raising a batch for Sept, October, Nov, and Dec…with the first two being cheaper as they won’t have a couple extra dollars for the holiday premium added on. Made me realize last year how precarious our “traditional” meals are.

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  4. Jennifer Fisk on June 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

    My experience with heritage turkeys is they grow slowly but are so tasty. I got 2 St. Bronze, a Blue Slate and a Narragansett poults last spring. I did process the boys and they were very tasty. I also got 5 Broad Breasted poults from Ellsworth Feed and Seed. They lived up to their genetics and were very hefty by Thanksgiving. I had 2 of them split when they got butchered. Very yummy in the winter. So, with all of this said, if I were you, I would get a couple of the BBBs to grow out for Thanksgiving and let your babies grow up to hopefully be your foundation birds for a heritage flock. I do have some barnyard run heritage birds this spring and the breeder said they mature more quickly than the pure breds. Isn’t genetics wonderful. I love turkeys because they are so curious and want to see what you are doing all the time. Don’t forget Heritage birds can fly so wing clipping is important.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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