Thursday, June 18, 2009

turkey chicks.....

Sometime last spring, as I was getting grain, I saw that they were taking orders for "birds", I asked if there were going to be some turkeys ordered and they said yes. So, I ordered some.
We have raised turkeys before, the first time was kind of by accident... we had gone to the grain store (another one) and there were some "left over chicks"... they just wanted them to get out of the store, and offered them to us at a very low price (1.00 per chick), at that price Ed said, why not, if we weren't successful, we didn't have that much into them. As it was, we were successful... in fact, quite successful in that we didn't loose one chick and all six went into the freezer.
Being the "animal person" that I am, I wasn't sure if I could do this "raising thing", seeing those birds and knowing what their outcome was going to be. But, I did not attach myself to them, and as they got bigger and older, they kind of became mean... cleaning their pen began to be not so much fun, so when it was time for them to "go"... it was OK with me. Besides, I knew that we had given them a "good life"... they had a huge pen, the best food and water, completely clean environment... certainly not the life of some of their kind. Once I had tasted our "own" birds, I knew that we would certainly do this again... animals that are raised in excellent/kind environments... have a much better "taste" than the commercial.
The second time we raised turkeys, we weren't so "lucky"... of the six birds we started with only two went to the freezer. We lost the first three within days and now realize that we had allowed them to get cold. The other three made it to adulthood, but when they were "dressed", one had this awful growth on him and the butcher advised us not to take him.... we didn't. The two that we got into the freezer were as good as the first batch.

We didn't' raise any birds last year, with the move to the farm and all that was going on (kids coming home, etc) it was just too much. But this year, having the farm and all, we went way out.... and ordered 12 chicks.
I can't believe how they come, in a cardboard box with a bit of straw, some food.... they were all peeping and trying to break out of the box!!! Nice and lively, and were just hatched last Sunday, so they are only a few days old. (I opened the box to peek in and got this photo!!!!)
We got them home and into a cage.
This time, we know more, and have a nice heat lamp for them to cuddle under, a bigger food trough, and plenty of water (I can't believe how much they are drinking!!!) We're keeping them at the house for now, but in a week or so, we will move them down to the tack room and keep them "inside" until they get some growth on them.
As it turns out, there aren't 12... there are 13, guess someone miss counted.
They are still nice and lively (and quite noisy!!!) but the first week or so is the tricky time. At this stage they are quite fragile and it's not unusual to loose one or two. We're hoping we can keep them all. In the meantime, Ed has yet another project on his list.... get an outside pen and house put up for them..... (what were we thinking??) but come next fall, when they are all tucked into the freezer, we will know what we were thinking......