Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Turkey Walkabouts

Just a quick note while we rehydrate from weeding the insane stuff that grows here, it seems like over night!
 I watched our four young turkey poults off and on while we weeded, I have no idea how commercial turkey breeders can have in good conscious raise birds as they do. I know consumer driven demand calls for turkey on demand in huge amounts but the birds were never meant to be housed.

Ours do what we call a walkabout. They start in the morning about 5:30 am...walking quickly, browsing on grass and bugs as they march around the farm. They come back to rest and get water and some scratch but off they go again. From the youngest tiniest baby's to the 'old' guys they must walk 4 or 5 miles a day. Happy and curious, dust bathing in the garden and gobbling at things in the grass. They eat bugs, chase grasshoppers and we think have controlled the Colorado Potato beetles this year.

As we weeded the four poults we had in the house were with us in the garden, over by the tobacco barn, up on the hill by the hay bales and over by the house, peeping happy peeps as they marched.

Happy birds, a joy to watch and a bright spot in our day.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Turkey Update

13....count them if you can see them in the clover. Auntie Momma Turkey, who helped raise chicks last spring, hatched 3 poults for us at Christmas has brought her brood out into the big world.

She had successfully hatched 14, 1 egg did not hatch and 1 poult died. We had put a turkey nest box in the woodshed when the turkey hens were wandering around deciding where to lay. Auntie Momma laid claim to it right away. We did have an incident with a chicken trying to share the nest. A couple of serious pecks from a turkey beak soon made her find a safer place.

Everyday during the hottest part of the afternoon, Auntie Momma made a fast dash to get water, then she ran by the feeder getting some food. She grazed and stretched her wings on the way back to her nest. The entire loop took all of 5 minutes.

So may we present "Turkey's 13"....the up and coming poults at our farm.

Now you ask...no white ones? Royal Palm are hatched pure white, it seems the white is recessive to the brown of the Chocolate Tom "Spike".

Then you say..."Are there black ones too?"

Yes, it seems Lilac, the only slate Turkey we had, was quite the layer. Sadly she decided to make her nest in the woods to the east of the farm and our Amish neighbor's son found her feathers.

Once a turkey hen gets an idea she is incredibly stubborn, we had tried to catch Lilac as she would sneak off to nest, hoping we could find her and lock her up. We had been saving all the turkey eggs and put some under Auntie Momma when she decided to set. We were very happy to see the black poults.

The tiny little things are going to drive Auntie Momma crazy, they do not follow like chicks do they go where they want to. It is a gift though to see them.

A video of them:

Now just one more Photo, I had not been able to get a good photo of the Rooster "Smoke". Today I  managed to snap  one of him as he was on hen lookout. He is the Australorp X Red Comet.

We think  he is a fine boy! Why did we call him smoke? When  he was a just small he had a very distinct gray neck. It has changed a lot as he matured.

God Bless and Keep you