Sunday, August 30, 2015

Turkey's in the Midst!

The song "I've Been Everywhere" by Hank Snow fits these fellows.

As usual we made plans, did research, revamped our plans and then, finally, placed our very first poultry order. Meyer Hatchery was our final choice for this very first farm poultry order. Ordering at this time of year is less common and selection is different. We also found some interesting differences in how hatcheries describe their birds.
Ralph wanted Australorpes, his experiences with them have been good and he knew them as very broody and versatile. We have read a lot of information contrary to this, people who find Australorpes less than ideal for a homestead bird. Murray McMurray states their Australorpes as 'Not broody'. Meyers list theirs as broody. We made the decision to try Meyer.

 Australorpe Hen

Then hatching dates and availability came into play. We wanted the chicks to arrive at Cub Run, we have to get the power to Cub Run. So more figuring went into organizing what was available, what we wanted and when they would be shipped and when we would have electricity.

We decided on our breeds of Chicken: Black Australorpe, Buff Orpington and Buckeye. The Buckeye and Australorpe arrive in Cub Run on September the 8th. The Buff Orpington are unavailable.

Buckeye hen and Chicks

 Buff Orpington
Then we decided on a mix of colors for the guinea hen order. We knew after all the ticks we picked up while we planted and worked the new garden area, that guinea hens were a must.
 Pearl Guineas

 Lavender Guineas

 Royal Purple Guineas
 White Guineas

The Duck choices are Cayuga, Khaki Campbell and Blue Swedish.


Khaki Campbells

Blue Swedish
Then came the turkey order. We both enjoy turkey however there are only two of us so we knew the commercial White turkey's were out, I mean 27 or more pounds of turkey is just too much! I have loved the look of Royal Palm turkey's for years. So since they are a smaller breed they made the list.

Royal Palm
Bourbon Red turkey's were on our list but unavailable, and availability became our biggest issue. It seemed if we wanted turkeys that would be able to start laying in the spring...we only had until August 28th to order them. We knew we would not have possesion of the farm yet or have the electric hooked up. The advantage of having grown birds by spring would be huge, but would they travel? Could they deal with a move after getting settled in New Castle?

 Bourbon Red

To get the number of poults we wanted we decided if we could not get the Bourbon Reds we would get the Slate Turkey's.

Blue Slate
The final selection was Chocolate, I had not heard of them but they fit our requirements and are beautiful too! Imagine eating 'healthy Chocolate'!

Chocolate Turkey's

This decision was very difficult, one of us would have to turkey sit. We had always envisioned taking our new keys and just spending time together assessing our tiny corner of God's world. I knew getting the start on our turkey flock would pay off so, gritting my teeth, I told Ralph to place the order.

Now today I am listening to the peeping of poults, 30 of them. These little balls of fluff are going to be well travelled. We received a tracking number from Meyer. The poults come all the way from New Mexico to Virginia. They travel by air for part of that distance. We will then haul them to Kentucky.


This is the first set of heritage breed poults I have had anything to do with. They are way more active than what we are used to. On their own, without any help at all they found the water right away, set to eating with gusto and even try to catch the odd fly. They race back and forth and flap their little wings. When we approach the brooder set up they come running and are so curious, looking up at us, pecking at our fingers and being very social.

I might have got the best part of the deal, Ralph is on the road to the farm, he has to unload books, canning, chairs, and other assorted stuff. Yes he does get the keys but I get to watch these marvelous little creatures. I get to laugh at their antics and of course listen to the cheerful peep peep peeping from the porch.

The decisions we have researched, looked forward to and finally made are crucial to our physical and mental health. The poultry we have purchased is more valuble to us than gold. You cannot eat gold and it most certainly does not reproduce itself. So starts the learning curve on our farm. And the lively little turkey poults are in the middle of it all!

God Bless you all.


  1. What great choices you made. The turkeys will be beautiful! We managed to get some buff orphingtons this year or fluffy butts as some call them. You will have your hands full for awhile.

    1. We so look forward to seeing the rest of our order as they arrive. I got up early to check the poults, the are sleeping...shhhhhh :)

  2. Choosing poultry is so much fun. Our Buffs never fail to go broody at least once a year and are great moms. We're switching over the the Lorps, however, so I'm wondering about the mixed reports of broodiness too. I'll be interested in how yours do in that department. Mama Pea suggested a Bantam hen if all else fails. We'll see. The only breed on your list that we haven't tried is the Buckeye. I really like the look of the breed but read they are close-feathered, i.e. hard to pluck. Since we eat ours that was a deterrent.

    1. I had not heard the 'close feather' characteristic about the Buckeye but I have seen photos of them after butchering and they looked very good. We ordered straight run of all the poultry as having our own meat is very crucial to our plans.
      And in the broody department...your muscovies should be outstanding!

  3. Good for you, Fiona! More meat on the hoof, per se. I enjoyed listening to the little peepers, as well as your cat. Enjoy the move, as much as anyone enjoys moving. I know you are very excited about the destination, though, which makes the move that much easier. Keep us updated.


    1. The cat is curious but she has never seen livestock. She sits in the doorway of the porch when I look after the poults. I picked them clover today and they loved it. They really are so different than broad breasted white poults. We have hopes to select the best for breeding birds. Ralph keeps me updated as he gets things done at the farm. God Bless you two.

  4. Just a short note...I had to edit the date of the last availability of turkey's. In the initial post I put in September 28th but it was wrong, it was actually August the 28th.
    My apologies.

  5. Oh hooray! Glad you went with Meyer! I have ordered from them in the past... We got 15 of their brown egg layers one year. No losses from that batch until they were 2 years old, and we lost one. It was a mix of Barred Rock, The Golden Buffs ( Comets ) and Rhode Island Reds. WOW They are great! And here at year three, they are still putting out eggs just about every day. I was toying about getting some of their ducks and guinea fowl next year. Can't wait to read about your tales with the Guinea's.. they are a most interesting bird to watch.

    Congrats on your new babies!!

    1. Guineas do sound like they will be an adventure in poultry keeping! It is good to hear you have had success with Meyer.