Thursday, September 3, 2015

Time for Turkey's

Our first 'stock' arrived last Friday...small, feathered and peeping. The turkey poults, 31 of them. Three breeds of heritage turkey's, one on the critical list [Chocolate] and two on the ALBC watch list [Blue Slate and Royal Palm].

We felt that if we were going to have turkey's then we wanted the older breeds and maybe we could do some good for the breed numbers.

 Ralph with the crate of peepers!

They were purchased from Meyer Hatchery and were the last of the 2015 turkey hatching. Shipped from New Mexico USPS, our post master called us as soon as they arrived and Ralph basically stampeded out the door!

 The Cat was mystified, then since there were no treats involved she went and had a nap.

It was like Christmas, it probably seems trivial to anyone who raises large numbers of turkey's but to us it is a part of our future and very exciting. We opened the crate to loud and vigorous poults, all alive.

 Blue Slate

 Royal Palm

You wonder where the photo of the Chocolate poults is?  They had started to jump out of the open box so we decided we had better get them settled. 

Ralph had purchased a bag of Koop Clean for the litter. It spreads well and makes a nice soft but firm bed for the poults. We used a 50 gallon sheep water trough as a brooder box. 

 The Koop Clean

 Spreading out the first layer, Ralph shook it and made sure there were no lumps in it and that it was uniformly spread.

Here is the trough ready for its inhabitants.

 Ralph gently setting the Chocolate poults into the litter. The Chocolate were still trying to jump out of the shipping box.

 Here is a mix of the poults. They were really glad to have room to run.

 Right to the water, as soon as Ralph put the waterer down they were drinking. The Blue Slate were first!

 Humnn....a trend, the Blue Slate started eating first as well.

Here they are just before we added the food and water, we are trying a clear light but after a few days I found it is not as diffuse for heating and the poults are calmer under the red bulb.

We also decided to use non medicated feed but treat the water for the first while. We are in town here and the water is treated heavily so it smells when we turn on the tap. We fill a gallon jug and then let it sit on the counter with the lid off for some of the chemicals to evaporate off. This helps when we water plants with the water so we think it should help with the turkey's.

I am posting this after a week of turkey sitting while Ralph deals with the farm and getting power hooked up, hay cut and all sorts of other things that have to be done.

Not all has gone well. Four poults have died.Two of the Chocolate, one Blue Slate and a very small Royal Palm. No clear reason, which has always frustrated me when something dies. [I was not really surprised at the little Royal Palm, but the Slate was a well grown poult and the entire group has been really vigorous]
Meyer have been very helpful, answering questions about feed and litter.

They can jump out of the water troughs, there are now 2 as they needed more room! 20" up so now I have a barricade around the brooders!

They come right to see me as soon as I open the porch door and they are starting to make turkey noises!

However despite the losses I am so very glad we got them now, having animals die is an unfortunate part of raising them. [I am no where near as hard hearted as I thought, Ralph teases me abot that] So goes the continuing adventure and we so look forward to the day we and our turkey's are settled in at the new digs for good.

Shades of The Beverly Hillbillies as we move lock, stock, turkey's and tomato plants to Kentucky!


  1. They are just beautiful! Sometimes the stress of being shipped is just too much for the babies......happens. Usually a hatchery will send a couple extras just in case that happens. Can't wait to see them as they grow. Have never seen the slate interesting. We always had to put chicken wire on top of the waterers to keep chicks from jumping out and the cats from jumping in, lol

    1. We have hauled the chicken wire to Cub Run already....we didn't think we would have such perky turkey's!

  2. I've never seen a domestic turkey chick before. I see the wild ones here, running across my meadow with their mom, sometimes.

  3. When is the big day, Fiona? I know you can't wait to be in your own home with no more moving ahead of you.


    1. The power is supposed to be hooked up tomorrow. We hope the final trip will be the 15th.The Turkey's and I hope to be 'home' this coming week.

  4. They are so cute! I didn't realize they grew so fast. Turkeys are still on our wish list. :) I love that you got a variety.

    1. I have never had such 'Athletic' poults! When you do get them be aware the Heritage breeds can jump, flap and very nearly fly really young! [the voice of recent experience]

    2. I have to say that experience is the best teacher. But I'm taking notes. :)

    3. Notes are invaluble! It is interesting to watch these poults, so different in attitude than any others I have raised.

  5. Fiona.,

    When we purchased our turkey poults we were told by others who had experience raising turkeys to expect to loose some in the beginning. Even if you hatched them. Out of 15, 4 died within 3 days of delivery. When I spoke with the lady at the hatchery she told me that they are just 'fragile' and it does happen So don't feel too badly about it. It is very frustrating when they seem to die for no apparent reason.

    Enjoy your turkeys. I look forward to your updates so I can learn from your experiences, too!

    1. I just hate having them die. After raising cattle and farming all my life I know it happens but it still bothers me. On the lighter side these little poults are crazy good jumpers and despite what people say SMART! They can escape from the barricaded big trough, then they walk along the door step and jump down into the other trough. [it is a small porch with a step into the house] I had 8 Chocolate and 2 Slate in the small trough..Ralph called to see what I was doing, I said checking the turk's and when I opened the door there were 3 Slate with the Chocolate. They are sassy poults!