Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Tale of Two Turkeys

Hello, blog!  I have missed you and am thinking I will try to get back into the habit of posting every so often if I have anything interesting going on around here.

These are my two Bourbon Red turkey poults and they are are 6 weeks old now. These are supposed to be DH's turkeys, my gift to him, but really they're more mine. I feed them and everything. He just mentioned in passing that he'd like to get turkeys someday, so that was all I needed to hear.  ;)

I found out the hard way that turkeys have a really steep learning curve! These are the only two survivors. We started with 6 poults and very mysteriously, every few days, one would just get sleepy and then I'd find it dead the next day. A couple days later, another, then another... After asking around www.backyardchickens.com, the best answer we could come up with was a failure to thrive. I think they were getting too comfortable under the heat lamp and not eating and drinking enough. It is advisable to put a chicken chick in with them to show them how to eat and drink, since they are slow to catch on themselves, so I'll definitely do that next time. They really don't eat and drink as voraciously as chicks, although most every other aspect of their care is the same. These guys are about the size of a banty chicken now.

They are very nervous and flighty little critters. I had to cage them within the brooder circle because they kept flying out and couldn't figure out how to get back in. I got 6 poults for $40 from a local breeder, which is a really good deal (they go for $10.50 each on Murray McMurray Hatcheries website, plus shipping.) But I think the time of year now going into fall and winter isn't really the best. I will have to keep them in the garage all winter or maybe in the barn since young turkeys are said to not tolerate drafts or dampness well and our winters are usually pretty cold and wet. They'll go out on pasture with the chickens in the spring.

I was hoping to have a couple of hens to keep for breeding and I was going to get a new tom off of another breeder about an hour from here. I don't know what I'll do with them now, depending on whether I have toms or hens there. If I have at least one tom, he will be grown out and ready for Easter dinner next spring. As much effort as it has taken to keep them alive, I'm afraid I'll be too attached to them at that point. That was the plan anyway.