What's that you say?? Yes, friends, you read it right: WE ARE GETTING TURKEYS!!!!
I am so excited to be adding some new animals to our little homestead in the early spring. We are choosing a heritage breed, called Bourbon Reds, to raise primarily for meat. Not sure how they will interact with the chickens, but hopefully everyone will learn to get along :)
|image source, attribution|
We are planning to use the partially enclosed, partially open area behind our shed for the turkey pen. We will enclose this area with poultry wire, and we've made a roost for them to sleep on that is underneath the sheltered portion of the back of the shed. We plan to keep the poults here in the pen for the first several weeks until they learn where home is, and then we will let them out to free range. I have heard from many turkey owners that turkeys are just as happy to sleep every night roosting up in trees.
|poultry wire will be applied to the metal posts|
|The back of our shed is partially sheltered--perfect for the turkeys to sleep under|
|home-made turkey roost out of bamboo|
I expect the turkeys to spend most of their time out in the woods that surround our property, and we will just pray they won't all get eaten by predators!
|turkey coop looking out-- see the chickens in the background? They will have to learn to share their foraging space!|
Once next November rolls around, they should be quite large and ready for processing. We plan to dress one out for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas :) If we are lucky we might have an extra breeding pair we can use for next year! Did you know that something like 98% of all turkeys in the United States are artificially inseminated? Apparently over the years we have nearly bred the natural mating and reproduction process out of these birds, who rarely get to reach one full year in their life-span.
I guess it's time to stock up on the turkey poult feed before the prices shoot up. Do any of you raise turkeys? How different do you find them from chickens?