It was about this time two years ago that I decided I was going to raise a turkey to eat for the next Thanksgiving. Its an endeavor that I would highly recommend. First of all, you will know exactly what went into your turkey. Second, the meat is going to be delicious. Third, it will remind you and your family where food comes from.
I wasn't sure if I would be able to "do the deed" when the time came. Especially after I realized how friendly and sweet turkeys are to own. They are the friendliest fowl I have ever raised. I was also concerned as I had never killed anything with the intent of eating it! (I'm assuming mice, spiders and snakes don't count) I truly had no idea how to kill it, nor how to prep it for eating.
I found a solution though, I took a class. Yes, that's right, I took a class on how to butcher a chicken. My older relatives that were raised on farms thought I was crazy! "Why take a class, you just kill it". This was not a talent I was taught growing up though. Mil-Ton Farms offered a class and supplied the chickens. It made me comfortable with the entire process and allowed me to know what I was doing. That knowledge transferred to taking care of the turkeys when the time came.
Now, if you think you'll save money doing this.. forget about it. I think that turkey ended up being about $80 per pound by the time I paid for the eggs and feeding the darn things for 7 months. But I can honestly say I was grateful for the experience.
If you want to raise a turkey for next year, now is the time to start planning. Depending on what breed you get, you may need to get the poults/eggs as early as March to have one ready for eating size by November. I'm partial to the midget whites, but there are many heritage breeds to choose from. If you need more information, or want links to some other breeds for sale - just use the contact form on this site to ask!
Well, the last of the chicks moved outside today. It is so quiet in the house without them.. but boy does it smell better in here!! This last bunch was my Cream Legbars. I was nervous about putting them outside as I don't want anything to happen to them!! I'm sure they will be fine. My concern is that they are still rather small and I think they may be able to squeeze through the fencing. That would not be good!
I'm excited to be participating in the formation of the Cream Legbar Club. Its nice to be getting in on the ground floor with this breed. I'm also participating (albeit on the periphery) in the writing of the SOP. It's a very interesting process to watch.
Luckily, we saw it coming, and we were able to prepare a little bit for the snow we had from Hurricane Sandy. Sadly, we lost two turkey poults to the cold wet weather. I really do believe they are the sweetest but dumbest birds! It looks like they just stood out in the snow and rain, got too cold and wet, couldn't get dry and died. Yes, I said cold and wet. This was a heavy snow that was almost slushy. Not bad in small quantities, but 6 inches of the stuff was heavy. It pulled over a fence post and completely pulled down all the chicken wire from the top of one of our runs. Three hours in the rain to repair, and an hour of chasing chickens! This time of year is when you realize that a coop has to be big enough for the chickens to walk around in... otherwise they are going to get irritable when they are stuck in there for a few days.
Feeling empty nest syndrome here! Its so quiet in the house with all the incubators turned off. I have one last brooder full of chicks and then I'm done till spring. They should be ready to move out within a couple of weeks. Luckily, I convinced my wonderful husband to build one more pen before winter. I needed an extra one for the Cream Legbars. We repurposed an old dog house - it was a home made one that was huge (4x4). I'm hoping for a mild winter with an early spring!
I am a little concerned that the incubation bug will catch up with me again in the spring. I had been saving all my money from egg sales in hopes of purchasing a cabinet incubator. I spent that money on the Cream Legbars though. I'm hoping they lay enough that I can save up and buy a cabinet next fall. I will have to exert some will power to wait!
Well, I realized I'm not the worst addict out there. Anyone willing to pay $100,000 for a chicken coop is a bigger addict than I am, wow! http://www.neimanmarcus.com/christmasbook/fantasy.jsp?cid=CBF12_O5415&cidShots=m,a,b,c,z&r=cat44770736&rdesc=The%20Fantasy%20Gifts&pageName=Beau%20Coop&icid=CBF12_O5415
The suggestion was made by a fellow chicken lover ( Feike van Dijk) that a Chicken Addicts Group be started. I thought I would get the ball rolling and start a blog page. I'd love to hear your stories about how your chicken addiction started! What was your first breed? Did you get them for eggs and realize there was so much more to love? How many did you start with and how many do you have now? Post pictures, post comments, share the addiction!
It all started as a joke. My sister-in-law wanted to play a prank on my brother-in-law and put a chicken in his yard. As I researched chickens, I fell in love. I guess the jokes on me because now I have around 50 chickens in my yard!