Turkeys

This Saturday at the Farmers’ Market, Eric will have tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, squash, beans, beets, cucumbers, okra, eggs, chicken (both stew hens and broilers) and chicken feet, as well as a few other things we can’t think of right now.

Over the last 5 years of raising pasture fed chickens, Eric has kicked around the idea of raising turkeys. We often decide not to due to the uncertainty and unfamiliarity of raising turkeys. This year, Eric took the risk and ordered 80 Bronze turkeys. As I told you earlier this spring, unlike the chickens which usually arrive a day late, the turkeys arrived a day early. The day they arrived, Eric called Arty, our poultry processor up in Greene. Eric told her, “Arty I need to make a date to process turkeys. I have 80 of them.”

Arty was quick to respond, “No you don’t. I’ll put you down for 70.”

“What?” Eric asked.

“Turkeys have a high mortality rate, Eric. You will likely have about 70 by the time November rolls around. If you have more than 70, no biggie, I can handle that.” Arty finished.

Within a few days Eric understood what Arty meant. After two turkey deaths, Eric further secured the brooder room of any item that could cause injury or death to the turkeys. We also learned to check on them about every hour, as one might flip over not figure out how to get back up. Since then, (knock on wood) things have gone pretty well. These days J. can get the birds to follow him just by using different whistles. It’s pretty amazing.

For the last two months the turkeys have been living in the chicken tractors. This week Eric and J. built a new turkey tractor. It’s about twice as tall as the chicken tractor and has a bit more area to it.  To give you an idea of size, we let Milo run around in it before completion and placement out in the field.

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We look forward to watching the continued growth of the turkeys and getting them ready for you all.

Have a great weekend, be sure to enjoy the cooler weather!

~eve

 

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About saltforkfarms

A small organic farm in Iowa that raises Standard Breed laying hens and hybrid broiler chickens suited for a pasture-based system, as well as varieties of vegetables and fruit suitable to our Eastern Iowa climate. We grow food, we eat food, we sell food!
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