In which we welcome some new feathered (and some new barely feathered) friends
We've decided to raise poults this year.
|Baby turkey selfie|
For those who want to know (I always want to know stuff like this): baby turkeys are called poults.
Unless you call them Babydumbirds, which is also kind of accurate.
|These poults are probably 2-3 days old, and are still figuring out some basic stuff. |
Like eating. And walking.
To keep the mission of poult-raising clear to everyone (including ourselves)
|Cute, but not clever|
Jim and I have officially christened all four turkey poults "TGivingNXmas." Because we do, really, actually, intend to eat these little critters.
Not right away, obviously.
Since turkey mortality is supposedly higher than chicken mortality (we still have three hens remaining from the original 2009 batch of twelve chickens--even our "wild" hen is still alive!), we are hedging our bets with four poults so that hopefully we will get two festive meals.
|"A squeaky toy that throws itself!"|
Jim and I have toyed with this notion for a few years now, but there was a defining incident last month involving a 4-year-old frozen turkey donated to us as chickenfeed:
We left the bird to thaw on the pumphouse floor in 50 degree weather and forgot it was there for more than 2 weeks. Ewww, right?
Then I bashed open the white plastic wrapping with a trail-building tool so we could feed it to the chickens. Ewww?
It didn't smell bad. It didn't smell at all.
The chickens themselves wouldn't even go near it for a few days, until the local crow population started tearing into it. The crows didn't die. After that, the elderly turk was completely devoured without incident in a matter of hours.
(Don't think too much about the diet of chickens. You don't actually want to know the details. Seriously, it's like having a pen full of feathered piranhas.)
So, anyhow, that event decided us on a great turkey-raising experiment. We turned the old apple crate (the one the goats came in) into a brooder.
|Samantha Vanderbarn is fascinated...and NOT allowed to come close to the babies!|
Unlike chicken peeps, which start out cute
|Minerva Louise peep, c.2009|
and then get ugly as "teenage" birds
|Minerva Louise, age 3 months|
and then turn pretty, turkey poults are pretty cute at first,
but it's mostly ugly from there until Thanksgiving.
We got Bronze Turkey poults, a "straight run" which means we won't know if they are males or females for at least of couple of weeks. The adult birds will look kind of like this:
|We won't take pictures of our birds against a white quilted background.|
Because, duh. White?
For my birthday, Duana gave me this:
Apparently, she somehow heard about my fascination with lavender orpington chickens (possibly because I wouldn't shut up about purple chickens??!!!???) and decided that some chicks were an appropriate 50th birthday present.
We shopped around for chicks, but at $15 per chick, straight run, and a fair number of unscrupulous "puppymill" chick breeders in the area, I wasn't confident that I wouldn't end up with a bunch of mongrel roosters instead of pretty purple hens.
So, I found a nice lady downsizing her flock who agreed to sell two nice, adult lavender orpington hens.
|Iris (smaller chicken on top) and Violet (fluffier chicken on bottom)|
They aren't bright purple, obviously. More of a silvery, mother-of-pearl color, with lavender highlights (especially when Violet hasn't been dirt-bathing!).
I brought them home yesterday and they spent the rainy afternoon in Fiddle's stall.
|Violet dug through the shavings so she could roll in the dirt below. |
|Iris has a bit of attitude|
And this morning...
|"Our flock has always been multicoloured!"|
One of the new hens even laid an egg today!
|Top row: Rhode Island Red eggs|
Center row: Plymouth Barred Rock eggs
Bottom row: long skinny Orpington egg!
Now, if the rain would stop, and the thunder would quit, maybe I can go riding? Please?
(peering hopefully at the sky....)