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.

Welcome, TGnX!

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.

 Come the winter holidays, we figure we'll be tired enough of the noise of turkeys that it won't be a huge sacrifice to, errr, sacrifice them.

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!
 There's a heat lamp, a feeder, and a water bottle in there, plus room to run around and learn to work the little legs.

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?
 The poults aren't the only new kids on the farm.  

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
 Last night, when all the hens were snoring, I picked up the two Ladies Aubergine, and stuffed them into the henhouse with the rest of the flock.

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....)


  1. Turkey poults are so much dumber and have to be babied more in the beginning but I think they are so much more facinating than chickens!!!!!! I <3 turkey as production animals :)

  2. Hey, what do you use for a waterer?

    1. Ummm. A plain old regular chick waterer.

  3. I lol'd three times during this post, and shouted out quotes to J who's reading the paper in the other room. Those lavender chickens are pretty! I sure miss Thanksgiving.

  4. Oh good luck with them! Jentry tried last season... the neighbor's dogs dug under the pen & got two - I think she ended up with three out of her original six :-) I Do Not like chickens - but admire those who do :-)

  5. I had six lavender orpies at my old farm, and loved them very much. Such sweet birds! Sadly, the fox got them when a friend was fostering while I was between farms, and I haven't gotten more, Yet...

  6. YOU HAVE PURPLE CHICKENS. Okay, how awesome is that? I laughed my way through the turkeys, fell in love with lavender chickens, and Hudson wants Fee to know that while cutting a flock of adult turkeys is sort of fun, in a flappy, hysterical, I can't remember how to get away from a preditor sort of way, it's not as much fun as playing with a steer. He's currently Googling "purple steer" for you.


Post a Comment

To err is human. To be anonymous is not.

Popular posts from this blog

In which we take (metaphoric) coals to Newcastle by boat and barge

In which we go to the Highland Games and there's a Henry photo dump