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Welcoming turkeys to the farm

It’s official. I will now be adding turkey grower to my ever-growing skills as a farmer. Yesterday I placed an order for pullets (baby turkeys) and scheduled the butchering with an area processor that’s now a USDA federally inspected facility. Talk about planning the cycle of life in just a few short minutes! 

While I wait for the pullets to arrive in mid-April, I need to start getting busy for their arrival. I do have a brooder on hand. But, I’ll need to start planning their feed rations and work on a number of building projects: a portable pen for use when they just start on pasture, a portable roost shelter when they are big enough to not need their pen on pasture, a water line and feeder, both for pasture.

The pullets will be pastured-raised and supplemented with grains. However, before they are old enough to go out on pasture, they’ll live in a brooder, a baby-turkey nursery pen.  Once ready, they’ll head out to pasture, living in portable pens that will be moved daily with access to fresh grass.  After sometime they’ll be able to live in their own paddock (section of the pasture) without the pen. 

Since I also raise meat goats, the turkeys will “follow” the goats as they are rotationally grazed. This means every few days the goats move to a new paddock. Then the turkeys will move into goat’s old paddock. This will allow the turkeys to eat grasses and other greens, and even bugs, the goats don’t eat. It also is a way to naturally distribute fertilizer in a fairly even manner throughout the pasture. 

After the summer on pasture, the turkeys will be processed and ready for sale this fall, just in time for the holidays. 

Now it’s time to get busy building before the little fuzzy pullets arrive.

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