Turkey Poults, Chicks, Repurposing and More

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Ma here, I’m about a week late with this post. We sure have a lot goin on here on Off-Kilter Acres, so I hope you will forgive me.  Everyone meet TG – our lone turkey. We bartered for him last year. I kind of left Pa no choice in the deal, I wanted a turkey after all. He was a few months old when we got him, and it sure was fun watching him grow into the big boy he is today.

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Poor TG. I am pretty sure he’s a Butterball. The kind of critter most people raise up and slaughter for Thanksgiving dinner. We promised the girl we got him from we wouldn’t do that though. Last summer he was quick as a shot. This spring, well, let’s just say that ole TG has gotten sooo fat that he quite literally waddles. I did learn that turkeys are bug eating machines, just look at how full that crop is. I hope that he will be with us a long time, but honestly will be surprised if he makes it through the summer. So I decided we need us some more turkeys. Now ideal would be to find a clutch of wild turkey eggs, incubate and raise them up. One problem with that – HOW the heck am I going to find them? I hear the gobblers at times through the day, but they could be just about anywhere in that wilderness across the road. Plus I have yet to acquire an incubator.

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I tell ya, when Fish Taco sent me this picture stating they got bronze turkeys in at Orscheln, my excitement soared. Seeing how that durn Will Power and Patience are still off gallivanting, I really had no choice but to go right in to town that afternoon and grab some babies.

I brought them home, and into the bath tub with the chicks they went. It didn’t take the chicks long to start picking on the poults.

So I put the turkey poults into a box, with their food and water, and left the chicks in the tub. The chicks crowded in the smallest places they could find between the tub wall and the box. Silly Birds.  The chicks are starting to get their big girl feathers, and starting to try to fly out of the tub. By morning, one of the chicks was in the box. I knew I had to make a change, but what to do?

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Repurpose of course! Pa originally got the used dog kennel for the Devil Dog. Last spring Fish Taco and I patched it up and put chicken wire on the top to protect the ducklings from predators. Well it was time to put that old kennel to another use.

I took one of the cut hog panels that I used for Snoop Hoggy Hogg’s baby pen and wedged it inside the kennel catty-wampus. Fish Taco found one of the furring strips we had leftover from when we redid the skirting on the house and we pushed it through the openings in the chain link fencing of the kennel even with the top of the hog panel in order to have a solid surface to clamp the heat lamp on to. Then I found some used chicken wire we had laying around and zip tied (yes, the farm would stop running if we ever run out of zip ties) it to the bottom of the hog panel, then across the doorway. This way the the turkey poults and the chicks each have their own room and no one can escape. I just open the gate, and step over the chicken wire to get in, no babies can run out if I have the gate open.  Then I asked Pa to help me with that heavy bag of pine shavings. I have found with the birds that they have a bad habit of filling the base of their waterer with shavings, so I thought to find something to raise them up out of the shavings. Well, we had an old rabbit hutch that I bartered for. Last winter when they were calling for a big snow storm, we cut the legs off the hutch, took the top off and turned it on it’s side for the ducks a shelter place. I spied the legs and thought, 4×4’s? That works. The feeder and waterers sit right nicely on them I think.

Then we added the birds. I gave the turkey poults an old dog carrier that Pa found in a road ditch, and a nesting box out of the rabbit hutch for shelter. The chicks got two nesting boxes from the hutch and an old garden cart turned upside down to hide under. Everyone seemed pretty happy with their new digs.

What else did we have happening on Off-Kilter Acres, you ask?

Well, Fish Taco learned that the Egg Suckin Dog (aka Pepper) can find the opened bag of popcorn inside a grocery sack if left on the ground. She really enjoyed the snack. Thanks Fish Taco!

Last spring, when they were blooming, Pa and I trekked over to Strawberry Hill and Pa dug me up several Wild Strawberries. I planted them in one of my garden pods and fought hard all summer through the heat and drought to keep them alive. Not all survived, but some did, as you can see above. We also bought some tame strawberries and planted them at the base of our blackberries. They are thriving! Some have runners over 5 feet long.

My onions are coming right on up, and the peas are popping!

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I gathered 37 eggs that day as well. We were lucky enough to get an enameled container that was Pa’s Great Aunt Cleo’s. When given to us, we were told “Aunt Cleo always kept her eggs in there.” What better use for it than to put our fresh eggs in? What WILL we do with all those eggs?

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Make breakfast burritos for dinner of course!

We sure did a lot more on the farm over the past two weeks, but I won’t tell you all about it right now. One of us will catch you up real quick though, I promise.

With that, I’m off!

Ma

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