Time for Turkeys

If there were such things as farm animal popularity contests, turkeys would win Best Personality.

They are active, inquisitive, and make quite a few distinct sounds. Smart birds!
However, they’re not always so. Have you heard the old adage about how turkeys are so dumb, they’ll go outside in the rain, look up at the sky, and drown? Well, I’m sorry to say…it’s true!
For the first few weeks of their lives, it’s very difficult to get turkeys to thrive. Our method here at the farm is to brood them along with our baby broiler chicks. The turkey poults imitate the chicks and learn how to eat, drink, and go under the hovers where it’s warm. After three weeks, they’ll go outside in the pens with the broilers. By eight weeks old, the turkeys are solid, and ready to be on pasture on their own.
They then get moved to an electrified net. A great attribute of turkeys is they are aggressive foragers and like eating the taller, bushier plants that chickens can’t get to. We can be strategic about this if need be – they are a great “clean-up crew” for places like vineyards and orchards.

We put this structure into the net to provide shade and a roosting place for the turkeys.

We process our Broad Breasted Whites at 16 weeks and save them in the freezer for our Thanksgiving customers.

Have you ever raised turkeys?

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

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