A little over a month ago we welcomed our second (and final) batch of Broad Breasted White turkey poults to Polyface. Total, we received 850 birds – 400 hens and 450 toms. The toms moved on to be raised at one of our rental farms and the hens stayed here… with me! These little girls grew up in our mini brooder, and they remained there until they were four weeks old. Then, onto pasture! Currently, they’re in shelters, like the broilers. After that, they’ll move to a gobbledygo surrounded by electrified poultry netting.
Until they moved onto pasture, however, I got the take care of them every morning and afternoon. Aside from Turkey Starter feed, the hens also received starter grit once a day and fresh cuts of grass/clover twice a day. Additionally, I would often add new sawdust and stir their bedding for them. Turkeys don’t scratch and mix up their bedding like chickens do. So, in order to keep their bedding clean and fresh, I would have to do this for them. Overall, I found that I quite enjoyed these ladies… they really made me laugh! Unlike broiler chicks, turkeys are a lot… slower. They just like to drift around, take a little afternoon nap, or test their patience and hunting skills on a fly.
One of my favorite parts of my day was when I got to throw some fresh cuts of grass to the poults. They would go absolutely wild! Ditching all the feed I’d just given them, the girls barrel head first into the pile of greens (this is probably the only time in the entire day that they move faster than a turtle). Once one has a piece secured in her beak, she tries to quickly gobble it up before one of her fellow hen snatches it right out of her mouth! It’s not uncommon to see one poult running around with a real nice, lush piece firmly planted in her beak with three others chasing after her… even though there are hundreds of other grass pieces sitting just inches away! All in all, it’s a real entertainment to take moment to watch these silly girls.
Like I mentioned, the poults have now retired the brooder and are out on pasture. Stayed tuned for updates and current pictures on them!