Saturday, May 31, 2014

Meatie Update: Week 5

Meatie Update: Week 5

I bet you're wondering where on earth the Meatie Update: Week 4 went, huh? Well there wasn't one. The day they turned four weeks old we had 5 1/2 inches of rain (spread out over several days) and I was otherwise occupied....OK fine I was splashing around in the puddles and singing in the rain. So after walking several hours in the pouring rain, getting very wet indeed, and returning home six inches deep in mud, I was completely exhausted and spent the rest of the day caring for the poor wet critters, who were less than thrilled about all this wet stuff falling from the sky (I think the chickens thought the sky was falling), excluding the ducks and geese who were overjoyed at the sudden arrival of hundreds of puddles and gallons of mud!

As you can see, the Meaties got moved to a bigger and a better pen this week. After all of the rain we had, I was determined to get them out of the front yard and into a bigger space so they could run around. I already had a fence built around the compost pile so all that was needed was to patch up a few holes that the Meaties could easily escape through.

I made an easy-open gate at the front for easy access. The Meaties now wait patiently (or maybe not so patiently) at it while I bring their food. Ok, actually they are complete pig hogs and throw a hissy fit until I bring them their supper. 

We stood several sings up for shade. After these pictures were taken we decided it would be safer to lay them against their dog house for shade.

The jungle jim - the Meaties now have full access to a chicken play ground. They spend many hours, usually during the early morning and late evening, playing and roosting on them. Mostly they just like to play "king of the stump".

Their nighttime quarters. I have to make sure their pen is wired up real tight at night since they aren't up by the house anymore and night prowlers have been known to come up to the back gate before, which is right beside the Meatie pen. Yipes!

The Meaties really are excellent foragers, if given the chance. 

We call this the naked chick. This poor guy missed out when they were giving out the feathers.

I took these pictures Friday (five weeks) and then I took more today and I swear they've all grown since yesterday!

The first priority of a chicken, when given a spot full of moist dirt, is to take a dirt bath. The Meaties did just that and cleaned themselves up after the cold and rainy spell we had.

They are back to their white and fluffy selves.

Three of the Easter chicks that reside with the Meaties (who will probably end up in the freezer..maybe...) are growing fast too! However, despite being several weeks older than the Meaties, they are all the same size! The Meaties being slightly bigger of course.

Meaties have big feet, in case you ever wanted to know. Their feet actually match their body size.

A favorite napping spot, an old pallet.

Dinner time!!!

Rusty keeping guard over his Meaties. 

You can see the general size of their pen in this picture, give or take a little space.

I'm struck with how sweet and docile the Meaties are. I'm going to have a hard time butchering them, so that's why I'm making the guys do it!

Remember I said Meaties are excellent foragers? The first day in their new run the ate all of the grass and munched on the mesquite tree leaves as well!

A nice big fella.

Scratching around in the compost pile. 

They were very curious as to what I was holding in my hand (the camera) and wanted to get as close as possible, to better check it out.


Caught in action!

Nap time after dinner.

This gives you an idea on the general size of the Meaties at this point. Males tend to be a littler bigger whereas the females tend to be a little smaller.

A full view of the Meatie's run.

And I'll leave y'all with that! I gotta get back to my scratchin! ;)

To be continued next week - 

Blessings - 

~ Aspen

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Turkey Update: Week 1

Turkey Update: Week 1

Actually the poults are about 10 days old in these pictures, but whatever, the main thing is there's pictures of adorable turkey babies here and you should be excited! You got that? EXCITED!!

 First off let me tell you that dogs and turkeys are very similar. Don't believe me? Just check out those puppy-eyed-turks in the below pictures!

SEE! What'd I tell you? Turkeys can be the most pitiful things on earth..oh and they are also extremely good at begging for food. *ahem* Of course I wouldn't know anything about that because I never give in to their adorable little puppy-eyes trick. BUT some of you might be more easily swayed by their cuteness, so I'm just warning you beforehand! Watch out for a pair of these:  ;) staring at you.

Another thing you should know before you start your venture into turkeys, is be prepared to be thought of as the "Official Roosting Spot & Live Treat Dispensing Unit". 
That is all.

Don't let these little faces get the better of you..turkeys can be very persuasive, and can easily pry treats out of you, using those puppy eyes of theirs. Of course I'm never been susceptible to their little tricks so I....ahh!! Look at those little faces! Yes, here have another boiled egg..and some oatmeal! OH! What's that? ME feeding the turkeys treats? I never!

I've found out that turkeys are very photogenic...meaning they like to stand right in front of the camera and then jump on it.

See what I mean?

Now on to the individual colors of puppies..err...I mean turkeys. *ahem*

The Lavenders are by far my favorite. Please don't tell the other poults..who knows what they might do!!

They are so affectionate, they all are, but especially the Lavenders.   

 I think I'm well on my way to becoming (OK..I already am) a true turkey addict. Oh well....

This little Missy (or Mr....) loves to cuddle up and have me scratch her head. Them..spoiled? Nah!!

The Lavs still have their purple markings atop their heads. But as soon as they start getting their head feathers in the markings should disappear.

Have I ever mentioned that I love, repeat love turkey snoots? No? Well I do.


I mentioned that turkeys are very snuggly critters..I present to you the proof:

She fell asleep right after this picture was taken. 

Just a note on holding poults. I've found they do not like to be held the same way as chicks do. I found just scooping the poult up underneath it's body seems to make the poult feel more safe and secure. Whereas if you try and pick one up by grabbing it over it's back they freak out. Just my experience. 

Oh! And another important lesson on turkeys: they have spur of the moment ideas. Such as running as fast as they can towards the edge of the bed and then leaping off it and flying...eventfully smashing into the wall..obviously trying to commit suicide. Just a heads up! Keep a sharp eye on them when they're out of the brooder. Two eyes, if you can, but if not one will work. ;)


The feather's coming in nice! Gotta be excited about that!

Just  l oo k at those purdy' feathers coming in.

 Out of the three colors, the Slates are probably the most stand offish, but even they enjoy a cuddle every now and again.

The Royal Palm poults are getting very big!

I keep waiting for some black feathers to come in, but so far nada.

There you have it! The first week in my venture of raising heritage turkeys!

All 17 poults are thriving and doing great. I've introduced them to several new foods this week, including (but not limited to) eggs (cooked all ways)  - which is a huge favorite, moths - which they devour with a passion, wheatgrass - they must have liked it pretty well because right after I gave them a square of it I came back in about 10 minutes and it was all gone! They also love bugs of any kind, shape, or form. Today while weeding the garden I brought them a handful of morning glory sprouts and they gobbled them up like crazy. I think they thought they were worms or some such thing!

However, their main diet is gamebird starter. Eventfully I'd like to switch them over to fermented feed, but they are very messy eaters so I'll wait until they are moved outside before I try that!

To be continued next week - 

Blessings - 

~ Aspen