For The Love of Turkeys
(or the post in which I convince all my readers to be crazy-turkey-enthusiasts)
Now, you may be asking yourself why on earth you need or would much less want turkeys, I mean seriously; the only time you think about having a turkey is for thanksgiving. Yep, ahuh.
Well I'm here to tell you otherwise!
As you know (or you may not know?) I got 8 turkeys this past spring, along with a dear friend of mine. I raised them in my room (yes, you read that right) for a month or so, give or take a little, and fell utterly in love with my goofy little darlings who would display and act like grown up turkeys, even though they still had soft down feathers and scrawny little legs. Oh yes, I was hooked from the very first moment I opened up that cheeping box from the post office and held the darling little boogers.
Little by little, they eventually moved into a big dog kennel.
One morning I let them out to free range; came back an hour later and found three missing. Went searching and found a couple plies of feathers and a leg...yep coyotes (that's what we're assuming) came right up to the house and carried off three of my precious babies, WHO also just so happened to be my only females. As of now, I have five goofy toms, who never desist from keeping me entertained!
Know that you have a little back story of how I plunged into raising turkeys, lets move on to the statistics, shall we? Of course we shall!
My boys are currently housed with my waterfowl (geese, ducks, muscovys). One thing you must keep in mind when raising turkeys, is to not house with with chickens, or peafowl. They can get a serious sinus infection from their droppings, and just trust me, you do not want to deal with that! So either house them by their onesises, or with other birds that are "safe", such as waterfowl.
My boys defiantly rule the roost in their pen, but they are not aggressive towards any of the other birds in the least. as far as I can tell. Every now and then a fight will break out amongst the different toms, but other than that, they all live in relative harmony together.
As far as housing goes, they roost in a metal house covered with pine shavings, and run around in a big chain-link pen during the day.
There are many benefits of raising a small flock of turkeys.
Meat - Many people raise a few turkeys just for thanksgiving dinner. That way they know exactly what that turkey has been eating, how he was raised, and can provide their family with nutritious meat, without hormones, fillers, etc.
Pest Control - Turkeys are excellent forgers, and if given the chance, will consume quite a bit of their own food. Have a garden? Lots of bugs? Your turkeys can help by eating up all those pesky bugs. If given access to a pasture, they will gladly gobble up grass, seeds, and plants of all sorts. Tired of mowing your yards? Enlist your turkey's help..or get a goat, but that's a whole nother' post. ;)
Gardening - I've often set my birds to work 'tilling' (a.k.a scratching) up the garden, and they are more than happy to eat up any extra garden produce or scraps. If you have birds of any kind, they poop. What? It's true! Those droppings, and all that soiled litter you shovel out of the coop is excellent fertilizer for your garden crop, and flowers.
Pleasure - There is nothing more relaxing and soothing, than watching a flock of turkeys mingle and interact with each other. A lot of people (like myself), have a few turkeys around just for pleasure, and or pets. *ahem*
So you see! There are lots of benefits to having a few turkeys around the place.
Still need convincing? Here's a few more things I love about my tom-boys:
They have warty skin. And it's adorable. That is all.
Their feathers (and themselves in general) are gorgeous! Just take a look'n see:
They are ridiculously adorable, and have puppy-eyes.
They like cuddles, and think your lap is the best place to be. Especially if you have snacks.
They display, and think they are the hottest thing to ever walk the earth.
They gobble, and make this (odd) 'booming' sound..and it's really cute.
Seriously tho, I can walk out the back door and holler "Hi babies!!" and they will start gobbling like crazy. Sometimes, we even get into gobbling matches. They always win. I've yet to master my turkey gobbling sound, I'm afraid I sound more like something dying, rather than a turkey!
They have a chest beard..thingy..that I forget the name of.
They have a snoot. Nuff' said.
A rarely known fact: turkey's favorite occupation is to photo-bomb. Beware, lest you end up with a pictures like this:
Be afraid, be very afraid!
People say cats are curious, right? Well, they have clearly never owned a turkey. I cannot go, or do anything without having these five goobers looking over my shoulder and pecking my camera lens.
My five stalkers:
They are very photogenic.
Too much adorableness in one picture, yes? Of course yes!
"Look at me. Love me!"
Samantha, these are for you:
Jack Thornton, the turkey. And YES! My cousin and I totally did name a turkey after the mountie from When Calls The Heart! Deal with it.
Don't you see the resemblance? Of course you do!
Handsome Jacky boy struttin' his stuff:
So want to join the ranks of us crazy turkey enthusiats? Jump on the bandwagon, so you too can get your fingers pecked by noisy-too-curious turkeys who think they are puppy-dogs:
and shovel manure with the rest of us.
And get gobbled at every time you walk out the door, and master the art of turkey language.
Come join the party folks! Times a wastin'!