June 2018: Well, I did it. I bought turkeys. Honestly, I’d been thinking about it for awhile. Ever since last Fall when I saw some nearby farms raising turkeys for Thanksgiving and there, uh, methods. I thought that maybe I’d trial some this year to see how it went, and then consider raising more next year to sell. I’m not sure how it’ll go. I don’t have the best experiences with turkeys.
First, when I was a small child I broke my foot while in Omaha, NE visiting family. After the break, I went back to my grandparents farm in South Dakota (outside of Lennox) to spend the rest of my summer with my dad. My mom left stict rules that I was still to go outside and get exercise despite being on crutches, so I was given the task of getting the mail. Down the ½ mile long driveway. Thanks, Mom. So one day I’m hobbling along to the mailbox when I hear something moving between two trees. No big deal, it’s a farm. Except then two giant turkeys came out of the trees and THEY WERE NOT NICE. They started chasing me! On crutches! Who/what does that?! Anyway, not a fan. My second encounter really enforced the first one, but it’s not nearly as entertaining.
Anyway, back to raising turkeys. The most popular breeds are various broad breasted turkeys. As the name indicates, they develop very large breasts. The problem with that is if you don’t slaughter them in a timely manner, they end up dying because they either can’t breathe, or they can’t walk. Yay, Thanksgiving! When planning for turkeys, I had the intention of raising heritage breeds just like I do the chickens, but I ended up with three white broad breasted turkeys. I did a lot of research online and spoke to some folks who raised them both for meat and for pets. As long as you feed them a regular diet, and an unlimited amount of food 24/7, they can grow and a more normal rate. One of the gals I talked to had hers for three years!
On to the turkeys, I’m raising one for a friend, once will be for us for Thanksgiving, and the third will either go to the freezer, or be sold to a customer. After that, Jason and I will decide if we think turkeys have a place at Lennox Hill.
The turkeys will be fed Scratch and Peck the same as the chickens. I'm trying to find a store nearby that has the specialized turkey formula, but in the mean time, they're getting SNP chicken starter and a whole bunch of grubs for additional protein. Once they're older, they'll also get organic juice scraps and garden scraps.