Thursday, August 26, 2010

We lost a turkey today! So now there are 15!

Well it's week 4 and the birds look like miniature turkeys. When larger animals come around they puff up their chests, and fan out their tails to make them selves appear larger. We moved them into the large dog kennel and this way they can be moved to various locations for fresh ranging through out the property. When we came home today and checked on them it appears a varmit has made a whole and eaten one. Nothing left but feathers of turkey 16. Raccoon during the day? Maybe, not sure! We are putting up a motion detector with floods and hopefully at night that wil scare any predators off.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Here they are on the porch for the night. They seem ready to start roosting. We placed several pieces of wood for them to climb up on.

Sunday afternoon we drove out to the orchard to get apples and peaches for canning. On the way back we saw several small wild turkeys. The mother was giving what looked like flying lessons. The wild turkeys flew directly in front of us and then up into trees along side the road. So it appears we will need to both trim the flight feathers and cover their pen when they are ready, in couple more weeks, to be moved into the large out door pens. As you can see the gentle fuzz of their coats has turned to feathers.

Turkey pullets are much like baby chicks in appearance. But with in a week that changes as the neck begins to elongate and the feathers arrive. In the first week our primary concern was keeping them warm and protected from predators. The raccoon population is quite prolific and they seem to be capable of planning and using tools to achieve their goals, of getting into anything that they want. So for the first 3 weeks we kept them in a dog cage inside our screened porch. They cry like babies when they run out of food or water or are frightened. So when they were mature enough to move from such a enclosed environment, it could not have come soon enough. The chirping at night was driving us nuts. As long as they were dry, fed, warm, and in the dark they were quiet. But if we went out to get in the hot tub or doors slammed they were up and squawking.

At one month now they spend most of the day in the yard in two dog pens hooked together. There they can get to some grassy areas and eat bugs. This cuts down on the need for feed and reduces the amount of cleaning up after them, that we have to do. At night we move them into a single pen and back up onto a covered porch area. Yesterday it rained a lot and there were many back and forth trips. Today it is sunny and they are loving it out in the yard. They still need a bit of shade and so as the sun moves we move them . We've placed some cover over the top of the pens so they can get some protection from the sun if they are too warm.
Since turkeys are not the brightest we've hung the water container on a coated flexible piece of wire from the top of the cage to keep them from walking into the tray and pooping in it.