Not so very long ago, I wrote about my first week experiences as a new “parent” to turkeys.
My, how they grow.
At almost six weeks, they are feathered, looking like turkeys, and ready to chase bugs in the yard. They are still eating starter feed, but they’ll begin eating grower pellets when the current bag of starter is finished.
These are Broad Breasted White turkeys. Their feathers will only be white.
Broad Breasted Whites are the same type of turkey raised commercially—the kind you find in your grocery store. They are bred specially for the meat market.
We chose this type, for our first venture, because they are familiar to us; they grow quickly, the skin is white, the meat is traditionally juicy and tender. We are raising these birds a bit differently than commercial growers, though—our turkeys have received no medications and are being fed organic feed. They have room to move and are treated with kindness and humor, as well.
For the first six weeks of their life, they lived in an expanding pen in my garage. They were under a heat lamp for about ten days. As the turkeys grew, I gradually raised the lamp, and as they grew feathers, I gradually reduced the amount of heat until they no longer needed it. I discovered that they eat a lot—enough that I really needed to be careful not to over feed them. As a result of eating well, of course, I needed to clean the pen a lot.
I learned that turkeys are friendly and curious. They like to walk on shovels that are being used for pen cleaning. They also like to pull on pant legs and peck at fingernails. Turkey poults like to be right where the action is!
Turkeys roost at night, and like chickens, will use the edge of their pen for roosting. It’s a good idea not to sleep underneath a roosting bird.
At nearly six weeks, the turkeys probably weigh around 5 or 6 pounds each…too big for roosting on the edge of their pen and too big for the garage. Friday night, we lined the bed of the truck with a tarp and took the birds for a ride.
From now until almost Thanksgiving, the turkeys will be living on Kathleen’s farm. There’s a beautiful, new split level coop, with an entry door that latches securely at night. Out the back of the coop a ramp leads to a huge covered yard.
There are inquisitive ponies that live in the pasture next door and rabbits that live up the hill. There’s grass to run through, dirt to dig in and interesting things to find on and under leaves.
They will continue to grow.
We’ll visit them again in another month or so. How much do you think they will weigh by then?