We are often contacted by well-meaning people offering us free animals, but realistically, we are unable to take in every stray that needs a home. Our growth is planned.
Today, we keep about 100 chickens of various ages and breeds.
|Photo from Lally Broch Farm|
(We breed Black Copper Marans, Cochins, and Americaunas.) We have 3 China Buff Geese, which we breed. We keep 18 ducks and breed Mallards and Black Swedish ducklings. We keep a small herd of 13 dairy goats and breed Oberhausli and Lamanchas. We added fiber bunnies this year and will harvest angora fiber. Next year we will focus on developing our skill at producing fiber and add that to our farm before we add cashmere goats in 2015.
Eventually, we decided that we wanted to raise Bourbon Reds.
|Turkey poults on Lally Broch Farm|
First, we wanted to make sure that the turkeys we were raising were able to naturally reproduce, retained their ability to fly, and would grow to a good size. Since we planned on raising our turkeys as naturally as possible, it was important to us that we begin with stock that had not been genetically manipulated through breeding. We also liked the idea of helping to preserve a line of turkey that had been endangered or is still on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy “watch list”. Bourbon Reds are reported to grow to about 30 pounds for Toms and hens grow from 12 to 14 pounds. The Bourbon Red is ranked No. 2 on the Mother Earth News taste scale. We loved that they were reported to be very curious- we like poultry with personality. Since we plan to breed the turkeys and sell poults, it was important for the hens to be good sitters and mothers. Added to all of that was that we liked how they looked the best.
(This is one of the places we found a great comparison list of heritage breeds: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/heritage-turkey-breeds.aspx#ixzz2YD1wiUOQ)
|Photo Credit: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy|
|Turkey Poult–Lally Broch Farm|
When they were ready to move outside, they had a 3 foot square coop to themselves and an attached yard. We’d used this set up for chicks over the years and are used to having to move the yard daily for fresh grass. Ten turkey poults did FAR LESS damage to the grass. It was nearly a week before there was any noticeable wear on it. They do eliminate waste more than chickens, but it is more solid and easy to clean up comparatively.
Their final coop is a 8 foot tall, 4 foot square tower for them to roost in. We will clip flight feathers as a precaution (like we do the mallards) once they are old enough. Their 400 square foot yard is secured from predators by a wire covered 6 foot tall fenced run. We actually have 2 runs available for them, so we can rotate when one is trampled or eaten down.
No. We will enjoy family gatherings that will feature turkey on the menu- just not our turkeys!
|Summer day at Lally Broch Farm|