Last weekend we decided to move the Turkeys to a new address on the farm, The backstory leading up to this decision to move them, starts with a decision to raise a few turkeys for our family freezer or table. We ended up with only two, who then developed into a beautiful Hen and Tom. We didn’t intend to get attached. They were kept in a different pen than the ducks and chickens who are kept for eggs. We tried not to notice how friendly and calm they were. We really tried to think of how delicious they would be on our table. We even told our family that this would lead to our Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece.
But, as time drew close and decision time drew near, we couldn’t do it. Gus and Greta Turkey had crossed that line and become part of the family. I placed my order for a free range turkey for Thanksgiving.
So, now the dilemma was what to do with Gus and Greta. You see, they had outgrown their pen which would have been the perfect size had they lived our their initial life expectancy and become dinner. A lot of options were discussed. Fortunately we have plenty of space. Unfortunately we do not have a lot of time. Building a new building at this time was not going to happen. But, the Ducks had recently taken up residence in the new Duck Home. It is spacious, low to the ground, and includes a covered pen. Plenty of room for two gentle turkeys to join the Ducks. And the Turkeys packed up their feed bowl and water fount and moved across the street (ok not really a street, just a path between the coops) and moved in with the Ducks. The Turkeys moved in and the Ducks ran into the house and refused to come out. I guess we are thankful that there was no aggression. Although, I didn’t expect any. Both groups are extremely gentle. But now we had Ducks in the Duck house crowded into a corner and Turkeys standing in their new pen looking confused and lost. No Welcome Wagon, no here’s a cake we baked, welcome to the neighborhood. Nothing.
And to add to the drama, the Turkeys decided they like the end of the pen with the swimming pool. So the Ducks just stayed inside, occasionally looking out longingly at their pool. But not willing to get to know these large newcomers.
By day three, I tried to intervene. I could get the Ducks to leave the house with appropriate treats used as a bribe but as soon as either turkey would so much as look at them, the Ducks would run back inside.
I know we are on the way to complete acceptance. And, at least there was no blood or aggression to deal with. The ducks have resumed laying eggs and peace is returning to their lives. This weekend we are adding another pen to the setup so they can go out either door into a run area. Maybe the Ducks will reclaim the pool and go for a swim!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families. Whatever ends up on your festive table, I hope the most important thing is the love shared and the blessing of being with those you love. If you have an extra chair, consider inviting in a friend or neighbor who may be alone for the holiday. If your experience is anything like ours, you will be happy you did!
The end of this story worked out well for everyone.Just can,t see eating something you have fed and watched grow to be a friend.
It must be hard because we have never been successful at it! Hoping for turkey eggs from the hen so we can justify all that feed that they eat! Farming decisions are never easy. But the rewards of taking care of the animals is worth it for me.
? Sean -N- Sonja ? says
If you do get eggs, you could always hatch poults for immediate sale to help to defray the cost of keeping your turkey birds… if you don’t get too attached to them, too!
I really enjoyed the post because I could soooo empathize with your plight.
Sonja Twombly of Lally Broch Farm
I am hoping we can incubate the turkey eggs if we get any from Greta this spring. I was reading somewhere that turkeys don’t lay eggs until later in their first year. We will see what happens!
thanks for leaving a wonderful comment! – Janet
I was looking for some place that knew if it was okay to feed ducks turkey grower
thank you Irv
Janet Garman says
Irv, I would not want to use turkey grower for my ducks unless I was going to butcher the ducks at market size. The protein is very high in turkey grower feed and the ducks legs and wings might be deformed from it. Also, the high protein is hard on their system, if you are keeping them for eggs or pets
where can i buy some turkeys from?
Janet Garman says
Mary, check your local farm supply store for their availability. It differs from state to state and you local area
Kenneth Fechtler says
Janet I have new chicks now at week three. Would it be safe to introduce hatchling turkeys with the young chicks? I would be getting the turkey from my local Atwoods farm store.
Janet Garman says
Kenneth, I raised ducks and turkeys together and there ended up being aggressive behavior on both sides so I had to separate them. I have not had turkeys and chickens together because of the possibility of blackhead disease. I have read a lot of information about the use of 1/4 teaspoon of copper sulfate in the drinking water to keep the chickens from getting the turkeys sick but I didn’t really want to fool with it. I would do more research before raising them together if I was you.
Kenneth Fechtler says
Thanks. I’ll setting up a separate coop then. Any idea about sexing young turkey? Before I run off to the store. I looked at a chicken site about this nothing absolute for an untrained eye.