Remember these little guys?
They are the chicks we got back in July.
Remember how I told you this one was a boy?
And this one was a girl?
Well, I kinda sorta got them mixed up.
The darker chicks and the ones with stripes turned out to be girls.
While the cute fluffy yellow ones turned white and started growing spurs.
These boys don’t know it, but they’re in “The Bachelor”. Only two of them will get to stay with the girls and live long and happy lives, and they will be the two that we decide have the best combination of looks, smarts, and minimal-tendencies-to-attack-little-girls.
I guess it’s not quite like The Bachelor (not that I’ve even watched a show) cause the ones who get voted out don’t get to go home. They get et.
We got this flock of dual-purpose chickens to replace our layers, of which there are only 4 left, and to supply us with meat for our freezer, as well as the freezers of a few people with discriminating palates who prefer local, raised-in-the-sunshine chicken to nasty, pulpy, tasteless cardboard that masquerades as chicken at the grocery store. Oh, you buy your chicken already cooked from Costco? I used to do that too until I tasted our first homegrown chicken. There’s no comparison.
The lucky bachelors (who will need names) will be responsible for keeping the girls safe while they’re roaming for bugs, and for fertilizing the eggs. We are going to build a little incubator and grow one or two batches of chicks every year to supply us with meat and to replace any layers that aren’t laying. We’ll probably have extra layers to sell too.
So that’s our Chicken Plan.
Remember how I told you we only have 4 layers left? Well, we had to move the new chickens into the coop so we could use their pen for the turkeys, so these 4 got booted out of the coop, along with the duck. I made the layers a nest box and stuck it in a sheltered spot and they use it! I still get a couple of eggs a day from them.
The duck, whose name is Clyde but is usually called Ducky, hangs out with the layers, scratching for bugs and waddling around the yard. Sometimes he curls up outside the chicken run where he used to live and stares longingly at his old pond. I supposed we could move it out for him, but he dirties it up so fast I have to clean it out every day or two.
We don’t have a Duck Plan. Possibly because we only have one duck since Bonnie disappeared one day. Maybe next year we’ll get a couple more. They’re fun to have around.
Remember these guys?
Now they look like this.
Not so cute.
They resemble vultures.
They were stuck in their box on the porch until last week when we finally got the chicken coop cleaned out so we could move the new chickens in and clean the portable pen they were in so we could raise it up on legs and put the turkeys in it. Phew.
This is Darryl building the support structure.
The turkeys need to be kept away from anywhere the chickens have been cause the chickens can carry a disease that kills turkeys and there’s no way of knowing if our chickens have ever been carriers. Keeping them off the ground is the easiest way.
This was the weather about 10 minutes later.
This is why it took so long to get the turkeys off the porch.
Darryl would finally have time after work while it was still light out to work on it, and it would rain.
Well, a couple three weeks later, we were on the home stretch. The cage was installed and patched, a door was built into the side and a temporary plywood roof was on top in case it rained.
It was 9:00pm.
It was dark.
Darryl wasn’t waiting any longer so we moved the crowded turkeys over one by one.
They were sure happy looking birds the next morning when I could actually see them.
Darryl has since replaced the plywood roof with a slanted, tarp-covered roof so it sheds water better. The tarp also covers the back and one side of the cage.
I think the turkeys have grown quite a bit since they moved, and that was only last week.
They gobble when there’s strange sounds or objects nearby and the boys strut when new people come to see them.
They are Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys, known for their excellent taste…in who-knows-what. I’m sure they’ll taste great too.
We might keep a breeding pair so we don’t have to buy chicks again. If we do that I think we’d take our chances and build them a pen on the ground so we can use this one for broilers or more turkey chicks.
We’re planning to eat two of them and sell the rest (except for the two we keep). There’s ten altogether.
And that is our Turkey Plan.
One day I might be able to tell you about our cow plan, but so far it’s just a dream and some number crunches (which make it seem quite lucrative).
Here’s to Homegrown Anything!