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Big Changes for Our Turkeys

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Our Jersey Buff

Awhile back, I lamented that we thought our three young turkeys were probably all male. This is our first time with turkeys, so we have no past experience to guide us, plus, there were no distinguishing characteristics amongst our turkeys to compare physical traits and behavior. On top of that, turkeys are slower to mature than chickens, so we had a lot of uncertainty.

Our two Spanish Blacks

Guidance around the internet is vague to not helpful, I suppose because everyone wants to leave room for the exceptions to the rule. Most information is geared toward poults anyway, and after getting the wrong kind of websites in a search for “sexing young adult turkeys,” I decided to turn to Permies to ask for help there. The Permies forums are my go-to place to talk to knowledgeable and experienced people with goals similar to Dan’s and mine.

The consensus amongst turkey wranglers there was that we have three hens! Dan took to Craigslist to see if he could find them a Tom, and the next day brought home this guy. . .

 

 

He’s a Bourbon Red, and was the best choice of the available options. Dan had to drive a ways to fetch him, but he was priced at $60, whereas the available nearby toms were priced between $150 and $300. 

We put him in the turkey yard, so that everyone could become acquainted by sight and smell through the fence. Our ladies were immediately interested.

Becoming acquainted includes us too. Adult animals, especially males, require a lot of respect when handling them. The adage to never turn your back on them is true, even when they know you. YouTube is filled with videos of humans being incredibly stupid with animals: poking, teasing, taunting, daring one another to go in with them, and generally assuming animals are like the goofy characters in cartoons. Everybody laughs when they get a reaction, but that only teaches critters that humans are not trustworthy. And once a bad experience imprints on an animal. it is near impossible to train out of them.

So that’s the newest addition to the homestead. We haven’t seen turkey eggs yet, but our hens are finally coming into mature, and turkey breeding season is just arriving.


Source: https://www.5acresandadream.com/2023/03/big-changes-for-our-turkeys.html


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