Monday, May 17, 2010

Turkey Love

After reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", we decided to start our own turkey breeding program.

Actually, we decided it just before we reached the end of the book.

If only we'd have waited until the end. What a difference that would've made.

We decided to get Bourbon Red heritage turkeys. Our second choice was Narragansett's, followed by Royal Palms. When I inquired of the chance of getting the Bourbon's, the people at the feed store told me that they had already ordered and those didn't make the list. So we went with choice #2. Then we waited 2 weeks for their arrival.

Guess what didn't come? Not one single Narragansett turkey. Disappointed, I asked, "Well, what do you have?" The girl on the other end of the phone replied, rather sullenly I might add, "They sent us some Bourbon's instead."

Needless to say, I arrived at the feed store exactly 20 minutes later. (I am pretty sure there were some laws broken. People should not drive under the influence of baby turkey love!) We wanted 6, and that is exactly what the feed store had.

Some would say, "Lucky you."

But, I actually finished the book.

Apparently, turkey's do not naturally breed, which is important for a breeding program. They need someone (*cough*...the farmer) to set the mood.

Ummmm...excuse me?

Yes, I have to set the mood. The only thing I know about turkey love is "whiskey makes him frisky" and "brandy makes him dandy". Alcohol lets down the males inhibitions. Well, duh. Do I also supply the cigarettes for after? What about mood music? Do turkeys prefer a little jazz, or maybe some reggae with a little beat? (Bob Marley anyone?) Or should I just park an old junker car up at the coop and let teenage hormones take over?

All I know is...this farming business is going to be tougher than I originally thought.

See that turkey pulling on the Aracauna's foot? I put him in time-out for that one.

The turkeys and chickens are now separated for not playing nice.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy their childhood a bit longer.


Millie said...

How exciting. I read in the Encyclopedia of Country Living about how to do AI on turkeys. That sealed the deal that I won't be ever getting broad breasted turkeys with the plans of breeding. Breeds like Narragansett's can breed without AI which is good. For this year though, I'll be sticking with chickens and ducks. I don't want to have to add 'whiskey' to the feed bill :-)

krauterhaus said...

Great post! You gave me a belly ache and made me cry. In a good way.

Ebenezer Forest Farm said...


I raise turkeys and have heard that Heritage Turkeys can breed on their own. Are yours Heritage? I’ve always done Bronze Breasted, but I think I’m going to switch over to the Heritage ones.