After passing on raising turkeys in 2009 for a number of reasons including not being able to get the little poults when we needed them, there are now 40 little Bourbon Reds running around in the brooder!
The Graham Post office called at 6:15 yesterday morning telling us that the birds had arrived. We always let them know a day or two in advance that we are expecting them and to call us as soon as they come in. We don’t want them sitting on some loading dock or in the postwoman’s car all day, after all they already have been in transit from Texas for almost two days.
Off I go to retrieve the little chirpers and have them installed in the freshly cleaned and prepared brooder by 7:30. All “working” birds, that are bought mail order, are hatched and immediately put in a box and shipped. These guys (and girls) were hatched at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, left Lubbock Texas at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, arrived in Greensboro at 7:00 p.m. and then trucked to Graham on Thursday morning. The reason this can happen is they have enough nutrients inside them from the yolk of their own egg to last them a few days.
One by one, we immediately dip each ones beak in water and then drop them into a feed tray so they know where the good stuff is. The learning process for these birds, without mothers to guide them, is to introduce them to all things new, slowly, so they get the hang of it and then once they have been exposed the first time they are off and running. We are their mothers in essence.
Now they will stay in the warm, secure brooder for 3 weeks while they grow stronger and become fully feathered. The 4th week we will begin to let them out during the day to get used to eating grass and bugs and what will be their new home. Sometime during their 5th week they will graduate out to the field for the rest of the season. Look for more stories to come and a dedicated Turkey info page for everything you ever wanted to know about the Peregrine Farm Turkey program.