Looking at seed catalogs AND poultry sites;)

gardengalrn(5KS)November 11, 2008

As the chill of winter is coming on fast, I am looking at seeds, planning gardens, and looking at Ideal and McMurray for poultry. I felt that this year was our "learning" year for chickens and I fell in love. I feel more confident now and am looking forward to expanding my flock. I think I have about the right amount of layers, give or take. I figured 5 or so new layers next year would keep things going at an even keel, barring any major tragedy. I am planning on 20 meat birds and decided on the White Rocks for that purpose. I just didn't have good feelings about the Cornish Xs and this way it isn't a major rush to butcher them all by a certain age. I want to try 2-3 turkeys as well. I had a friend that kept a big old broad-breasted Tom in with the chickens and they all did fine. Was this just luck on her part? I'm prepared to keep them separate but it sure would be easier to mix them. Then, I'm also getting about 20 guineas of mixed variety. This property has almost always had guineas on it from what I understand and many of them met their demise on the road. We are in the "country" but the vehicles travel too fast down the road. I don't want to set them up for failure but I do want to cut the grasshopper and stink bug infestations that we have. So, I'm excited!!!! Has anyone raised their own turkeys for the table and what did you think? Lori

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

When I was a kid, we had an old-time farmer for a neighbor and he allowed his Bronze tom turkey to run with his chickens with never a problem. We ourselves had 5 white turkeys that lived with our chickens during the day (they roosted high on the horse corral fence at night, chickens in the coop) with no problems--but we raised them from poults so they were very tame & calm. They were for meat, and were processed at one year of age--3 females and two males.

I had a female Bronze turkey that we got as an adult a few years back, that blended in seamlessly with our existing flock, she even went into the coop with them at night, although she didn't roost with the chickens. Everything was fine for about a year and a half, until one day when I was out in the yard and witnessed her out of the clear blue, reach over and grab my favorite white cochin hen by the neck and shake her until she was dead--it took about 3 seconds. :( It was over before I even moved, and was an unprovoked attack. We got rid of the turkey after that.

I think the trick is to raise the birds together from babies. Guineas are supposed to be fantastic at bug control. And those turkeys we raised for our table were delicious...although two were so big they didn't fit in my mom's oven, and we had to cook our Thanksgiving dinners two years in a row over at the high school, which was luckily right next door. :) Hurray for small towns!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 5:00PM
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loagiehoagie(S.E. Michigan)

Lori, also check out SandHill Preservation for birds. Small local outfit in Iowa. Good to support the small outfits sometimes.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 10:25AM
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