Saturday, October 10, 2009

Turkey Destination

Our turkeys were raised with a distinct purpose. We never intended for them to be pets. They were destined to be freezer birds from birth. Actually before birth. They have a finite number of days on this earth, just like we do, although their date of departure is known. October 9, 2009 was the day. They had a good life. Plenty of space to roam, an unlimited amount of fresh clean water, hormone and antibiotic free grain, green grass and garden clippings to munch, and a nice little house with clean shavings to spend time as they wanted. Not too shabby. Here is the group of sweet birds. We had 3 hens and 5 toms.

We had to work Thursday night so we got up early to put the topper on the truck and added a bag of fresh shavings to keep the birds comfy and cozy overnight. They didn't mind the new digs at all. Ted got up early Friday morning and drove them down to West Gardiner Beef for butchering.

We kept 2 hens and 1 tom in an attempt to overwinter and hopefully raise turkeys in the spring. We have Bronze Turkeys, we think. They were a Blue Seal purchase and we don't think they are the Broad Breasted Bronze breed. Evidently, the Broad Breasted have to be artificially inseminated in order to lay fertilized eggs. They are too big to breed naturally. We are very interested in possibly raising some turkeys next year to sell. We have received 2 different responses from co-workers. The first comes with a facial grimace and an eww.... followed by "how can you kill something you just raised from a baby?" The second is "how much do you want for them?" There are some who get the idea of farm raised in humane and healthy conditions opposed to raised in a small space with no perks. We get it too. We are very fortunate to be able to know what they ate and how they were treated. That is a plus in our book. I think more and more Americans are beginning to get it now. Here is a picture of our remaining flock. Is it a flock of turkeys? A gaggle of turkeys? A herd of turkeys? Not really sure! How can we tell the difference between the Broad Breasted and regular Bronze? So many questions.

This being our first attempt at turkey raising we are very proud of our dressed out birds. We had a 31# a 30#, 28#, and 2-20# birds. I have never seen a 30# turkey before. We had to borrow freezer space from our neighbors. We happily shared a bird with them. When they butcher a cow or pig they always bring over a gift. We appreciate that too. Neighbors are wonderful. Thank you.
We kept the necks, hearts, livers and gizzards. What a difference from our chicken gizzards. This thing was fist size and filled with rocks. They use the rocks to crush the grain for digestion. Turkeys don't have teeth. Thank goodness. I would hate to be chased by a 30+ bird with teeth.
Now that is an eww....
We will be going to Goat School today. They will have cadaver hooves for us to learn how to trim goatie hooves. No lame goaties wanted. We want to take good care of our small herd. I know that goats come in a herd. Don't they? Have a great and productive day. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.


katiegirl said...

Great job on the turkeys!! Those are some nice big birds! And that's a huge gizzard!

And I never understood the "eww" responses from people either. I mean, they buy meat from the grocery store, right? I'd much rather raise my own and know what it ate and how it was treated!

Good luck in goat school! Let us know how it goes!

Lisa T. said...

Great looking birds. Isn't in satisfying stocking the freezer with meat you raised?

Hope you're having fun at goat school! Now we've been to Bee School and Goat School, what's next? Actually the Cooperative Ext. has a compost school, that might be fun--Poop School!


Jodi said...

I agree on your thinking. When we got chickens (all we have for now is 8 chickens), we said we would butcher them before winter. We're enjoying them and their eggs so much, we've decided to attempt to over winter them. But we also have no qualms about having them meet the freezer, if need be. We gave them a good life. And they will sustain ours. :-)

PS - I'm trying to talk my husband into a goat or 2. So far, no luck. Maybe next spring. :-D

Becky said...

I found your blog through my sister, Katiegirl. I'm so glad I have! I love your farm and can't wait to read more posts. I hope to have some land one day (hopefully with my sister and her family) but until then, I make due on my half acre in the suburbs and live vicariously through people like you :)