Sunday, June 14, 2009

Turkey Lurky!

The turkeys are now big enough to venture out into a day pen to peck around the grass. A day after letting them out, their behavior began to noticeably shift to being much more turkey-like. What must be young toms have even begun to puff up and strut around like adult males. The pecking order in the flock is also being worked out, sometimes with what is for us an uncomfortable violence. But, as always, Ozark is keeping an eye on things.
Also, coming back from Virginia and North Carolina last week, Jen and I stopped by to visit with Ziggy Forester of Sunrise Farm in Columbia, NC. He raises heritage turkeys (as well as cattle, sheep, and pigs) and had a few Blue Slate poults available that derive from the McMurray Hatchery gene pool. Because we're planning to raise our own turkeys next year, we decided it might be good to go ahead and get a few of these to begin expanding our own gene pool. Once we arrived, though, he also had some (very rare) Chocolate and Naragansett poults, which I just couldn't pass up. We got two of each, and will keep them to breed. But when we tried to release them with the rest of the turkeys, the Slates were having none of that. The new additions were just too new - too Other - and they promptly began harrassing them so much that I had to re-separate them. Now they are in a cage within the brooder on the idea that over a few weeks they'll all get used to each other and can live as one happy flock. Only if we could do the same...

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