Turkeys

It’s Saturday morning.
The roosters are screaming.
Some mornings, I feel like I should be allowed to wake up screaming like they do…
Eh, with my closest neighbour 1/2 mile away, I guess I could.
But let me tell you about our week…

After all that work getting the pressure tank done, we’re still having problems with the well pump coming on too often.
And it turns out it’s because…we have a broken water line from the well to the house.
Joy.
So we’re chasing the local well company to come out for a. and estimate on cost to repair and b. time frame to do it.
But it’s planting season and fuck if anyone is calling us back. 😑
*sigh*

Tuesday I got a message on Instagram from my turkey hatching egg dealer…she was in the biggest city the next day, my big incubator just emptied of hatched chicks, and did I want her to bring me turkey eggs?
Um, let me think…
YES!!!
So after some discussion, we figured out MCFHubby would meet up with her for the exchange.
I was disappointed I didn’t get to visit with her (she really is a cool lady!) but at least we managed to get the egg exchange done, and I now had another 36 Narragansett turkey eggs to put into my incubator.
Yay me!! πŸ™‚

Wednesday morning, I pop the eggs into the incubator, with 5 that my turkey hens laid, for a total of 60 turkey eggs set between the 2 incubators.
I still haven’t cracked one of ours open to make sure the tell tale bulls eye is there, but I *have* watched the boys do their jobs, so I’m going with “horny teenage turkeys” for the win.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Oh and then Thursday…
Fucking Thursday.
So, I’m dozing at 4am, waiting for my turn in the bathroom, when I hear repeated beeps from the small incubator.
I’m not terribly worried because Miss Daisy Mae loves to sit there and sometimes she knocks the cord and it beeps as she does it.
But then, I realize, I have 3/3 cats in bed with me.
Hmmmm…
So I get up and I see the lights flashing on the incubator.
And the fucking cord is hot, hot, hot…oh and it’s smoking! And there’s a bulge in the cord where there shouldn’t be one…
Shit!
Clearly, this cord is fucked.
So we scramble (at 4am) to find a replacement in the house…because doesn’t *everybody* have a million and 2 extra ac power cords lying about?
No deal. Nothing that will work.
But we find that if the power pack (big rectangle in the middle of the cord) has a fan on it, it cools off enough to keep it running…okay, but this can’t be the answer for another 3 weeks, so Hubby heads off to work and I make a list of places to call to find a new incubator.
Fuck.

After some run around, a lot of coffee, and a break down or two…seriously, want to see a grown woman sob uncontrollably? Let her see smoke coming off her incubator at 4am when she can’t do shit all about it…but, I found an incubator and a set of turners at the local Peavey Mart (for y’all in the US, think Canadian version of Tractor Supply).
I texted Hubby, who then left work to go and get it.
I’m telling you, incubators are in short supply this year!
More and more people are turning to hatching out chicks than ever.
A lot of them are not so sure about what to do with the roosters they hatch but that’s a whole different discussion.
Y’all know we eat any extras here.
Some folks can’t wrap their heads around that tho…

So the great thing about this new incubator is, with the turner, it holds 41 eggs.
And it has windows!!
No more fighting the urge to peek in and see what’s going on.
Just look in the windows!
😍
I had 19 turkey eggs in the small incubator, that were at 1 week development.
Turkey eggs take 28 days.
Chicken eggs take 21 days.
See where I’m going here?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Once we got the new one set up, and the turkey eggs were in, I just had to fill it with chicken eggs.
Because they will hatch around the same time.
So I get an extra 22 chicks (potentially).
And now I have the capacity to hatch 97 chicks at a time.
So.
Many.
Birds!
But, we’re gonna eat goooooood this winter. πŸ˜‰
And I figure I can run 2 more hatches this year, before it gets too late for chicks.

Oh, and that small incubator?
Totally fucked.
The entire digital panel is malfunctioning.
But the thing is, I only paid $115 for it, and this was our 3rd season using it. It has, over it’s life time, ran continually for just about 13 months…and I’ve hatched many, many chicks out of it. It has *more* than paid for itself!
But this also tells me that I need to make sure I have money set aside for when the big one goes…it’s from the same place, and we’re on our 2nd season with it.
It may last longer, it may not.
But I need to be prepared for whatever happens.

As for the current turkeys…
Whites are growing wonderfully.
They’re only 4 weeks old but fully feathered and almost ready for an outdoor yard.
My remaining 5 Narragansett kids are doing wonderfully too.
I have at least 2 hens, one is another little auburn girl who is soooo pretty!
And she loves to perch on my arm.
I kinda hope she continues that habit. ❀

And then there’s my EmmaBird from last year’s hatch…

Emma is my auburn hen from last year’s hatch.

That box she’s in is my hay baling box.
She’s decided that’s her get away from the boys.
I think she’s considering going broody.
She can’t have that box though, so Hubby is working on building a couple smaller ones that we can put into the turkey yard, because broody turkeys is just fine with me.
And ain’t she just a lovely girl?
While turkeys may not be the brightest of birds, they are endearing (and tasty), and Miss Emma is one of my favorites.

Meat Chickens Have Arrived

Back when Hubby, The Kid and I were thinking about how many meat chickens to order, we thought we’d settled on 50, like last year.
And then, something picked at me and told me that wasn’t enough.
I’ve been alive long enough to have learned to listen when my gut says something to me.
So I ordered 75 of the little nuggets.
And 10 white turkeys.

I figured with the success of our Narragansetts from last year, I oughta be able to get 10 whites to Freezer Camp size.
I sure the eff hope so, because things have not been going well with my Narragansetts I hatched this year.
My excitement over 16?
Dashed, because we’re down to 5…and may very well lose them as well.
Fuck.

Y’see, turkeys are very delicate.
Yep, even heritage breeds. Even though the heritage breeds are tougher than the whites, they’re still delicate little things.
As we were awaiting hatching, we evicted the ducks from the brooder, gave it a deep cleaning, sprayed it down with cleaner, thinking we were good to go with our poults.
Welp, as it turns out, there was mold starting in the floor.
I say again…fuck.

Turkeys are susceptible to mold.
Even when us humans don’t know it’s there, have no fucking clue it’s there…turkeys will be doing great, bopping around like crazy birbs, eating, drinking, pooping beautiful turkey poops…and then just drop dead.
Because their little lungs are that effing delicate.

So after the loss of 6 we thought “huh, this is more than just weak poults not making it”.
Hubby and The Kid whipped off another brooder like the last one I showed y’all…metal floor for ease of cleaning, fresh new walls, lid that’s easy to lift for air movement and a door for easy access that doesn’t let heat out…
Then, The Kid and I put fresh straw in, and I crawled into the old brooder to catch our remaining poults.
That’s when I found the mold…under the straw, the wood was wet. And there were small fuzzy spots.
Fuck.

Now we have the last 5 in the newly built brooder, nothing is in the old brooder until it gets torn apart and maybe refurbished…but it might just be scrap now.
Fuck.
I mean, we can’t really complain about it, if we have to scrap it.
The brooder was here when we bought the place, it’s successfully raised near onto 500 hundred birds…but I hate that I found out this way that there was a problem with it.
I hate that it’s costing little lives.
πŸ˜₯
That’s what kills me.

If you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see the size of the white turkeys, compared to my Narragansetts.
The whites are a day old in the picture, the heritage birds over a week!
They’re all getting along beautifully.
I’m actually hoping that the whites will give the heritages enough impetus to keep fighting to stay alive.
There’s really no treatment for mold exposure.
Fuck.
But I’ve got them on high protein feed, clean water with vitamins, a bit of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar twice a day, clean fresh bedding every other day, and today they got some mashed up hard boiled eggs with the vitamins mixed in.
I’m trying my best to make the best of a shitty situation.
While hoping that my turkey hens start laying soon…because goodness knows, the boys are doing their jobs.
The very second I see eggs from the hens, I’m whisking them off to be incubated!

I’m going to bet dollars to donuts, that the second my incubators are full and working on chickens again, that’s when those turkeys will start popping out eggs…and then I’ll end up having to buy a 3rd incubator just for turkey eggs.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Because that’s my life…chaotic, crazy, and always learning.