Emma Birb

Back on August 2nd, I noticed our Emma turkey hen was missing, had been for about 3ish days…and then out of the blue, she popped up out of the former duck yard (which is massively overgrown with weeds).
That’s another one of the shitty things about flooding (aside from all the obvious ones) is that weed seeds come from where ever the water did to establish themselves exactly where you don’t want them…
At least in this case, those giant sumpweed trees (because they really are the size of smaller trees!) have come in handy…but I think I’m gonna burn ’em down this fall.

So I said to the family that I think Emma is broody and has a nest in that yard…Hubby waded into the mess of weeds and, in fact, did find her sitting a nest.
So that was cool.
By that time, she’d been sitting for 3 days. I figured in another 25 or so, we oughta see poults.
And, guess what??
Thursday, 28 days after she’d gone missing she appeared with…

8 poults.
There’s only 7 in the picture because my Kid was cuddling one…baby turkeys are super cute little fuckers, and must be cuddled. 😉

Sure can see that Oscar’s influence on them…Oscar is my auburn tom, Emma is an auburn too…huh, I might be breeding a flock of auburn Narragansetts!
😂😂😂

Now poor 12 and 13 (who are traditional bronze colours) are trying hard af to go broody too.
They really want what Emma has.
But, nope.
Way too late now.
Bad enough that there’s a chicken in the same mess of weeds sitting on a nest of turkey eggs…
I really oughta go in and candle them and see how far along the eggs are.
If they’re not far, I should just take ’em away.
But, poults!
😂😂😂

At least I know that the Oscar Meyer Wiener is doing his job!!

BullsEye!

Our young Sweetgrass turkey hen has been adamant lately that she needs to have turkey time with Dingus, our 2nd breeding tom.
I said to her “No dating ’til you lay eggs”.
So last week she started laying eggs.

First day was supervised.
We moved Dingus into the duck yard where T.D lives.
Caramilk, one of the muscovy drakes took an instant disliking to Dingus and tried to beat him up.
Kinda funny to watch, but not helpful in getting T.D’s eggs fertilized.
So Caramilk got to spend some time in a big dog crate…food, water and a show while he was in (what we call) bird jail.

It takes forever for a successful turkey mating to happen.
The hen has to lay down and accept the tom.
Unlike chickens, where the rooster can ambush a hen and get ‘er done before she’s fully aware of what hit her. 😂😂😂

We watched Dingus dance and drum and tell T.D what an amazing, handsome, wonderful mate he would be for her…we watched her sit and get ready until the last second when he went to climb on, then she’d jump up and run away…then finally, after a good 45 minutes of “the dance”, she sat, he got on, he danced on her, she looked like he was killing her (totally normal), and then they got the deed done.
Like chickens, turkeys mate with a cloacal kiss that, once they get together, takes seconds.
Unlike ducks, who have corkscrew penises and mating takes a fair bit longer.

With 1 clearly sucessful mating done, Caramilk still in bird jail (and clearly outraged that this interloper was chasing *his girlfriend* around…which is something we’ll have to keep an eye on, to make sure Caramilk doesn’t try to mate T.D), we wandered off to do some garden work.
Over the day, there was at least 1 more mating, and T.D laid her egg for the day.
Which meant I could check Sunday’s egg for evidence of fertilization.

Saturday night we put Dingus back with the chicken hens.
And moved him again Sunday for, hopefully, a few more rounds with T.D.
Then we could leave Dingus back at the chicken coop and collect fertile eggs from T.D for a week to incubate.
Hens will hold the tom’s sperm in their oviducts for roughly 3 weeks…so we could hatch out for that long if we wanted. Since I’m not aiming to run a whole bunch of hatches, I’ll only collect 7 eggs (after 7 days of collecting the first ones collected will drop in possibility of hatching).
Next year I’ll collect more, if I like this crossing.

So Sunday I collected T.D’s egg and made sure to mark it as hers.
Yesterday, I cracked it open, hopeful…
Lo and behold!

It’s hard to see in the picture, but *it is there*.
A bullseye around the white dot in the egg.
That means T.D’s egg is fertilized.
YAY!
And now I’m collecting her eggs (stinker didn’t lay one yesterday) so that this weekend coming up, I’ll get them into the incubator and see what our Sweetgrass/Narragansett cross makes in poults.
Fingers crossed for hardy af, super cute, well growing, not overly huge, birbs!!
I’ll keep y’all updated…
😉

Leetle Birbs

The first of the turkeys have hatched.
Out of 24 eggs set in the incubator, we have 10 poults.
But, considering we lost power 3 times in the incubation cycle, I’m happy to have had *anything* hatch.

We did have a few that were well formed but quit in the later stages of incubation.
Sad, but that happens sometimes.
Again, power outages don’t help.

But the 10 that did pop out on their own are hopping and bopping around the brooder, having a grand time being happy little birds…

I set 14 more eggs a while back that are due to hatch after June 6th.
Just because I’m hoping to add more hens to the flock so our boy Dingus can have his own harem.
Then I’ll have 2 Narragansett breeding groups.
That’s the plan, anyways.
We’ll see how that goes.
😂😂😂

First Hatching

This morning I took the turner out of the incubator.
A day later, as usual.
Good thing I got it done first thing this morning, because 2 eggs had already pipped, and now?
This:

First little turkey has emerged!
Pretty excited fr this year’s hatchings.
I have 24 turkey eggs in here, with 13 guinea fowl eggs.
The other incubator has 14 turkeys that I started 2 weeks later.
And that’s the whole of our hatching for this year.
Tho, I still have a ton of birds coming from the hatchery on the 31st….so it’s not like there won’t be a bunch of bebes around.
Still waiting on the ducks to lay, but at least they’re back in their yard, not in my garden.
🙂

3 Weeks

In 3 weeks I’m going to traumatize the turkeys.
Again.
In 3 weeks they’ll get a deep cleaning of their hut (with weekly spot cleanings in between now and then) and deep, fresh straw added.
Then, in 3 weeks, I’ll start collecting eggs for the incubators.
Right now the eggs are being washed and eaten (because yummmmmmmmy!!).

Right now, my brooders that Hubby built me last year are all under snow.
So we’re not ready for itty bitty birbs.
Yet.
But in 3 weeks…
We’ll be closer to getting them ready.
So I’ll set eggs, and in the 4 week time it takes for turkey eggs to hatch, we’ll have those brooders ready for bebes.
Which is good, because at the end of May I have:
10 pekin ducklings
10 lavender orpingtons
10 black giants (regional variant of Jersey Giants)
5 white geese
and
25 white turkeys
to pick up from the feed store.
So yeah…Ima need those brooders.

And by the end of May the muscovies will be laying and hopefully some of the hens will be already sitting nests. If not, then soon.
I can’t wait for aaaaalllll the leetle bebe birbies to be here!
😍😍😍

It *WAS* a Trap!!

I knew it!
I just…knew it.
That nice weather last week was lulling us into a false sense of security.
Mother Nature said “oh, yeah! Go right ahead and plant out your tenders…your tomatoes and peppers and pumpkin starts…I promise, I’ll take care of them!”
And here we are.
Shivering because I’m too damn stubborn to turn the heat back on.
It’s currently +3c with the wind it feels like 0*
So had I planted like I really, really wanted to, my tender plants would be toast.
😂😂😂
Nice try Mother Nature.
But not this year.
I fought myself for a few days and then said “Wolfie, honey…it’s only the 3rd week of May. You are gonna get frost. Be. Patient.”
Well, glad I listened to myself, because, here we are.
Frost last night, frost tonight.
But my carrots, peas, and beets are planted and I’m ready to go on onions, radishes, greens and a few other cool weather crops.
Then I can look towards the warmer days/nights ahead for the plants and the beans and corn.

I am still waiting to hear from the local greenhouse to let me know when I can pick up my plant order from them.
Though, with the cooler temps. I’m happy to let *them* baby my plants a little while longer!

So my food production for today included putting 40 turkey eggs into the incubator.
To go with the 19 I set last week in the small incubator.
The eggs in the small one though, are being split with another farm.
I think mentioned this already, a friend had Sweetgrass turkey hatching eggs, and I set them to hatch. Well, I also had 7 of my Narragansett eggs ready to go in, so all in they went.
Our deal was to split whatever hatched from the Sweetgrass, but I figure the whole set is fair to split.
Since I have extras in the big ‘bator, I have no issues whatsoever counting my 7 Narragansett into the split deal.

My hope is, as always, for an abundant hatch.
Of the eggs in the big incubator, all the hens will stay on for eggs/hatching.
Any boys will have the most excellent of life before going on to Freezer Camp.
I hope that of the ones going to Freezer Camp there will be enough of them to offer a few for sale (after we take care of family and friends).
We still have people interested in well raised, home slaughtered birds, and I would love to have more to offer for sale.
And that’s why hens are staying on…our two toms Oscar and Dingus need more girls (5 hens to 2 toms is not ideal!) and welp, food is not going to get cheaper or easier to get. Especially well cared for, well raised, happy food.
I want to be you #HappyFoodTastesBetter dealer.
😂😂😂

And my other food production thing today was the finding and very much enjoying Les Stroud’s website for his latest project:
Les Stroud’s Wild Harvest

Les had a show years ago called “SurvivorMan”.
He was dropped off in remote locations, just him and his cameras, for 7 days.
And he had very, very limited tools to work with.
I really enjoyed the shows.
Now he’s exploring foraging, hunting and using all that he finds.
I’m telling you, it’s one more piece in the puzzle, foraging is.
So I’ll be binging that for a while.
Testing recipes where I can.
Soaking in the knowledge.
Trying to stay warm for the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, Ruby just wants a nap…

So. Tired.

Can’t say I blame her.
😉
Happy Wednesday y’all!

Skeksies

Turkey poults look like skeksies.

I’m sure I’ve said that before.
But it’s true.
I call their hatching eggs “grow your own skeksies” kits.
Oh, and I juuuuuust happened to have made a deal for 3 dozen more Narragansett hatching eggs.
Nope.
Not addicted to turkeys.
Not at all.

I may, however, have to create my own support group.
I’ll call it Poultry Anonymous.
And we’ll meet on a weekly basis, enjoy wine and pictures of our poultry, and throw middle fingers at the govt, because self-help groups are “allowed” to meet.
Yup, sure sounds like something I would do.
😉

Look at that little face? How can one not be smitten with poults??

We had an impromptu shoot with this little dude yesterday.
The Kid grabbed them out of the brooder and onto the big mirror they went.
Of course it was scary (because everything is scary when you’re a wee little birb in a great big world!) and they called and called and called for their brooder mates…which made the big turkeys wonder what was going on.
It was really cute watching a couple of the hens, everytime this little called.
You could just see their brains go “Baby!! I want Baby!!”
So I said “Hurry up and get to laying eggs, you sillies! Then you can has Babies!”
I don’t think they understood me.
😂😂😂

I love those moments when they look down and see “another bird” so close to them. ❤

And then they poop on the mirror…
😂😂😂

And then, poor little pumpkin just got tired and sat down:

“Oof. Dis hard work. Birbs no want hard work. Just want eggfood”

Hopefully this weekend will be nice enough to grab a couple of the whites out of the brooder and we can get a few shots of them with a Narragansett for size comparison.
All in all though, every one of ’em is cute little birbs.