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!!

Anatomy of a Turkey Dinner

Since we last talked, things have shifted in the Narragansett breeding program here.
Let’s preface this entire discussion with this…

Tom turkeys are whores.
The best ratio for tom to hen starts at 5 hens to 1 tom.
10 hens is better, because toms are whores.
And if there’s not enough hens for the toms, the hens suffer.

So, here’s where we’re at…

I have 4 toms.
Oscar, my main breeding tom, who is a lovely auburn color.
He’s an asshole. He and I have had several “come to Jesus” meetings, wherein I made it known that *I* an the dominant tom in the yard and I will not put up with shitty behaviour towards the humans.
He has always been respectful of the hens.
Dingus, my second breeding tom, who is the traditional Narragansett colouring.
He’s a good boy with humans, was a good boy on his dates with T.D., and has been good with the hens overall.
Another auburn tom, who is for the dinner table once he fills out.
And Wayne…Wayne is a table bird, but he’s a nice bird with greying in the traditional Narragansett colouring. While he’s pretty, he’s not breeder quality. So Freezer Camp is his destiny.

I had 5 hens.
Yeah.
So ratio is off, but they’ve been in a much bigger space and free ranging for the past few months and all has been well.
Until yesterday.
And that’s where our next turkey dinner was discovered…

So we go off at sundown to put the birds to bed in their coops, and I find StupidShit (a nasty, mean assed hen who will fight anyone, everyone, and their sister/brother) dead in the door way of the main chicken coop.
And Dingus is fighting Wayne and the other auburn, forcing them out of the coop…
We separated the auburn, Wayne and Oscar for the night in another shelter, so we can discuss and figure out what to do with this development.
Toms fighting amongst themselves is understandable.
Killing hens?
That’s a Red Queen offense.
And because of that, we need to be 100% sure of our decision before acting on it.

Over a glass of wine, we rehashed our winter, where we were finding dead turkeys and ducks in the turkey yard…at first we had thought that the weather was getting to them…then we figured out there were issues between Oscar and Dingus (because Dingus went over to the chicken coop and the deaths stopped.)
We assumed it was Oscar killing the other birds due to jealousy, because Oscar is the dominant tom.
But then, Oscar and the rest of the flock ended up in the garage…and we had thought that he was the only tom.
But we discovered that there were 2 others in with him….Wayne and the other auburn.
*We* didn’t know they were toms, but *Oscar* would have.
Huh.
We didn’t think anything of it, we had no deaths of hens, and all did great until we moved them to their outdoor quarters…and they all had access to Dingus again.
And then, last night…
A dead hen, and Dingus aggressively fighting Wayne and the other auburn.
Hmmmm…
So separation ’til this morning.
Once the hutch where the 3 toms was opened, they hopped over back to their chicken yard, where Dingus immediately went at them.
So Dingus was moved to the other yard…and that lasted about a minute before he went back over and started shit…while hens cowered in a corner of the yard.
Uh. Huh.

And so, now Dingus is in bird jail in the garage, and there seems to be calm in the turkey/chicken yard.
Hens are pecking and scratching and eating, Oscar is strutting (he *always* struts), Wayne is in the other yard (by choice it seems, no one put him there and he knows how to get out) and the other auburn is wandering about singing.
It is clear that Dingus is the problem.
And Oscar never was.

Y’all know what that means…

I have to Red Queen Dingus.
He’ll get to stay in jail in the garage until the current heat wave breaks next week, and then off to the freezer he’ll go. I don’t really have room, but I’ll find a way to make him fit.
There’s no room in my yard(s) for a shitty male bird.
Roosters, drakes, toms.
Shitty boys go to the freezer.
It’s a shame I hadn’t figured out *he* was the shitty one sooner…

Turkeys Is Stupid

I know I’ve said it before.
I know I’ll say it again.
Turkeys is stupid.
Now, I tend to love my stupid children…that’s what I call my breeding group…my stupid children.
But every now and then you get one who is either a complete idiot (more so than their flock mates) or a complete asshole.
Idiots can be kept, if they’re not too much trouble.
Assholes?
Welp, those are the ones we eat.

Way back in winter we moved the turkeys to the garage after a particularly bad storm.
Except for Dingus (a tom) and StupidShit (a hen)…those 2 stayed in with the chickens because they were happy there.
Since it’s been much, much nicer, and all the coops are open during daylight hours, StupidShit has decided she must go into the duck yard and pick on T.D.
T.D. is a sweetgrass turkey who never really grew, and who the ducks decided was their turkey…and she seems to be able to speak “duck” so she lives with them, acting like a duck. Hence the name T.D., which is short for…TallDuck.
What can I say.
I’m not terribly inventive when it comes to naming animals.
🤷‍♀️

Anyways, StupidShit (because really, that’s exactly what she is…and she’s not even a nice hen, she’s a nasty shit…where Dingus is a big stupid tom, but sweet as hell and easy to handle, she’s a c**t) decided that she must visit with T.D., which was all well and good until she started picking T.D.’s tail feathers out, causing bleeding.
Yeah, that shit don’t fly with me.

So, StupidShit got corralled and sent to Oscar for…attitude adjustment.
😉
Because Oscar is my dominant tom, and the hens behave for him…or else.
Oh, but the corralling…
I should have grabbed the net, but she’s tried to rip her way out of it before…
So I went into the chicken coop, where she was trying to hide from me, and grabbed her.
Low and behold, that bitch tried going for my face with her talons as I reached for her.
Thankfully, I got my arms up in time to block her, and knocked her on her feathered ass, from which I grabbed her leg and hung her upside down ’til she tired her stupid self out.
Then she got carried, upside down, across the yard to the garage, where Oscar and the ladies had free run of the garage while their hut was getting scraped out.
StupidShit got a fancy green band (just a zip tie) on her leg, and then released.
Well damn if she didn’t try to take her bitchiness out on 13 right away, and Oscar dropped her with a well placed shoulder…😂😂😂
That’s *exactly* what she needed.
And when she tried to get up?
Both Oscar and Emma dropped her again.
Emma is the head hen in Oscar’s group and she, like Oscar, will accept no shit from anyone.
The only ones those 2 defer to are the humans…and even then, I had to *remind* the OscarMayerWeiner who the real boss was.

While we finished cleaning and re-bedding the turkey hut, StupidShit got educated over and over on using her stupid turkey manners. By the time we had to herd them back to the hut, she was a thoroughly deflated hen.
Good.

Once we got back to the house, I had a chance to clean up the presents she gave me…

I’ve got a matching one on the other arm.
Not gonna lie, I was pretty darn happy to see Oscar and Emma discipline her.
Today she seems to have calmed down.
When I went to collect eggs, she just moved to the other side of the hut and stayed as far away from me as she could. And all the other hens were happy to get their morning treats, so it’s not that she’s taken up bullying anyone else.

Now we’ll see if she settles into being a good hen for Oscar.
If so, she’ll get to stay on.
If not?
Welp, I’ll Red Queen her.
😉

Turkeys in the Garage

So my turkey coop disappeared this past weekend.
Not even joking.
It has been taken by the snow.
The 1st blizzard hit us Thursday evening.
Brought us 10 cm blowing in at 70 km from the north.
Then, that settled down, and the blizzard warning ended.
Oh, but Mother Nature wasn’t done.
Friday She decided to toss another blizzard at us…with *another* 10 cms blowing in from the south.
😂😂😂
And Saturday, just for good measure, She gave us another 5cm…blowing, but not at blizzard wind speeds.
So all told, we’ve gotten 25ish cm of snow via blizzards in 3 days.
That’s about 10 inches of snow.
Plus the however many inches that blew in overland.
(I swear, I’m planting as many trees as I can, every single damn place that I can!)
On top of the multiple feet we already have.
😂😂😂

So in between blizzards, we go out to take care of the animals (because that has to happen no matter the weather) and discover the turkey coop is gone.
Hubby gets in there and digs out the first opening he can find, because y’all….my birds were in there and we sure couldn’t leave them!
Then, in he climbs so that he can pass out these stupid birds to us (me and The Kid).
Listen, turkeys is stupid. There’s no sugar coating it.
They are my idiot children.
Fucking Oscar is going to fight Hubby about being passed out this hole…the 40lbs of dominant tom bird trying to fight to *stay in* his coop.
Stupid, stupid, bird.
But we get them, and the ducks in with them, out.
Sadly, we lost The Kid’s one drake, Oreo.
Oreo was a good duck, who was going to make beautiful bebes come spring time with my HomerJ…but alas, Mother Nature said “Nope.”

So now we have the ducks in the duck coop with the rest of the ducks, and fresh straw, with tons of food and water…and a heat light.
They’re good.
But we have to get the stupid birds from one side of the yard to the other, into the garage, as the blizzard like weather is ramping back up. Over drifts here, there, and fucking everywhere.

Now, in better weather, I can shake a pail of feed and my idiot children will follow me everywhere.
But they won’t do that in crazy winds, or when they’re already in trauma mode (because some guy shoved them out a hole they didn’t want to go out of)…we had to carry the damn fools.
So the hens were fairly easy.
Upside down them and carry ’em by their feet.
They don’t like it, and you can’t do it for long because their weight will dislocate legs, but a quick dash (as fast as my little legs would take me over hill and dale) can be done.

Oh but my Oscar Meyer Wiener (because one day, when he’s done making turkey bebes, he’s gonna be a hot dog 😂😂😂)…I had to carry that asshole all cuddled up while he shrieked his turkey rage at being relocated.
He hasn’t gotten over Dingus being taken away and is convinced that we ate Dingus.
We didn’t.
Dingus has 1 turkey hen in the chicken coop with him, because Oscar hates him as much as he loves him.
Simply, Oscar refuses to share hens and beat the crap out of Dingus, so they can’t be in the same pen/coop.

So now, we got the 7 hens and Oscar in the garage in a cage that was supposed to be for bottle lambs next month. I might have to bring bottle lambs inside….sheep don’t smell as bad as birds.
But then, Hubby might make me live outside.
😂😂😂

All I can say now is…
C’mon spring!

Oscar is the auburn tom in the back.

Chick Days

This year my incubators are staying off.
Aside from the odd turkey eggs, that is.
The last few years I ran them constant from February to the end of June.
Hundreds and hundreds of leetle birbs hatched.
This year?
Oh I just can’t do it.
We need to overhaul some coops, and bring in new bloodlines.
I could look for new roosters now, but the coops aren’t set up for a quarantine area, and there’s just too much snow to build something.

Instead, I ordered from the local hatchery some Lavender Orpingtons and some Black Jersey Giants.
Both dual purpose, large sized breeds.
So with 10 of each due to arrive on May 31st (with some white turkeys, a handful of geese, and 10 pekin ducklings) we’ll begin the rebuilding of our egg/meat flock with dual purpose, hardy breeds.

I will say, our flock had been doing great, until the wild and crazy weather patterns bounced all over the place. We couldn’t keep the moisture down in the coop, and that led to respiratory issues, and even with treatment, we still had too many losses. 😦
So yeah…
Coop overhauls will happen this spring, before the leetle birbs arrive, and then we’ll go from there.

Meanwhile, Oscar is a dancing fool for the ladies.

Oscar is in front…our lovely auburn Tom

And I’ve been getting eggs here and there.
We’ll see if any are fertile (next time I have a fried egg sandwich 😂😂😂) and in the beginning of May, if there’s signs of fertility, I’ll set some in the incubator.
If I can get a few more of the Narragansetts hatched out, I would like that.
But I’m not buying hatching eggs for them this year.
Maybe next year, if I can make the deal work with my Hatching Egg Lady. 😉
She also has Lavender Orps and Black Copper Maran chickens, so next year I might splurge and buy a few dozen of those eggs as well, to continually bring in new genetics.
And, like us, her family eats extra roos, so she’s not breeding them to be little birds, but big, hardy dual purpose producers. Like the breeds are supposed to be.

So all of that to say, I’m excited because yesterday I officially ordered our spring chicks.
36 days to spring.
I am ready!
(I hope)

So. Much. Chirping.

On Thursday I took the turners out of the incubator.
I thought it was day 19.
It was actually day 18, so I was on time instead of a day late.
Which was why I was worried when I didn’t hear chirping right away on Thursday evening.
It’s all good though, the birbs are making up for it!
Last night was almost impossible to sleep because of the chirp, chirp, chirping.
Tomorrow we’ll pull the ones that have hatched out and put them in the brooder, and start all over again.

Speaking of brooders, Hubby got one built for me.
Yay!
Check the Farm Instagram on the sidebar…
(I still haven’t figured out WP’s problem with me uploading images, so I’ll be recycling some until I do…and there’s always Instagram for current images.)
Meat birds come in 3 weeks, and when that happens, the current chicks will go into that brooder (and hopefully he’ll have the chance to build a couple more!) and we’ll go from there.

Yesterday I took care of two asshole roosters.
I had kept them back from last years hatches because of their size (big, big boys!) and because they were not showing the mean rooster traits.
I don’t mind so much if roosters are shitty with us humans *IF* they’re good to the hens.
Well, as the winter wound down, these boys started getting shittier and shittier with the girls, to the point where they were holding girls down just to hold them down, while pulling out head feathers.
I ain’t having that.
There’s way too many nice boys out there to put up with that garbage.
And so, they went to the soup pot.
No room in my poultry yard for asshole roos…
**LOTS** of room in my freezer for ’em. 😉
It wasn’t even that there were too many boys (we had before yesterday 7 roos) because I have (even though I claim only 10 😉 ) at least 60 hens out there. So there’s no excuse for shitty rooster behaviour.
Welp, now the girls can be happy because the mean boys are gone…and the girls happily consumed their innards.
😂😂😂
Yeah, anyone who says chickens are vegetarians ain’t never seen the glee in a hen’s eye when she gets the testicle from a shitty rooster.
😂😂😂

I had also planned on send Oscar to Freezer Camp.

But lately he’s taken a shine to Daphne…

Booooop the snooooot!

Daphne is not impressed that this big bird has decided he’s in love with her.
She’s not impressed by his dancing, prancing and turkey songs.
Nope. Not at all.
😂😂😂
Us humans, however, find it funny as hell…and when Oscar is busy trying to woo Daphne he’s not fighting with Dingus.
And Dingus then spends *his* time trying to woo the turkey hens.
So it all works out just fine.
Besides, I have Narragansett turkey eggs in the big incubator…Oscar can stick around until we see exactly what hatches for us there. He might get him a flock of his own hens. Or he might go Camping.
But there’s time to wait and not be hasty about sending him to Camp.

13

In the beginning of July, I purchased 24 turkey hatching eggs.
With a whole lot of hope, I brought them home and set them into the incubator. 27 days later, we started to hear the tell tale chirps and scrabbling around of hatching poults.
We were very excited!!

Then on the 29th day, we opened the incubator to find 13 poults.
Oh, but one had it’s tiny wing somehow caught between the plastic grating and the edge of the incubator!
With a whole lot of patience, I managed to free that little wing.
But that wee poult was having trouble standing.
We think in it’s attempt to free it’s wing, it may have wrenched a leg.
So I picked up this little poult and cuddled it close to me, while the other 12 were whisked off to the brooder and placed under a heat lamp with food and water.

I held this little one for a while, whilst using The Google to see if there was a way we could fix the legs.
It’s wing tip seemed fine, once they were able to get it back against their body.

What I found was that most birds can do okay if you can keep their legs together.
Okay then…I found a small twist tie and made a hobble of sorts…with help from The Kid, because that poor turkey poult panicked everytime I moved them onto their back!
And then, we found a small dish for food and water and a box to put them in, then tucked them in under the light in the brooder with the other 12.

It really was a hail Mary sorta thing, because I didn’t know if they were ever going to be able to use that leg, but I felt like I had to try to help out.
Even being raised as a potential food animal, they deserved the chance at a good life.
Being that they were the 13th poult, they were given the name 13.
And y’know, once you name them…
lol
The urge to make the birb all better was heckin’ strong once a name was bestowed.

It became clear, fast, that this wee twist tie was precisely what 13 needed!
Within a day, there was weight bearing on the leg.
By the end of the 2nd, 13 was full on hopping from one side of the box to the other.
And singing.
Oh turkey songs are the sweetest of the birb songs!
I love having them around just for their songs.

Then came the day I took off the twist tie and set 13 down to see what happened…
Up came those little wings, that fluttered so hard and out of the box leapt 13 to join their 12 hatchmates!

And this is our lovely 13 now…

13 the Turkey

I had told The Other 2 that no matter what, 13 stayed.
If they were a tom, but not breeder potential, we’d have to build a separate pen.
If they were a hen, hopefully she’d be breeding potential, but if not, she’d get to have her own space and we’d have turkey eggs to eat.

Well, as it turns out, 13 is a hen, and she’s a lovely hen who is absolutely (IMO) a good foundation breeding hen.
She’s tough, having survived her early days after hatching.
She’s pretty…I mean, just look at her!
She’s friendly. Because she was handled so much after hatch, she likes to be handled, and does like to cuddle (on her terms of course…;) )
She take no guff from the boys. Which is a good thing. Boys must behave or else. 😉

And poor Oscar…he’s so smitten and she just isn’t interested.
lol!
Probably because right now Oscar isn’t “husband” material.
He’s just a horny teenager tom who wants to get it on with any hen.
Even those duck hens.

13 is more interested in Dingus, the other tom we kept for breeding.
Dingus isn’t quite the horny boy Oscar is, so they’re taking things slow. 😉
We’re looking forward to spring courtings between them though…I do believe they will make for some lovely poults of their own.
🙂