Turkey Take #2 and Take #3

My husband and children say that I'm stubborn! I always reply that their statement isn't true! I'm not stubborn- I'm just convicted!

So I stated in my previous post that my goal for the ranch this year was to raise turkeys. I was convicted, and the decimation of my first flock of turkeys by the raccoons did not unconvict (spellcheck really doesn't like that word) me. I called our favorite hatchery, and made another order for heritage poults. The new poults arrived the following week.

This time, we installed the brooder in the new 'freezer' room off the carport. We were not going to make it easy for the raccoons! We were bound and determined to meet our goal and defeat the evil raccoons!

We feed the poults and watched them grow. Several weeks went by, and I received a call from my husband while I was out of town, "We have to move the turkeys out of the brooder- they are getting too big. You need to finish that turkey tractor when you get back to the ranch!". Guess I knew what I was going to be doing the next few days!

A turkey tractor is a moveable pen/cage that will house and protect the turkeys while also allowing them access to fresh grass/pasture and bugs. We move the tractor as often as needed so as not to allow the turkeys to eat down the grass to the ground- optimal is that they only eat the top third of the grass blade.

Turkey tractor design #1

Turkey tractor design #1

turkeys in tractor.jpg

I had thought of a light weight design for the new tractor using PVS pipe. I had an overall design in mind, and figured it out as I built it. The tractor was completed, and we transferred the poults from the brooder into the tractor on the grass. We surrounded the tractor with an electrical netting fence as an additional deterrant to possible predators.

Just as the poults went into the tractor, I got whooping cough and has a terrible time with the coughing fits. I remember very vividly going out the third morning the poults were in the tractor, after not having slept much due to the coughing fits and dragging myself out to let them out of their tractor to enjoy their paddock. My head was down, my eyes just looking ahead as I took each step. I walked through the electrical netting fence opening, and walked up to the tractor door. As I went to open the door, I noticed that there was no activity inside the tractor. As I focused, in my sleep deprived state, I noticed that there were in fact poults in the tractor. They were not alive. I remember standing there in complete befuddlement.

I walked over to the hens, and they were all ok. I walked back to the poults, and there was no sign of life. My brain was processing things very slowly, but when it finally did process that we had lost all of our poults, I got angry! Very angry! Very, very, angry! In between the coughing fits.

I still have no idea how the poults died. I can only assume that the raccoons were able to lift our PVC (lightweight) tractor and do his/her business with our poults. The conclusion we reached, again, was that raccoons are evil!

Remember, I'm convicted.

One less raccoon on the ranch!

One less raccoon on the ranch!

I called the hatchery to order more poults, but alas, they were all sold out. I tried all the other hatcheries I knew and found on Google, but they were also all sold out. Finally, when I had almost come to the conclusion that I might have to defer my goal of raising turkeys in 2016, I found an equally convicted felllow rancher, who felt my plight, and was willing to part with a few of his poults so that I could follow through with my conviction. I ended up purchasing 5broad breasted white and 5 broad breasted bronze from this generous rancher, and I am proud to state that all have been kept alive with the help of 24/7 talk show radio, solar red blinking lights, traps and a fiercely protective guardian dog, and will be processed into a delicious turkey for our and your holiday enjoyment!

turkeys on grass.jpg

Ranching life is exciting! There's always something going on!

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