A Suburban Farm of 6th Happiness.

Turkeys

The page below is about our turkeys which we got in 2010, and kept for a few years.  We decided that turkeys just didn’t work for us, and the pair of Royal Palms that we had were rehomed.


I decided to keep a few turkeys because my family insists on turkey for the holidays.  Originally I was going to order Bourbon red hatching eggs because ordering poults from a hatchery was not suburban ‘friendly’ (they often had minimums of 15 or 20… waaaay too many turkeys for our teeny-tiny suburban farm).

Then a twist of fate brought us together with a Royal Palm and Mottleds.  Please meet Charles and Anastasia.  These two will remain with us as pets and all others, and their offspring (until it comes time that we need new breeders) will be future guests of honour for holiday dinners.

Pet Turkeys (Royal Palm and Mottled Black)They each have their own unique personalities…. Annie is definitely the calmer and braver of the two, but Charles is actually more curious.   When we first got them home, and I had some things to get set up first still, I left them in the garage for a few minutes.  When I returned, it took a while to find them…. in the rafters. Ooops!

turkeys in the raftersOnce down, they each got one wing clipped.  Heritage turkey breeds are pretty good fliers, but we don’t want them pestering the neighbours!   although clipped, they can still jump/flutter up a few feet- enough so they can roost on low perches, and get over short fences, but they won’t get over the 5 ft fences around the property.

Since they cannot fly away from predators now, they, like our chickens, are brought indoors at night time (and in bad weather).  During the day, they free range in the yard, and will be under the watchful eye of Mikołaj, our livestock guardian dog.

I knew from internet photos that Royal Palms were beautiful birds, but I had to see the Mottleds in person to appreciate them.  These predominately black birds have splashes of white, but also patches of subtle dark patterns- sort of like Narragansett pattern showing through (which makes sense as that breed was used in the creation of the Mottled breed).  Some of their feathers resemble those of the immature Bald Eagle, and thus make excellent substitutes for Native American style craft projects.  And of course, the Palm’s feathers are just stunning!  My wife’s physical therapist was over today and saw me bringing Charles inside from their free ranging, and immediately inquired after any shed feathers.

Turkey eggs can also be eaten, just like chicken eggs.

Update: At our new home, Anastasia sadly passed away when our neighbor’s fence fell on her, under the weight of their curious dog.   They still haven’t fixed it, so I patched it myself and am installing our own fence in a couple weeks.  Poor Charles stayed by her trying to wake her, and later hung around her grave.  He’s since moved on, and adopted the hen chickens as his own, but I would like to eventually find him another hen turkey.

Update 2: We did find a female palm for Charles!

Update 3: We tried to add some slate turkeys to our flock.   We split an order with others in the area and got 3 poults (baby turkeys) from Cackle Hatchery.  Unfortunately, all of them died within the week.  This is what they looked like after arriving- they were no bigger than standard chicken chicks.

tags: Turkeys