Thursday, March 10, 2016

Turkey thoughts.changing coops.

Today the turkey has a lot of our attention. Not because she's doing poorly, quite the contrary, she's doing very well. We're very happy to have her around as well, as I think she has a lot to do with our poultry being unmolested. Just after dawn, and before full dark she hangs out on top of the chicken coop to insure the chickens are safe. As folks have mentioned, a lot of predators go off the height rule. Turkeys in addition to being powerful birds, show up as "big" to foxes and probably are very discouraging to them. It's a very nice thing to have.
The other reason she's in our focus right now is that she's soliciting. Turkeys, even ones that aren't isolated, will incorporate humans into their flock understanding. Apparently even wild turkeys will do this, so this isn't really a surprise. Just a little inconvenient. Right now she's settling for lying on the ground and spreading her wings near by. She makes eyes at me, and makes weird little noises. She was doing this to the Lady of the House yesterday as well, but I guess she decided I'm a more suitable mate. The thing that can get complicated is that turkeys apparently start getting a bit aggressive about wanting to mate with their chosen partners. Even when they don't have the apparatus. The Massachusetts Department of Wildlife recommends carrying a broom for when wild turkeys do this sort of behavior. It's a little awkward to be honest, if for no other reason than it being even harder to walk around without crushing one of the poultry who live between our feet it seems.

We're thinking about how much we want to expand our flock of chickens. With the larger coop that's up on the ridge line, if we are going to move chickens up there we will need more to survive the winter. I've got a bit more renovation to do on the coop to add in nest boxes, and a pop hatch for them to go in and out of other than just the main door. I'm probably going to change the door as well just because it's kinda a cruddy door I built too quickly. Anyhow, I should see how many more chickens we should have to insure the coop stays warm over the winter. What we might do for sanity's sake is pick up chickens at the end of the season in Fall when people are getting rid of chickens instead of getting chicks. The other thing we're considering is seeing if any of our hens go broody, and picking up fertilized eggs. Overall if I remember my measurements correctly we will need to roughly double our living flock by Fall. If we do chicks we'd probably need to get 14 expecting to keep 7 alive between depredation, chicks not being good at surviving, and culling straight run chicks. Straight Run by the way means unsexed chicks. That means %50 roosters, which means %50 of them are meat birds since non laying birds don't stay. We're also going to be deciding whether to pick up turkey eggs, or maybe a tom for company for our hen. We'll keep you all updated as we decide in this strangely warm weather.

1 comment:

  1. Your turkey is quite charming, isn't she? Enjoyed reading about her today. She's a double blessing since she acts as a guard; that's really cool. Warm weather down here today, too. Welcome, Spring!