Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Our Turkeys

Up close and personal....

Well, I have been letting a lot of our friends know about our new turkeys and to the last person, everyone wants to remind me to be sure to bring them in during a rain storm since they are so stupid, they'll drown looking up in the sky totally befuddled as to where the water is coming from. Both Snopes and refute this old wives tale. No more stupid turkey talk. Well, I do think they are not the sharpest tool in the shed, but it's been a week and a half in the rainiest part of the Big Island (200-300" per year) and we have just as many as we started with. SO what does it say about the humans that are willing to believe this?
On to the Photos
The white ones with black spots are the Royal Palm breed, and the smaller (younger by a week) turkeys are the Bourbon Reds. We got these birds because we want to put more meat into or freezer and reduce our food monthly bill and secondly to start a breeding stock that will flood the island with turkeys! Well, not really, but it would be nice to supplement the egg sales from the chickens with the occasional turkey sale for luaus or Thanksgiving. I haven't been able to see any turkey products in the stores with any regularity, but up around Wiamea or Kohala area on the northern end of the island has a feral turkey problem akin to the hog problem else where. Maybe no one here likes turkeys. I guess we'll see.
Since we need  pairs of them for getting the breeding going, we have been watching them and it appears that we have at least three Royal Palm Toms and one Bourbon Red Tom, with the rest being hens. We base this on the fluffing, strutting and chest bumping that the same three do among themselves and the strutting that the lone Red is starting to try. The rest are un-impressed so we figure they are the hens. I have yet to catch them strutting but when I do, I'll post photos here.
You can see that though the chicken layers we have are larger they are just at a year old vs the month and a half that the turkeys are. Yes, the hens are doing the hen-pecking-to-set-the-natural-order-of-things, but very soon, these little turkeys won't be so little and will realize they will be able to rule the roost. The other thing that we have noticed is that except for a very little pecking the hens and Lightning the rooster leave them be. We were a bit worried about the hens bothering them because at $25 a head, these chicks are already more expensive than a full grown bird at the store. Even one or two losses would be a hit. So far, so good. I'll rest easier in a few weeks.
These guys walk around together, they eat and fly short distances to stretch their wings together, and lie down in the sun together. Definitely a pack mentality. They don't go out of their way to avoid the chicken poults, but they do not bother nor pester the 'adolescent' chicks either.
 Next time: Updates on the birds and news about the farm

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