Monday, July 7, 2008

Turkey Poults!

Me + Mom have just been up to the Turkey farm to see the turkeys!
Young turkeys are called "Poults". These ones were hatched in big incubators in Wednesday, and delivered to the farm on Thursday and there are just over 650.
Already they've had quite a few die, because of "vent pecking" - chicks have a natural instinct and they peck at things which are red (which is why chick feeders and drinkers are red), the vents are red and when they peck at them they get even worse and can pick up infection which can be fatal. At the moment the poults are being kept in brooders, they are big round pens with gas fired heaters in them to keep them warm so that they use their energy to grow and grow feathers. They are round because in square brooders the chicks all try to get to the corners and all pile up, which suffocates and squashes the chicks on the bottom.
There are 4 different breeds (Super Mini, Roly Poly, Wrolstad, Plumpie) of turkeys which will all grow to different sizes so that there will be different weights later on in the year. There are also males and females of the breeds which will result in even more weights - with males being generally bigger and heavier.

They are eating high protein Turkey Crumb at the moment.
It seems strange to think that they will all be eaten at Christmas, and that I will be involved in killing and preparing them. John asked wether I think I'd be able to do it at this stage, but I'm looking forward to learning how it's all done.

In a few weeks time they will be switched onto Growers pellets, and start to be let out into the field next to the shed, and brought back in during the night to protect them from foxes and rats.