Thursday, November 6, 2008
Naughty goats, good goats; lucky turkeys, unlucky turkeys
This morning I looked out the window and saw an unusually large number of dark-colored turkeys in the middle pasture. Then I realized it was wild turkeys! It usually surprises people to hear that wild turkeys almost never come to visit our turkeys. In fact, this is only the second time in six years that I've seen wild turkeys near our birds. Since I went running out there to get a picture of the wild turkeys, I thought it was only fair that I take pictures of our turkeys, especially since they will be going to the processor tomorrow.
Most of our larger heritage turkeys this year are Spanish blacks. The largest heritage turkey we ever raised was a Spanish black five years ago, and it dressed out at 18 pounds. It's very hard to judge turkey weights because of their feathers, but I'm thinking one of these boys just might weigh that much this year. They sure do seem big! Tomorrow Mike will be taking the turkeys down to Arthur for processing, and I am taking Katherine to the doctor to get the results for her MRI. (I'm thinking it's bad news since they won't tell us over the phone.) I'm a little jealous that Mike will be going to Arthur. Although I don't like getting up at 3 a.m., I do love shopping at the Amish stores -- not the tourist spots, but the stores where the Amish shop. Since they cook at home most of the time, they have the best kitchen equipment for great prices!
This year, we ordered "hatchery's choice" of breeds, so we wound up with a little bit of everything, including broad-breasted turkeys. This is a broad-breasted hen in the front with a gobbler behind her. I love the iridescence of their feathers. I wish I could capture it with my camera, but it just does not come out as beautiful as it is in real life.
We have raised broad-breasted bronze for the past four years for people who wanted large turkeys that were free-range and drug-free, but this is the first time we've ever had broad-breasted whites. This is one big boy, and I'm wondering what he'll weigh! I've already decided his breast meat will be our ground turkey and turkey sausage for this year. He will simply be too big to roast. I'm guessing 36 pounds with about 20 pounds of breast meat. I'll let you know how close I got!
When I was outside, I noticed the naughty goats had gone through the electric fence. I know they think the grass is greener on the other side, but it really is NOT. In fact, there is less grass on the other side! But I suppose they think it's all a conspiracy -- "The humans are trying to keep the best grass from us!"
Luckily, my two finished champions are staying in the pasture where they're safe ... at least for today. Those are the top three strands of six strands of electric, which are about nine inches apart.
And finally, here's my 2-year-old lavender gobbler. He's the proud papa of the eight young turkeys that were hatched on the farm. Two other mama turkeys would have hatched eggs, except the coyotes got them. This past weekend, Mike cut up logs and painted them with waterproofing stuff, so he can get them in the ground as fence posts this next weekend, and hopefully next year, all of the mama turkeys will be able to hatch babies!