No, it's not a recipe. It's nine turkey poults hatched by a very smart slate mama turkey who decided to hide her nest in the barn. It's been years since one of our turkeys did this, which is why we decided to try hatching eggs in the incubator this year. Usually they make nests all over the woods and pasture, and they wind up being eaten by coyotes. But this smart mama made her nest in the barn. We never saw it until yesterday when Mike discovered the mama and her babies. They look like all purebred slates and lavenders, which is even more exciting because they're a rare breed. The slate mama and the lavender tom live in the chicken house, but they're perfectly free to fly over the fence and mate with the turkeys that live in the middle pasture.
What's a slate and lavender? A lavender has two blue genes, and a slate has a blue gene and a black gene. The mama is a slate because she has black spots. Our tom has no black spots. If you breed two slates, you will get 25% solid black (2 black genes), 25% lavender (2 blue genes), and 50% slate (1 black and 1 blue gene). You can imagine my surprise when we hatched our first slate turkeys and saw black poults popping out of the eggs! So, if you don't want any black turkeys, you need to have a lavender tom, since he has no black genes to pass on to the babies. Half of these will be slate and half will be lavender, since the hen can pass on a black or blue gene, but the gobbler can only pass on a blue gene. (Note: some people call the lavenders "self-blue," so you may also see this term when referring to a turkey with two blue genes.)
When we ordered slate turkeys from hatcheries, the lavender ones didn't seem to be the healthiest, so it will be interesting to see if these are healthier since they have not had the added stress of being shipped at a day old. Typically, we have 100% survival of home-hatched poults.
Our five incubator poults are doing great. They're chirping in their box behind me. We need to get a stall cleaned out in the barn, so we can move them out there, where they'll live under a heat lamp until they're feathered out and can go outside.