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Babies, Babies, Everywhere

October 24th, 2018

Each summer I try to only let one variety of fowl hatch out little ones. This year, I had a turkey mama that hid a nest in the woods until it was too late to break her off. Luckily she wasn’t sitting on very many eggs. She hatched out 6 turkey cutlets, there are four that have survived (two were nabbed by a raccoon one night).

Earlier in the summer we let two different muscovies sit on a few eggs each. We ended up with eight ducklings in two different clutches, they’re almost adults now and the same size as the adult ducks in the flock. Since the turkeys and ducks more than doubled the amount of birds we had in the coop, it seems like there are birds everywhere.

Add to these the 25 chicks that are now miniature chickens and we have quick the flock living in the one of the coops. All these birds are very entertaining and provide fertilizer for the garden, eggs for our table, and entertainment for us.

What new life are you enjoying this summer/fall?


August 10th, 2016

There’s so much cuteness in the bird yard. The turkey cutlets are growing up, but a second brood hatched while I was in Vermont last week. I only let the hen sit on two eggs since I don’t want to be overrun by turkeys this fall! The first clutch of turkeys are starting to become more independent, though they still roost with mom on chilly evenings.
turkey poult
Turkey mama
Mama duck also hatched a dozen littles on Monday. They’re already out and about in the bird yard, catching bugs and eating grass. Ducklings are probably my favorite of all the babies we have here on the farm.
muscovy ducklings (1)
There’s always lots of excitement when little birds hatch out, but it also means that it’s time to think about which of the adult birds need to go. The ducklings will be raised up and sold as adults next spring. The turkeys will be slaughtered this fall for winter eating. The older layers will be slaughtered and will make wonderful stock and soup.

What’s your favorite baby animal?

Friday Favorite: Little Nuggets

July 8th, 2016

It is that season for baby birds. I have turkey cutlets and chicken nuggets running around the garden and mama duck is sitting on a nest of 10 eggs. I’m always trying to figure out just who will be allowed to sit and how many eggs I’ll allow. If you’re not careful you can end up with an army of new birds that need feed and watered.
baby birds 2
baby birds 1
baby birds 3
baby birds 4
Around here, birds hatch their clutches in the coops with the rest of the birds and the little ones are running around outside and among the bird birds from day one. It works out very well, it saves me a ton of time and the mama birds get to do what they want to do. I love that I never have to brood chicks and that I don’t have to worry about integrating new birds. It all just falls into place naturally.

Any little birds, wild or domesticated, in your garden?

Oh Turkey

June 12th, 2014

Well we have three turkey poults – not as many as we’d hoped for – but it’s better than none! The Narragansette tom must have not been up to the task, not one of the six narragansette eggs even got out of the gate. Two of the Wishard Bronze and one of the barnyard mix turkeys hatched. That leave us with three tiny poults.
turkey poults 1
Turkey poults are completely different than ducklings, chicks and guinea keets. They are super laid back, not really active and barely make a sound. I also noticed that they LOVE to eat green things. If I cut up herbs from the yard and put them in their brooder they gobble them up long before they eat any of their other food.
turkey poults 2
These turkeys were supposed to be for Thanksgiving dinner for us and the neighbor. I was also hoping to have an extra hen and tom to keep for breeding, but that might not happen. If all three survive and I have a hen and a tom I’ll keep them and forgo eating one of them for our Thanksgiving celebration. We shall see how things shake out later this fall.
turkey poults 3
As I was watching these little guys yesterday I was thinking about how the circle of life is so vivid when you raise your own food. Even when I purchase turkeys from local farms I didn’t really think about the fact that the poults were hatched from eggs by someone somewhere. There are so many steps involved in getting something like a turkey to our Thanksgiving table. It’s one of those things we often don’t even think about as we eat what is on our plate. I will definitely be looking at our feast a little differently this year!

Do you eat turkey for Thanksgiving? Have you considered that they are being hatched now or in the next couple months in order to be fattened for your feast?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.