Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Raising Turkeys for Food: How the experiment went

Turkeys are really cute as chicks. When they grow up, well, for most people, they are not so much cute. We bought 2 turkey chicks last spring. We kept them in a washtub under a light in the dining room for a short time. They whistled their ascending three tone call and started jumping out of the washtub. So I built a lightweight cage (4'x2'x8') to keep them in the yard.

We clipped their flight feathers. One was Righty, the other, Lefty.

Lefty died in a storm in May. So only Righty was left. So, we renamed him "Thanksgiving Dinner".

Turkeys can be very mean. So I made sure that TD was given attention every day.

He was a very gentle turkey and liked to be held and petted. The Sunday School and Wednesday School kids would often play with him and pet him. Though, some of the kids were afraid of him, because they knew what their folks said: Turkeys can be mean.

TD helped me build our hen house. I think our friend Gus became a bit intimidated by TD's affection. While Gus was helping me with the hen house, he decided to put TD outside the pen. TD would come up to him and chuff, warble, and gobble.

TD was a free range bird. So we didn't buy very much feed for him. We had to move the pen often. Because turkeys are like geese considering the amount of excrement they generate.

Turkeys can make good pets. If they are handled frequently.

Perhaps TD was a bit confused, he really liked people. And my dad really liked him. He said goodbye to TD last of all after all our kids before he and mom left when they visited this past summer.

Anyway, the economics:

2 Bronze Broad Breasted turkey chics at $10 each.
about $15 of feed

Total expense, about $30.

TD's dressed weight is about 35 lbs.

Even with the loss of one turkey that's still under $1 per pound. Dressed turkeys were $1.78 per pound at Wall Mart when I checked today.

I think we did well.


Anonymous said...

So, do you do your own butchering because I don't see a cost listed for that?

Joe Abrahamson said...

Yes, we do our own butchering of all our meat animals and birds.