Turkey Trots

Thursday, March 4, 2010


That sunny day I was wishing for turned out to be just a pipe dream. I woke up yesterday morning to rain. Not a huge storm, mind you, but enough to throw me off my outdoor schedule and dampen my spirits. It was a slap in the face. A wake up call that winter, even in California, is not over yet. Welcome to March!

I was outside assessing the storm damage (thankfully none) and checking on the chickens when I got a call from my friend and fellow 4-H leader. One of our club members had ordered their batch of turkey pullets for our county fair in August. The family didn’t want all 25 birds and was polling other club members to see if we could take some off their hands. While Sandy and I chatted for a while I could see, in my minds eye, turkey tracks across freshly tilled garden soil, a parade of them as they scoured the garden for grubs and bugs and treats of spent lettuce. I was surprised how nostalgic it made me for raising turkeys, something I never thought I’d miss. But, raising poultry here on the farm and seeing them through to dinner tables or holiday gatherings is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a small suburban farmer.

I haven’t raised turkeys in a while, but I want a small flock of them again. I think Midget Whites this time. Or maybe even the Broad-Breasted White raised up to 12 or 15 pounds. If my family won’t dine on them there are plenty of folks around looking for a naturally raised, free-range bird come holiday time. It’s something to think about for small suburban farmers. Compact, easy to care for, with manageable space requirements. Unlike sheep or gardens, birds don’t need the capital and fences up front like a flock of ewes would. Ten turkeys could be raised for the price of one registered sheep and the cash from selling the birds at Thanksgiving could be put toward improvements or other homestead operations. It’s time to start planning for the future, folks; of a working homestead and not just a personal supermarket.

To read more about raising turkeys on your suburban homestead check out these helpful resources.

raising turkeys

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