About Us and Our Turkeys

About Us and Our Turkeys.

Time to tell you about us and our turkeys.

About us and our Turkeys

Not long after we moved here from St. Austell, we bought ourselves a couple of ten week old Bronze turkey poults to rear for Christmas.  However, turkeys have a way of just grabbing at your heart strings, so rather then being lunch, Henry and Henrietta became our much loved pets.

The pair sadly passed away within days of each other at the grand old age of thirteen years.  Such was the pain of their passing, that it was quite some time before we considered getting more turkeys.

Norfolk Black Turkeys.

Some years back, the urge to have some more turkeys came to the fore, so Frank, my husband and I started looking at the different breeds available.  We finally settled on the Norfolk Black turkey.

Rather than get an established breeding trio, we bought half a dozen, sixteen week old youngsters from an up country breeder.  We spent the rest of that year handling, talking to and generally getting to know the birds.  A nice bunch of grapes soon turns the shyest and most off hand turkey into your best friend!

Incubating Turkey Eggs.

The following year, late in February, to our utter delight the first turkey eggs were being laid.  Frank bought me an incubator, and before too long, it was filled it with turkey eggs.

For twenty eight days, we waited (not exactly patiently!) for the eggs to hatch.  When around nine in the evening, we saw the first eggs pipping and heard cheeping, we were beside ourselves with joy.

Turkey eggs have hatchedWe sat glued to the incubator, watching and waiting.  Turkey poults take a long time to fight their way out of their shells, but we were prepared to wait for as long as it took.

By the following morning, bleary eyed, we had seen eighteen poults hatch with three eggs still waiting to pip.  We left the incubator alone for almost forty eight hours, then realised that the remaining eggs were probably infertile.  We then moved the Norfolk Black turkey poults into the nice, warm brooders.

Moving Norfolk Black Turkey poults into Brooders.

The Norfolk Black turkey poults stayed in the round intensive care brooders for a week, and after that were moved into much larger brooder pens where they stayed for another five weeks.  Here the poults learned how to take dust baths and use a perch, but the most fun of all, was watching the turkey poults learning how to fly.

The take-offs were always great, but the landings rather chaotic and sometimes hazardous!  Just after this learning to fly period, at about six weeks old, it was time for the poults to move into the outside world.  Their pens were ready, so we opened the door of the nursery and the poults followed us to their newly prepared homes.

Breeding Bourbon Red Turkeys.

This was the start of our life breeding Norfolk Black turkeys and now to add to our fun, we have also started breeding and rearing Bourbon Red heritage turkeys.

From the time the turkey eggs start pipping in the incubator, we talk to the chickadees (our pet name for turkey poults).  We are convinced that our endless chatter helps the poults respond to our voices and when finally hatched, they are all very friendly.  They probably think we are their parents!

Norfolk Black Turkey Poults

Persuading Turkey Poults to Drink

It is vital that turkey poults learn to drink as soon as possible, so we put brightly coloured marbles into the drinker.  The chickadees are then attracted by the sparkle of the glass.

Marbles are also placed in the feeders to encourage the poults to peck at the turkey starter crumbs.

When the chickadees are fully feathered, about six to eight weeks old, we move them to an outside pen where they can peck at the grass and feel the sun on their backs.

Many heritage turkeys have been so cross bred that they are now becoming endangered birds.   We have decided that our quest in life is to try and breed true, pure Norfolk Black and Bourbon Red turkeys.