I will keep this one as brief as I can. When I speak to other producers, especially producers of poultry, they all tell a similar story. They report that turkeys can be a great opportunity but have many problems especially as young birds. They can drown in a rainstorm, suffer from too little protein or too much, are very sensitive to they way they were incubated in the egg, often refuse to drink and eat after they arrive from the hatchery and the list goes on and on. However once they are started and live out on grass the way nature intended they are remarkably resilient. Hands down the best forager of any poultry with reports of them being able to get up to 60% of their daily intake from good pasture (ours is not good enough for them to get 60%). Bugs, grass, seeds all unable to escape the eyes of turkeys.
We are refusing to give chicks antibiotics just because they are chicks and most comercial chick starter contains “medicated” feed to prevent coccidiosis. I poured over over research papers, home producers recommendations, and friends advice. Instead of medicated feed we put raw apple cider in their drinking water and crushed hard boiled eggs in their feed. The good news is they flew through the first 2 weeks, ate readily, found and drank water quickly and gained weight rapidly and we accelerated their move to pasture almost a week ahead of schedule because they were growing so well. Our over night lows are in the low 80’s and they no longer need supplemental heat. The bad news is that I had to cull an otherwise healthy poult, but he had leg disease. So many factors go into why their legs have become twisted but the most likely culprit is too much protein combined with a diet deficient in riboflavin. Basically he out grew his own long bones in his legs and became unable to walk on his feet. I couldnt bear to see him limp and flop for food and water so I did what every farmer has to do but no farm likes to do. Don’t even ask how I killed him but I will say I was merciful and know that it was the right thing to do.
Why do I tell you all these details? Renee and I truly want you to know what it takes to get food to your table. When you are in Kroger this thanksgiving season picking out your turkey in a white bag that all these factors go into raising our meat. Do you trust me as your farmer and The Barry Farm as your farm more than you trust a corporation and a factory to have heart enough to cull injured birds. Who better to feed your family than the barry farm? You are eating at my table when you eat from the barry farm. Thanks for supporting us…..I think I am going to ask Renee to make a Pumpkin pie to lift my spirits.