Turkeys are out, chicks are in

The turkey poults have made the big move from the protection of the heated brooder to the cold harsh reality of life in a chicken tractor. I was worried about them the first night, and for some reason, just because they are turkeys I guess and not very bright, they chose to sleep on the unprotected end of the tractor in the grass instead of the sheltered end with a perch. But they survived, and by the second night they had figured out how to snuggle up together on the perch.

In the other tractor is black mama hen with her NINE chicks! I thought there were only eight, but now that they are running around more we counted nine. I would love to let all these little guys loose to run around the yard and scratch in the fresh grass, but the cats would go after the chicks. So everyone stays safely in the tractor.

As you can see from the little feather-legged chick in front, we have two cochins in this brood. I hope at least one is a hen!

Shuffling chicks

Yesterday black mama hen started hatching her eggs. I’ve seen 4 or 5 chicks so far, but she’s keeping them hid. They are in a brooding box in the shed, and it’s not big enough for them, so I need to move them out to a chicken tractor so they can scratch around in the grass. However the tractors are full. Time to shuffle some chickens.

So I took the tractor with 7 chicks

And added two of the chicks from the tractor that only has three.

The remaining chick I put in a dog carrier so I can work with taming him. He is Penny’s only chick out of the first set of chicks we hatched. He is a Buff Cochin, and he has feathered feet and legs. I think he’s super cute, so I thought it would be fun to work with him a bit. I’ve heard you can clicker train chickens, so I thought I’d give it a try. His name is Copper.

In the turkey brooder the turkeys are getting HUGE! They are almost as tall as the gallon milk jugs I feed them out of.

Because the turkeys are getting too big to stay in the brooder much longer, I am giving the extra chicks to one of the boys in our 4H llama club who is also in chicken 4H. That way the new mom and chicks will have one tractor, and the turkeys will have the other, and I’ll be DONE with raising chicks for the season.

Chicks are feathering out

The chicks are getting their real feathers now, so they aren’t cute fluffy chicks anymore, now they are gangly, scruffy-looking teenagers!

It looks like this is Penny’s only chick in the whole batch, at least it’s the only one with feathered legs.

These chicks are a week younger than the other batch, but they are feathering out too. They’re about four weeks old now.

Mom is still very protective.

We moved the tractors to a new grazing area today. They are tucked under the trees next to the chicken pen/orchard.

The spot where they were sitting is well picked over and fertilized, I’m guessing the grass will recover pretty quickly.

Meanwhile in the coop the third game hen mix has gone broody, so I gave her a nest box and ten eggs to sit on. So in 21 days we should have some more chicks.

The turkeys are doing fine, growing wing feathers and eating like little piggies! I’ll get some pics of them again soon.

Turkey’s, llamas, and kitties, oh my!

The turkeys survived their first day. Last night when I went to check on them before bed one was laying on it’s side and didn’t look good at all! I picked it up and saw it’s butt was ‘pasted up’ with dried poo. So I tucked it under my shirt and took it inside and washed the poop off with a warm wet tissue, then took it back out to the brooder. I didn’t think it would make it, but sure enough this morning everyone was walking around eating and drinking, and I couldn’t even tell which one was so miserable last night.

Today was the 4H llama area show, and afterwards I invited our club leader to bring the club llamas and drop them off in our pasture for a few weeks. We have lots of grass for them to eat, and her pasture is getting a little tired after being grazed all winter. So now we have six llamas, well four llamas and two alpacas actually. Jack went nuts when he saw them, baying and barking LOUD and non-stop like we’d been invaded! Barclay wanted to go play with them, but I wouldn’t let him. He doesn’t know not all llamas want to play with him like Houdini did, these llamas might just trample him!

Lastly, Mighty took a moment to pose for me in front of the spring flowers, and the orange sunset light seemed to make her glow! Pretty Kitty!

Chickens and soon..Turkeys!

For my friends who get eggs from us, here’s our happy flock hanging out in the pen 🙂

I set that chair out there so I could sit out there and enjoy the chickens, but they like to perch on it, and from the amount of poop on it, I have to admit that chair is pretty much theirs forever now – ew! I go in and hose it off every now and then.

Lots of grass and trees in our orchard for the chickens to hang around in and scratch around hunting for buggies and stuff. Of course their favorite area is right by the gate, so they have that scratched down to mud.

Nice shot of Penny

Big Red and her happy chicks in the ‘maternity ward’ enjoying a warm afternoon. It was just starting to get chilly as the sun went down, and the chicks snuggled up under her to stay warm.

Big Bird and I have established an uneasy truce. When I tell him to leave the coop so I can pick up eggs, he does, and he will eat out of my hands and let me pet him and pick him up. I still don’t turn my back on him though. The other day I told him to get out of the coop and he looked right at me, pecked my foot, and then ran out as fast as he could – sneaky bird!

And this is the brooder box with a heat lamp I set up today for the turkeys! Yep, I said turkeys. This weekend hopefully we’ll be getting a few Bourbon Red Turkey babies. I talked to the breeder this morning and he said they were just starting to hatch today. I intend for these turkeys to be food – holiday turkeys. He said they should be close to 20lbs by Thanksgiving. But knowing us by the time the holidays roll around they’ll have turned into pets. Unlike my hen-raised chicks, the turkeys will be in a brooder box getting attention from me every day, which should help make them extra tame, and that’s important with a bird as big as a turkey! But that also will make them harder to eat when the time comes. These are the first animals on our ‘farm’ that are intended to be food, so we’ll see how that goes.