Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Turkeys

Turkeys are a "New World" creature. All of the domesticated turkeys were developed from the original wild North American strain. I find it interesting that most of the domestic turkeys were developed in Europe or Asia and then introduced back to North America as imports. In my research about turkeys, I read that most of the domesticated turkeys are unable to breed on their own. I then saw a "Dirty Jobs" TV episode that showed Mike Rowe artificially inseminating white giant turkeys.

So, imagine my surprise when I found a Craig's List posting with Blue Slate turkey eggs for sale. I contacted the owner and he ended up giving them to me as I am using them with my students. I now have seven turkey chicks in the coop, and 16 Blue Slate Turkey eggs in the incubator. Hatch date is May 20.

If I get a decent hatch rate from these turkey eggs, I will have more turkeys than I planned on having! They will probably not have too much difficulty in finding a Thanksgiving dinner invitation.

I candled several of the eggs last night and they looked like they were doing ok. So, I guess there are some domesticated turkeys that can still do the hokey pokey.

18 comments:

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Hee hee,Hokey pokey-ing turkeys.
How great is that!
My Son went on a farm excursion on Monday and just loved the turkeys though he added they were U-G-L-Y!!

Sandy said...

Wow, this is exciting, I can't wait to see turkey babies.

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Up here in the Niagara Peninsula of southern Ontario we have an abundance of wild turkeys. They are lean, mean flying machines as they roost in the tree tops at night.
Having been given one to taste recently (I know that statement will upset some, but did not our forefathers hunt to survive) there is nothing to compare in the domestic market.
Good luck with the turkey eggs and keep us posted on the outcome!
Susan

Kelly or Alex said...

Turkeys are interesting creatures. I love going home from work in the morning and seeing a couple flocks of wild turkeys in pastures. I saw a big Tom all feathered out trying to impress the girls. We have our turkeys ordered and look forward to our first brood. Are turkeys in a flock? We are also getting guinea fowl for increased noise and of course bug detail.
Kelly

Susan said...

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out....! Turkeys doin' the Hokey-Pokey, now that's what it's all about!

I would be perfectly happy to give one of those majestic birds a home on my Thanksgiving table, Don. I'm already planning the menu.

Garden Girl said...

You MUST read Barbara Kingsolver's book 'Animal Vegetable Miracle'. It is such an interesting book in itself, but the special relevance is that she did just what you are wanting to do: taught her turkeys to dance!

freefalling said...

Turkeys never really took off (!!??) in Australia.
I don't know why.

jen's farmily said...

I think turkeys are so neat!! They are something I definitely want to add to our little place one day!

julie king said...

keep it up and you and ruth are going to have a completely self-sustaining farm on your hands! congrats on scoring the turkeys. i can't wait to follow the progress!!!

Stiggy said...

Nice one Don - they'll be calling you Doctor Doolittle soon!

(Unless they already do of course!)

Can't wait to see some photos of your turkeys - are they noisy?

Paige said...

mmmm turkey dinner!

We want to see pictures of the babies when they hatch.

Sunny said...

We have had turkeys in the past and learned that they do not breed well because they have been bred to grow bigger in the breast area and so mating became difficult. The whites are the biggest and therefore need to be artificially inseminated.(we have grown 45# white turkeys) Some of the lighter breeds I believe can still mate.
Congrats on obtaining slate blue turkey eggs. What a find!!

Lanny said...

Any of the domestic breeds besides the big commercial white strains do just fine mating, laying and setting all on their own. Midget White and Bourbon Reds came in first and second in a taste test.

We, actually my daughter mostly, raises Narragansett, Bourbon Reds and Blue Slates. All of these and more can do just fine reproducing on their own. You can achieve some beautiful birds by crossing your Blue slates with either the Bourbons or the Narrys

So late this summer keep some of your best looking girls and then either decide which fella stays and hope nothing happens to him before next spring OR have very separate pens for each of your males, they fight like no other poultry fellas! Make sure each one has at least a couple of girls or the lonely fella will pace and fidget his brains out.

Bob Johnson said...

Very cool Don, good luck with them, very interesting post.

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

I only have two turkeys. and they were so difficult to raise...lovely birds and such characters
great blog!!

ChristyACB said...

I really can't wait to see pics of turkey babies growing up!

As to taste, I've scoured this area looking for home grown (not giant white) turkeys for eating. None to be found. The taste is just night and day to the store bought ones.

Ginnie said...

HA! Thanksgiving is not that far away...but far enough, I guess, to give them time to grow big and fat! Somebodies are really gonna be lucky.

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