Free to Range

So August has flashed passed, I am now in the midst of sewing name tapes into school uniforms and attempting to get the children to go to bed early, and more importantly wear shoes again!

On the 25th of August 2017 our turkeys reached eight weeks of age. This is a big milestone for the birds, it means they are now strong enough to go outside. Our turkeys, much like our children are free to range, or as we like to term it “free-ranging”. But what does this actually mean?

This means that our turkeys are free to behave in their natural way, in a big open space. It means they are able to take dust baths, scratch around in the long grass and nettles and enjoy the feeling of the sun on their backs.

The big release happened and as always, it’s a massive anti-climax! You imagine the birds are going to flock from the shed, eager to feel the wind in their feathers. The reality is, they make a load of noise as your in their shed. Once the doors are open you stand and look at them, and they stare back at you as if to say what are you looking at before sitting down and looking a bit put out.

So then we spend a good hour cajoling them out of the shed for them to spend the same amount of time getting back into the shed. Once they are out, they love it! It’s just getting them out of the shed thats a bit of a sticking point!

After a few days of convincing them they really do want to go outside, they will get into a routine and they will be ready and waiting for the doors to open in the mornings.

The birds are now free to range until December. As the fruit becomes ripe in our orchard we will pick it and throw it into their fields. The turkeys and geese both really love our fruit, especially the plums.

We have made some drastic improvements to the turkeys field this year. We have installed an automatic drinking system in their shed and we have now extended this into the field. This ensures that clean and fresh water is available at all times. I am no longer dragging a water bowser in and out of the field on the back of the quad bike, and having to attempt to reverse it. If you have ever had to reverse with a trailer on the back of a quad bike, and maybe your not the most skilled at it, you will understand my glee at no longer having to take on this task. It normally ends in an embarrassing fail, or worse still, having to go and get someone to reverse it for me.

We have also purchased the turkeys some brand new super duper in field feeders. They look like beehives. The turkeys now merrily stuff their faces whilst I’m safe in the knowledge I am not feeding the entire wild bird population an expensive cereal based diet!

So I am going to leave you there for today and put my Mummy hat back on. Best get back to naming the school uniforms or it will be me on the first week of term, raiding the lost property bins to locate missing items of uniform! Total Mum fail! Happy September all.

Jade x

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