Every Day is a School Day

Hello, did you miss me? I’ve done the typical blogger thing and disappeared for a while. There is no air or mystery to where I’ve been. I literally have had nothing to say that warranted taking your precious time.

So what have I been up to in my quiet period? I have actually been rather busy, so busy that my poor baby brain could not quite get the words out on to paper to keep you in the loop. Things are starting to calm down now and a sense of normality is resuming.  As normal as life gets at Out and About Poultry!

I thought it was time to show off my super duper shiny new blog site, you know you’re a proper blogger when you have your own blog site!

If you follow Out and About Poultry on social media you may know that we took delivery of our turkey poults and goslings at the end of June. There was never any intention to take all the birds in at the same time because space is always an issue when there are different flocks of day olds. They each have their own needs and cannot be mixed, so space is a problem.

At the beginning of the year, due to the extreme weather, the geese were later laying their eggs and there were fewer fertile eggs being laid which led to a shortage of goslings on the market. The goslings should have arrived with us in late May however it was four weeks before there was availability for our order to be fulfilled. It will be very interesting to see what happens at Christmas and whether there will be a shortage of geese for sale.

We are now four weeks behind with our geese.

It will be very much touch and go whether we can get the geese up to size this year. I will be honest and say that I find geese more difficult to rear and finish (fatten) than I do turkeys. I am comfortable with what I am doing with the turkeys but geese are my nemesis!

To add to our goose drama our turkey order came in incorrectly and half our order was supplied as white turkeys and not bronze turkeys!  I have got nothing against white turkeys but as someone who only supplies bronze turkeys and prides themselves on this it was always going to be a bit of an issue! So the white turkeys were sent back and a new batch were ordered for the following week!

The situation now is:-
I already have two flocks of birds in a variety of sheds under a concoction of heating devices.
I now need to find extra space and heating for batch three.

You don’t need to ask whether I was self-medicating at this point, lets take it as a given. So let’s call them batch three.

Batch three arrived on a Tuesday, I enlisted the help of my fabulous neighbour to create a new rearing ring to divide up my already quite full shed. For infection control purposes it’s not advisable to mix flocks. I borrowed another heat lamp and in the turkeys went!

However, I should have known all was not well when my first turkey poult croaked within four hours of arrival. That has never happened to me before! So we got to the ominous day five and they literally start dropping like flies, some of them in front of me. At this point I am doubting everything I am doing, what have I done wrong? Is it too hot/too cold? (it was definitely not too cold; think sauna and you are somewhere near my shed temperature.) are they sick?

In 48 hours I had a 65% loss rate, and I have to say it was totally demoralising, dealing with that many dead chicks gets to you after a while! This now causes another problem though as a huge proportion of the turkeys we rear are pre-ordered and now we are looking not being able to fulfil these orders.

Can you guess what happens next?

Yes batch four arrives on the Monday morning. So I am now at max capacity in the sheds, there is nowhere else I can squeeze any more birds. There was only one solution to this problem! Another rearing ring was constructed and into the utility room they came! The kids thought it was brilliant and like having a real life science experiment in their house. The cat thought all his Christmases had come at once to have all these sitting targets and I continued to self-medicate the situation and drink my wine rack dry as my house now stank to high heaven and was full of flies.

As you can imagine Day five for these guys could not come fast enough. I am please to say that I had no losses from my science experiment turkeys, they happily went into the shed with the others at Day 7 and are now nicely feathering up. They restored my faith in my abilities as a rearer of poultry.

So there we have it. We are off the mark for Christmas season 2018 and after all the initial drama and death, the crop of turkeys I am currently rearing could be some of the best birds I have ever produced.  Once again I have learnt yet more valuable lessons. As I always say with rearing bird, no two years are ever the same and you learn something new each year.

It’s rapidly approaching wine o’clock and we are well in to the depths of school holidays so I will leave it there for today as I need to make sure I am keeping up with my five a day, glasses that is!

Jade x

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1 Comment

  1. Matt
    6th August 2018 / 8:42 am

    A great and informative read, thank you.

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