I so love my happy turkeys, and they just love everyone who visits, the big show-offs. The Toms are huge, suddenly. It’s hard to spot the two that we kept from last year, Randy and Dandy, because all the boys are almost identical at this point. The Midget White turkey standard says a mature male will dress out between 12 and 14 pounds, and last year they all fell right in that range, with only a few less than 13, and most right between.
They also tasted divine. I’d read several places that they keep winning blind taste testing contests, with chefs and regular people and farmers all alike. They are the yum. Everyone says they are the best in flavor and moisture, hands down. How cool is that? We got our best review over on Local Harvest, also our first, after last year’s sales. She ordered again this year, too. I had been so unsure last year that we could really sell all these really free-range and happy critters. Would people really pay $50 for a turkey? They did indeed, and we quickly sold out.
So this year I tried to do more, but with the horrible predator problems we had, that wasn’t to be, sadly. But now we have Maggie. We are going to clip wings in the spring, and make them all nest right next to the house, in the closest paddock. Maggie has this one well under control. We are holding firm in keeping her outside only, and it’s working out better than I’d hoped, even with two dogs that live inside. (Did I mention here we are keeping her? Contract and money sent to the rescue organization today.) There will be plenty of sheds to choose from, plenty of trees with branches low enough that they’ll be able to roost, even one-winged.
I’ve kept a count of how many other people I could have sold to this year, ones who either called, emailed me, left a message on various spots I can be found, and it’s now over 450. Holy turkey!
I don’t want to change breeds to one that is cheaper to buy as poults, though, or even one of the prettier, more colorful breeds. I love these turkeys. I’m going to keep all my hens again, and keep a 10-1 ratio of toms to hens, trying hard again to establish a larger breeding flock. Each hen will raise 8 poults. They seem to settle on that number by magic. Even the hen who also raised two ducklings last year had 6 poults and 2 ducklings. 8 seems to be their number.
But I also want to buy some babies. They raise their babies in groups, and will happily adopt new ones, as I found after some of mine lost theirs to predators this year. I’m not sure how many to order, though. They are expensive!
I don’t want to ship them, despite many requests from all over the country. I really want to provide food for my own food-shed first. (Someone in NYC offered me $150 for one this year, but I said no. Dumb?)
I wonder how many people in the Monadnock region would place a $10 deposit by the Spring, in order to reserve the best Thanksgiving turkey ever, for next Thanksgiving?