If you’ve thought about raising turkeys but haven’t quite yet decided to pull the trigger, there’s no better time than now to get started. When I first thought about raising turkeys, I remained on the fence for quite some time. But now that I’ve done it, I’m encouraging anyone who might be interested, even in the slightest, to give it a try, at least once!
So if you’re one of the many folks who might be perched on the fence like I was, I want to offer you these seven reasons why you should order poulets this season and and leave the fence sitting to the birds!
7 Reasons To Raise Turkeys This Year
1. Turkeys Greet You When You Get Home
One of the things I enjoyed the most during the time I’ve had turkeys on our property, is that moment when I drive into the driveway after work in the afternoons. A very close second to having my kids run out and greet me, was having the turkeys run out and greet me as well.
The area my turkeys are kept is within easy view from my driveway, so the turkeys can monitor all the comings and goings during the day. And every afternoon when I’d pull into the driveway, my small flock of turkeys would come running as fast as they could up to the edge of the fence in order to say hello.
Who would have ever thought that a turkey would be so thrilled to see you when you get home? Their social characteristics are definitely one of my favorite things about having them around.
2. Turkeys Are Entertaining
This kind of goes along with the first point in this list, because watching the birds come running to greet you is extremely entertaining. But in addition to that, I couldn’t tell you how much time I’ve spent leaning up against the fence just watching the turkeys interact with each other, with me, and with the other animals on our property. I enjoy watching my chickens, but there’s no question that turkeys have been even more fun to just sit and observe.
3. Turkeys Will Sleep Where They Want
I learned quickly that the turkeys will simply do what they want, regardless of what you provide for them. I converted an old tool shed into a nice comfortable shelter for the birds to sleep in. The thing is, as soon as those birds grew strong enough feathers, they would fly up to the top of the tool shed and perch on the roof for the night! Then in the morning, they’d fly back down into the fenced area I had for them. Never once did they choose to fly out and escape, even though they very easily could have! And I don’t think they ever stepped foot inside the shelter I built for them again. Again, I find these animals so entertaining.
4. Turkeys Are Stunning To Look At
Turkeys are just beautiful birds, especially the heritage breeds. But in my opinion, even the broad breasted white turkeys are very attractive birds. While everyone’s probably familiar with the incredible show of plumage a tom displays during his “strut”, you’ll be just as impressed by the hens feathers. Even though hens don’t strut and puff up like toms, hens have a soft, smooth appearance to their feathers that are quite unique and attractive in their own way.
In addition to all of the feathers turkeys are able to display, I’ve also been very impressed by the other physical characteristics turkeys have, such as their snoods, wattles and caruncles. When a tom is getting ready to strut, you can watch his pink skin turn to a deep blue in what seems like no time. It’s truly is an amazing thing to watch. Before owning turkeys, I never realized their skin turned such vibrant colors.
5. Turkeys Can Be Profitable
I don’t know if it’s specific to the area where I live in or not, but it’s not uncommon for organic, free range broad breasted white turkeys to be sold for $5 or more per pound after butchering. I would imagine the heritage birds would sell for even more per pound. Multiply that by a 25 lb bird, and it more than pays for the feed you’d buy to raise it.
I have a few friends who raise turkeys solely for the purpose of selling them right before Thanksgiving. They seem to do well in their business ventures and continue to do it year after year.
6. Turkeys Grow Fast and Yield A Lot Of Meat
Don’t blink, because turkeys have the ability to grow really fast. The first time I raised turkeys I couldn’t believe how fast they’d grown into adult sized birds. Of course different breeds of turkeys will grow at different paces, but for the most part, you can expect to have a turkey ready for butcher between 20 and 30 weeks. Broad breasted white turkeys grow faster and could potentially be large enough for butcher at 16 weeks. I processed my turkeys at 22 weeks, and they were massive. One of the birds weighed in at 42 pounds. Needless to say, it was too big for the oven, and I don’t recommend waiting that long..
7. Turkeys Are Delicious
Everyone has their own reason for raising turkeys. For me, it was because I knew they were eventually going to become food for my family. This gave us the ability to eat turkey all year long, as opposed to just one or two times around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There are endless ways to prepare turkey if you’ve grown tired of the traditional method of sticking a whole bird in the oven; ground turkey, smoked turkey, and even turkey jerky to name just a few.
These seven things are what my family and I have really enjoyed while raising turkeys on our property. Chickens are fun and serve a very valuable purpose on the farm or in the backyard, but I’ve quickly become a huge fan of having a turkey or two around.
So if you’ve been on the fence regarding whether or not to give it a shot, do it! I’m confident that you’ll enjoy the experience and will learn so much along the way.
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