Monday, May 30, 2011

The Turklets are Here!

The turklets are here! And by here I mean they arrived two weeks ago and I have simply been too busy to write about them. They arrived the same day that I drove into Cache Valley after driving all night from Des Moines. Unfortunately we lost one in transit, but since then it has been smooth sailing. Fourteen baby turkeys have graced our foyer for over 2 weeks now and all I can say is, they make so much noise. We have to close the door at night or else they would keep us awake all night long. But they are a lot of fun. At first I was a little worried because they barely ate anything the first week. I worried in vain. Now, I can barely scoop their food in fast enough. They have recently taken to endless escape attempts of a complexity and vigor we could never expect from the chickens. Several times a day I hear the loud flapping and high-pitched squeaks of a turkey attempting to fly through the mesh screen we keep over the brooder to prevent wide-spread turklet rebellion. On the first day that we realized that they were trying to escape, we aparently didnt put enough of a cover on the brooder because later that day when I did a count, we were down one turklet. As Zack and I frantically turned over boxes and looked under the benches in the foyer, I couldn't imagine where the turklet could have gone off to. Normally, when a chicken escapes, they stay directly outside the brooder and cheep their little head off until they are reunited with their chicken brethren. Not so for our adventurous turklet. I found him three rooms away sitting on Zack's leather desk chair as happy as a...turkey. Since then we have fortified our defenses and no further escape attempts have been sucessful. However, they have taken to playing "king of the castle" on their waterers. When one turklet decides he wants to claim his rightful place on top of the waterer, a turkley battle royale often ensues to the amusement of Zack, myself, and the general turkey community. However, their time in the brooder is drawing to a close. We are expecting more turkeys and our first round of ducklings to hatch out in a week or so....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chicks grow up and move away....across the yard.

With the turklets arriving in just a few days, it was time to move the chick(en)s outside. Not to mention they were packed in like sausages at 5 and a half weeks old. They needed some room to stretch out and play. And, frankly, they stunk. They seem to be adjusting to their new home well. Since they have thus far lived inside for their entire lives, they are mildly terrified to leave the coop. I literally had to pick up each and every one of them on the fifth day and relocate them in the yard. Some of them didn't understand how to get home and so I had to pick them right back up again at the end of the day and put them inside. Since then they have become foraging masters and are waiting for me at the gate each morning to rush outside and explore.

Our cockrels are starting to assert some dominance and a couple of them even have a few groupies that follow them around all day. Oddly enough none of the roosters are crowing yet and so, although they are hitting it off with the ladies, they still cheep like babies. We expect the crowing wars to begin any day now though. When they do, we will finally know who "Brym's Next Top Rooster" will be. We already have two out of the running for sure. Quasimodo and Franken-chicken have been doomed from the beginning. We are pretty sure Quasimodo got bumped around a little too much in his egg and so he ended up looking like...well...Quasimodo. He has a freakish hooked beak and a hunched back. He also isn't the brightest chick in the coop if you know what I mean. Franken-chicken...well we suspect fowl play in the gene pool. His general lack of feathers has led him to be the object of all of the other chickens aggression. Luckily he can run like the wind and avoids their endless taunting and mockery. Needless to say, we will not be letting these boys make it past round one of rooster selection. But they will make a delicious dinner!