Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Turkey learnin'

I am really enjoying my first time raising turkey chicks. Each week, they grow older and demonstrate new (well, new to me) behaviours that I find endlessly entertaining.

Our apprentice underkeeper Monty discovered this neat trick when his phone rang while he was stood near the turkey poult pen:

Most evenings I had to chase the poults into their pop hole and the safety of their shed (OK. Not really a shed. A converted dog box. I'm not sure why you expected anything different.) Once we discovered that a simple ringtone sent them running for cover, it made my evening chores - the turkey ones anyway -  a little bit quicker.

Last night was the first night that I left the pop hole open between the run and their "shed" (it's in quotes, are you happy?). The poults are big enough and feathered enough to come out on daylight. When I went to check on them, the little poults were vocalising and the stag turkey poults were displaying - tails spread, wings down, and emitting tiny chuffs of air that will later become booming sounds when they're fully grown. I tried different noises myself, to see how they'd react to me:

I spared you the video where I sing "The Doggie Breakfast Song" (don't ask....) which generated only a half-hearted response. Possibly the poults were just humouring their food and water provider, I don't know. One low-toned, loudish but short word was most effective. I was a half hour late for my breakfast and now-cold coffee. That's how entertaining turkey poults are.

My second hatch of turkey eggs was pretty good too, resulting in another eight turkey chicks including a pure white one. That's sixteen new turkeys in total this first year. Not bad at all. The second batch are still under a heat lamp but will soon join the turkey chorus outside on the grass.