We’re adding new products to our current line-up of certified organic meats! These include ground turkey, drumsticks, wings and backs. This will lengthen our turkey season which had been limited to whole birds for Thanksgiving.
One of our goals is to be able to offer all of our products year round. So, getting turkeys in the early spring to be finished in late summer is one way to do that.
Our turkey poults arrived in the same way as most of our poultry, as day old birds shipped via the US Postal Service. We had ordered all toms (males) in order to maximize their ability to grow out relatively quickly. Keeping the poults warm during a Maine spring is no easy feat! We used between 2-4 heat lamps at any given point during the day to ensure even heat of nearly 90 degrees. After 4 weeks, once the poults are fully feathered we allowed them outdoor access using small wooden fences. Each fence is constructed of strapping covered with chicken wire. An eye screw at each end allows us to use fiberglass poles to stake each panel. We build the panels at 4′ for the turkeys and then cover the outdoor area with shade cloth in order to protect them from predators and to keep them from flying out. The sound of a loose poult is very distinctive! After a week or so of the panels and tarp we began using Premier poultry netting to keep them contained. These fences are key to our operation and once electrified keep the turkeys in and other critters out!
Our birds grew a bit more slowly than in the past due to the lack of rain. The drought meant that new pastures weren’t as lush and rich so more frequent moves were needed.