Lessons in Keeping Turkeys in Your Backyard

Raising backyard turkeys felt like a natural next step in my quest for homesteading self-sufficiency. I joyfully took home two turkey poults, believing i was well-prepared for the event. I had no idea that the adventure of turkey ownership would be full of unexpected and pleasant insights.

Backyard turkey keeping lessons

Image Credit: PurinaMills

Finding the puppy-like poults

When i first brought my turkey poults home, i was astounded to discover that they were not simply turkeys, but miniature puppies in avian disguise. They acted like puppies, following me around and wanting constant companionship. The poults demanded my presence, and their persistent cries served as a constant reminder whenever i left them alone.

Wrapping them in a towel and snuggling them until they fell asleep was the bedtime routine, which resulted in stuffing the towel—turkeys included—under my bed for the night.

The trend remained with each batch of turkey poults—adorable, inquisitive, and in need of continual attention. These critters clearly had an incredible ability to bond with their human caregivers.

The baby turkey dance:

Another surprising fact about turkeys: they are quite amusing. Young toms and even some hens would do the turkey dance when they were only a few weeks old. These kids would puff up their chests, flutter their tail feathers, and spread their wings, imitating the complex tom turkey dance. Seeing these acrobatics removed any desire to consume these enthralling birds.

The toms revealed a unique dance designated just for humans. The human-focused dance distinguished itself from the war and romance dances by demonstrating their pleasure for our presence. Their show carried a message: their joy at seeing us was unlimited, possibly to secure our undying affection.

Even the hens joined the hunt for human connection, albeit in a different way. The hens used their unique language to express their love, emitting loud and persistent barking-like sounds—yet another endearing facet of turkey behaviour.

Culinary intentions are hampered by attachment

Despite my best efforts to remain objective by not identifying them, the following startling realization emerged: it was practically impossible to ignore their distinct personalities long enough to raise them for meat.

Even if i tried to give them names like “drumstick” or “nugget,” the genuine bonds created during their development made slaughtering a difficult process. Despite my best intentions, the depth of my attachment to these creatures thwarted any culinary motivations.

Unusual sense of humour

Turkeys have an unusual sense of humour that adds a delightful quality to their presence. Observing their pranks and relationships reveals an often-overlooked light-hearted side. Turkeys demonstrate a mischievousness that delights humans who witness them, from indulging in fun chases to cheekily taking each other’s food. This unexpected sense of humour reveals the depth of their distinct personalities as well as their capacity to interact in humorous ways.

Backyard turkey keeping lessons 2

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Organic pest control

Turkeys can make unexpected contributions to your garden ecology. While most people associate pest control with chickens, turkeys also help to reduce bug populations. Turkeys are excellent foragers, actively seeking insects, spiders, and tiny rodents. By adding turkeys to your yard, you’re recruiting a swarm of avian pest controllers to keep your garden and surrounding areas clear of unwelcome pests.

Fertilization that is gentle on the environment:

The by-products of turkey farming, namely their excrement, can be a wonderful addition to your garden. Turkey manure is a high-nutrient fertilizer that can improve soil quality and increase plant development.

You can create a sustainable cycle in which turkeys contribute to both your companionship and the health of your garden by composting the turkey litter carefully and incorporating it into your gardening techniques. This unexpected reward exemplifies the many benefits of growing backyard turkeys.

Finally, the experience of raising backyard turkeys reveals a variety of interesting findings. Beyond their lovable characteristics, turkeys bring surprising benefits ranging from their sense of humour and help to pest management to their role in eco-friendly fertilizing. These discoveries highlight the need of comprehending and appreciating the different traits of these wonderful birds in our pursuit of sustainable and satisfying backyard farming. Their distinct personalities and wonderful actions built bonds that went beyond food, reminding us that animals are complex, sentient beings worthy of our care and compassion.