It has been a hectic few days sorting eggs, putting orders together and generally trying to keep up with the turkeys who are laying very well at the moment. I say ‘at the moment because as every poultry keeper knows it can all change in an instant.
Something as simple as a strange dog wandering past the pens can put the turkeys off lay, and the annual Lyme Regis airshow will put the hens off for a couple of days. It is great to have a ringside seat as they screech by directly overhead, but a visit from the Red Arrows always means a definite drop in production. But overall, the turkeys are doing well.
Well, except for the Crollwitzers that is, as they haven’t really got going yet. The issue with them are the low numbers being laid and smaller than usual eggs. Not sure quite what is going on there, so this group need to be watched carefully.
The process of incubation never ceases to fascinate me, and with the season upon us I am enthralled once again. I recently purchased a few more books on the topic of incubation and these have been an engaging read.
One thing that struck me is just how well the ‘old boys’ did given they didn’t have the technical wizardry and facilities available today. But the ‘old boys’ certainly achieved tremendous results, and this says much for their skill as poultry keepers.
I suppose the turkeys are not doing too bad either given they haven’t had the benefit of reading the books on the topic, or access to the incubation equipment that we have. Mind you, in their favour, the turkeys have been perfecting the art of incubation for over 40 million years and, as long as we don’t breed it out of them, they will continue to do so..
It is important to recognise that the fundamental ability for turkeys to independently mate, incubate and rear their own young could so easily be lost to careless breeding. At Heritage Turkeys these are key considerations when selecting our breeding birds. After all, once these essential traits are lost they are gone forever, and we wouldn’t want a repeat of the commercial situation where everything is ‘managed’..
That’s why all our turkeys are given the opportunity to rear their last brood of the season naturally. That way we can be sure they are carrying forward the essential ability to be fully independent, and if ever justification was needed for what we do then that would be it..
It is such a shame that not enough breeders let their birds undertake a whole cycle naturally, after all it is the only way a breeder of traditional heritage turkeys can be sure that the turkeys they are selling are still able to undertake all the basic functions..
Function first and foremost every time, get that right and the rest will follow..