Even weeks before Santa came down the chimney I ordered fifteen Sweetgrass turkey poults (day-olds) from Porter’s Rare Heritage Turkeys. I was splitting the order with my friend Kelly.
Through the winter and spring we dreamed about our turkeys. Would we like them? Where will we raise them? How will we tell our husbands? We worked through all those things, then waited impatiently for our baby turkeys to arrive. They would be coming anywhere from April through September. Today was the day.
I got an early morning call from the post office asking me to come down and pick them up. I was nervous for a couple of reasons. Turkey poults have a reputation of being more fragile than chicks and they had been in transit for two days. I knew an extra had been sent but I didn’t want to lose any. I knew from the ruckus in the post office that there were still plenty of live poults in that box. The noise was unbelievable. I have picked up plenty of baby chicks and they are so quiet you think they’re all dead until you open the box. No wonder they asked if I could come right down! I signed for the delivery and nervously took the little box to my car. I brought along scissors to cut the tape while I was still at the post office. I advise all chick buyers to do this. Many sellers will not reimburse for losses unless they are verified by post office personnel. To my surprise and delight, sixteen little faces were staring back at me.
I hurried home with them and placed them in the brooder with my week-old Icelandic chicks. HUGE mistake! The chicks immediately started pecking the feet of the poults until three were bleeding. I quickly came up with a Plan B and moved them to the cage underneath the chicks. Kelly and I had been told that turkey poults are too dumb to eat and drink on their own. People often put them in with baby chicks who are to act as turkey tutors. It’s a monkey see, monkey do kind of thing. If the poults see the chicks eating and drinking, they eat and drink too. Well forget that! What good is an eating and drinking turkey without toes? Again to my surprise as soon as water and food were offered they ate and drank. And drank. And drank. I have filled their water all day long. Porter’s recommends adding a bit of brown sugar to the water for a couple of days to give them an energy boost. Maybe that is why they drank so much. Kelly and her son dropped by to see them this morning. I will be keeping them all for a couple of weeks while Kelly is on vacation.
They have green marker on their heads to identify them. I will be watching the crooked toes on a few of them and making booties tomorrow if they don’t straighten on their own. If you are interested in Sweetgrass Turkeys you can read about them on Perter’s website HERE.