Another week, another pasture move. The turkeys don’t graze quite like the geese, or goats. And they don’t poop like 100 meat chickens. So they get to move to fresh grass once a week. Although as they get closer to T-day, it might get a little more frequent. As will my apprehension. And it’s not apprehension about the actual butchering, it’s the fact that a dozen turkeys will leave our farm just a few days before Thanksgiving, headed for what is probably one of the most recognized (and popular) family meals of the year. What keeps me up is the knowledge that we don’t have much wiggle room. If a dog or other predator was to get in now, odds are someone might not get a bird, but with over $75 of feed alone, invested in each bird there is an economic component as well. And all this doesn’t even get into the animal husbandry, and love of the animals that an end not by my hand (via a predator) would imply.
I’d say we raise our animals with some of the same prejudice we are raising our children with. They don’t get antibiotics (unless they show a profound need for them), they get good fresh, local food, the shelter they need, but not pampering (our kids have chores the don’t like, I was told it builds character), vitamins and the occasional treat. We also try to raise them with lots of love. We don’t let them play with sharp sticks, or run around outside after dark (unless they are supervised, or in an enclosure). Having a hard time telling if I’m talking about our kids or our animals? I am too. Our kids even get out on grass just like the birds, but the turkeys eat more grass….
Although when I look at these critters, I can’t help but feel in a sound sleep, our girls think circles around the turkeys.