Transition…. From Webster’s ” tran·si·tion noun \tran(t)-ˈsi-shən, a change from one state or condition to another”
That’s what we did this weekend. We transitioned 13 turkeys 8 chickens and two geese. Process and Transition sound so much better than Butcher. However, given my sense of humor, I really like the term “ice camp”. It sounds more fun (it was very appropriate given the weather), and folks still know what you mean. Usually. The chickens and geese were for us, and the 13 turkeys yielded #375.4 of hanging weight bird (looks like what you buy in the store). The final price per pound was $4.05lb. There were two ‘weight groups’ the #21-#23 range (all the hens) and the #31-#35 range (all the toms). Bingo.
The biggest was #34.9 and the smallest was #21.4 which was much more in the range of what we were looking for. We typically host between 15 and 23 folks for Thanksgiving, and we like leftovers. The Royal Palm heritage birds we typically raise are #8 to #16, and go through a little more feed (per lb) and a longer grow out (more of our time moving fencing, water, fretting over predator loss) and while they are enough for our meal, there are scant leftovers. So the birds this year were Broad Brested Bronze. There is just no way to get the size without using the hybridized meat birds. And before folks start freaking out, these are not some kind of GMO monster. They are bred the same way your pet poodle was bred, selecting over time for traits that the breeders want.
Our birds were brooded in our spacious brooder box until they had enough feathers to handle nights without the heat lamp. Then they did a few rounds in the pasture pens, kept safe at night, and moved every day onto fresh grass. Once they had gotten a little bigger, (no longer a grab bag meal for passing birds of prey) they got moved out into the portable fencing. Moved every few days onto fresh grass. We fed them Organic feed, and they grazed like crazy (in fact several had crops full of grass when it was time to butcher them). We processed them on farm, so the furthest they will have traveled, will have been from our farm to your table (well I suppose they came from Idaho as day old chicks, but they were packed in a box smaller than what would fit my work boots, and sent US mail, so I’m thinking the carbon impact there would be minimal).
We wanted to express our thanks, to all our customers, for letting us raise your Thanksgiving turkeys for you. It brings us a lot of joy and satisfaction to know that there are a dozen families out there who will be enjoying what we have cared for, nurtured and loved. The final review will have to wait till Thursday, when we will get a chance to see how they stack up compared to the heritage birds we have had in the past.
If you are interested in getting on the list for next year, click on the link on the right, where it says “interested in the meat and potatoes? Click here to sign up for our news letter”. Deposits and progress payments totaling $85 held folks place in line, with the balance due at pick up. We will be sending out a newsletter in the spring when we are ready to dive into another season of gobblers, it will have the prices for 2014, important dates and other information… We will also be offering chickens again in 2014, and will most likely have pigs as well.