A few days ago the 2020 poultry year began. We received our early batch of turkeys. We start these a few weeks earlier than chickens because they stay in the brooder for about 5 weeks as opposed to 3 weeks for chickens. That puts them going out on pasture mid/late March. Hopefully we will be a little dryer by then. For those first few weeks the baby turkeys are housed in a brooder that is kept nice and warm. They have fresh water and feed available all the time. As you can see from the picture, we even cook up some of our pasture raised eggs for them. This helps get them off to a good start, and provides a wonderfully balanced nutrient profile. Before they near 5 weeks of age we will start weaning them off of the supplemental heat, until they live comfortable in the brooder with no heat. When they are ready to go out to pasture we watch the weather closely, as the first several days outside are critical. We want moderate temps with little/no precipitation when they are placed on pasture, allowing them to learn the process of living on pasture with no unnecessary stress.
As you can tell this is an exciting time of year for us. Winter seemed short, but we are ready to get back at it. We learn some things every year that make us better, and we are ready to implement those ideas. It is so invigorating when the farm pastures are full of poultry doing the things they were meant to do, eat grass, scratch, peck, dust bath, and run around.