Thanksgiving turkey, Raise or Hunt?

Homegrown Thanksgiving challenge update, Turkey edition

Young Bronze turkeys staying warm

“What if our Thanksgiving dinner included only the things that we provided for ourselves?”

That question triggered the first Inspired to Try challenge, now we had a big decision to make.

The turkey is usually the star of the show so do we hunt a turkey or raise a bird? Chris hunts, but we don’t take hunting lightly. He’s never turkey hunted and we don’t have any friends locally who could take us under their wing. BTW, those birds have great eyesight and hearing. Turkey hunting, we’re told, is trickier than it sounds.

What if we try hunting and don’t get one? Where will we house a turkey that we raise? Where do we get a young turkey to raise? These were questions that we grazed on until, out-of-the-blue, one Sunday our friends called us to ask, “Would you like us to pick you up a turkey? We are headed to pick some up for us. How many do you want?”

We didn’t wake up “turkey owners, but that changed quickly.

So there it was. We did not know waking up that day that we’d be turkey owners. Our friends picked up a few Bronze turkeys and kindly offered to keep our baby turkeys until they were a bit bigger. This way they could huddle together under a heat lamp and grow a bit. This would give us time to build a turkey coop, if we wanted, or wait to use the chicken tractor that is housing our young birds ‘almost’ ready for the big coop. What exactly were we going to do? We were not turkey owners yesterday, but today we are.

As budding homesteaders, we are becoming more aware of the resources around us. We noticed our new neighbors had a dumpster full of good lumber from the house they were building. After talking directly with the owner, we were given permission to take some scrap lumber (Chris really had his eye on a handful of wooden pallets). We took what we needed and a small coop was mostly built in an afternoon. We’re now working on the finishing details. It is a satisfying feeling to put to use building material that didn’t cost a dime to us and would have otherwise wound up in a landfill. Sometimes you just have to ask.

We have never raised turkeys before. This will be a ‘learning by living’ experience for us.

We love how neighbors help neighbors.

The funny thing is, when you start talking to people about what you are up to, people love to share what they know or are curious and ask questions.  One neighbor told us that he grew up on a turkey farm of over 5,000 turkeys. His family raised and processed them for profit. Homesteading or farming has a way of bringing people together. It starts out as information and tends to lead into good stories. There is a connectedness among people who work to provide for themselves and a wonderful sharing that takes place verbally and also through trading goods or services. It is nice how it all weaves together, even though we didn’t have all of the details worked out at the very beginning.

1 Comment

  1. […] for November- and foods that can be grown in cooler weather to lead us into our Thanksgiving feast. We’re raising a pair of turkeys so, fingers crossed, the main course should be as difficult as keeping our birds alive and fattening […]

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