It’s been a hard start to the year for all, with the Beast from the East one, two and even three depending who you speak to, and it felt like cold weather would never relent. But then finally summer arrived briefly in spring to put a smile on everyone’s face, but now, we have the best news of all. Our wonderful turkey poults are here! That’s right folks, it’s time for those long nights to begin for our husbandry team.
Turkey Fact! Did you know, we give the poults 24 hour care in the first few weeks of their life as they find it very hard to acclimatise once they’re hatched?
But before I tell you all about the arrival of the turkeys, let me tell you what’s been happening here at Kings Coppice Farm. We started the year with a number of projects to keep us busy. Although we’d love to be able to grow our turkeys all year round, there are some big benefits to not doing so. For instance, at the beginning of each year, we are able to muck out all our polytunnels and sterilise all our sheds. Now this doesn’t sound exciting but it means we reduce the chance of disease and can allow our land to rest before we use it again. Instead of using lots chemicals, we actually use the frosts which happen during the year to disinfect the site.
It also gives us the opportunity to plant further cover for the turkeys and trim all the cherry trees, which, would be a much bigger job with all those inquisitive turkeys around. It’s also great time for us to sit down and see what improvements we can make for the coming year as we are always focusing on how we can improve the welfare of our turkeys. If you didn’t spot it last year, we had some musical instruments in their pen last year. As they are naturally inquisitive, they loved making noise and keeping themselves entertained, who wouldn’t.
We do have other friends on our farm who we of course don’t forget about. Many of you will have already seen our fox wardens or more commonly known as alpacas and last year they did an outstanding job keeping the foxes at bay. And they continue to guard the pens even when the turkeys aren’t here. They looking rather smart at the moment since we gave them a much needed haircut ready for the summer. As you can imagine, it can get pretty warm under those wool jacket. Lucky we have all those cherry trees!
Do you remember Patch, our Turkey Puppy if you haven’t seen her, she has been working hard to make friends with Kes (our Turkey Dog) but she has a long way to go. It’s very much a Fly and Babe situation. If you haven’t watched Babe, it’s a great one for the family this Christmas.
Now, where were we? That’s right, the exciting news, the poults are here. Farmer Manager Steve has worked with us for nearly 21 years and during that time he has worked to improve how the birds are cared for. It starts with preparing their bed and giving them an extra thick layer of shavings that wouldn’t even give Princess Pea something to complain about. His team then makes sure they have constant access to food and water and if they need it, show them how to reach it. Yes all of the poults if they need it and that’s a lot of chirping mouths! They are kept around heat lamps is small groups and slowly but surely they will acclimatise to their surroundings. Caffeine is in high demand during the first couple of weeks.
Turkey Fact 2 – Did you know there are only 2 hatcheries in the UK that produce Traditional British Turkeys? And in the 1970’s there used to be 11. Now most farms use commercial breeds and there are very few people doing things the traditional way now.
We hope you enjoyed learning a little but more about our turkeys and will come back to hear what happens next.