The Definintion of Farming

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Unpredictable. Last night as we were falling asleep, Myles and I we were doing a baby turkey count (called “poults”) and we thought that we were on the right track for having the target number of poults to raise for Thanksgiving ’09.  This morning we woke up and realized that  the latest tragedy occurred last night while we were sleeping: the heat source in the barn where we raise the poults stopped heating at some point during the night last night.  It was a clear March night in New England, low in the lower 20’s.  We lost eleven poults to the cold.

We will make up for the loss by either purchasing more poults from a hatchery later this spring, or try to make do with less.

The tragedy is very, very sad.  I cannot figure out why the heat was working fine late last night, and then wasn’t by early this morning. Life is so fragile.  Myles and I are very distraught over the loss of the little lives. We have spent over 840 hours on each poult we lost in getting them to today. And then it was cut short.  Just like that.

Economically the poults we lost were worth over a hundred dollars to us if we were to sell them as poults, and they were worth nearly half again that number if we were to try to replace them – which cannot be done as easily as placing a phone call or web order.

Yes, we are realists as far as that goes: we know that we are raising a bird that is nearly impossible to find on the open market — hence, nearly impossible to replace, and we know that accidents happen, and we know that accidents and errors are just parts of life.  Got that.  It doesn’t make the heat loss last night feel any better to me today.

In our periodic rehashing of the numbers: we have about 17 healthy poults on the ground now.  Yes, they could die tomorrow, but right now they are alive.  There are about 20 more turkey eggs in the incuabor currently.  We have more than 40 chicken eggs in the incubator. There are about 12 duck eggs in the incubator.  We have more than 6 broody turkey hens sitting on more than 20 eggs between them.. I have no idea how those eggs are doing as we don’t dare move the ladies.  We should see some of those eggs hatching soon if they will be hatching.  Purchases:  we have  20 Pilgrim goslings coming, as well as  20 Burbon Red poults and 15 Bronze poults coming.

  1. We had a similar incident last year. The day our 15 poults arrived from the hatchery, our power went out. It was a cold April day and we had just put the little guys in the brooder. The only thing I could think of to do was make hot water bottles out of old milk cartons. We reheated the water on the propane stove and switched out the water bottles every 20 minutes for about 5 hours!

    They survived somehow.

    I always worry about the power going out in the brooder at night. Sorry to hear about your poults.


    • We forget the bad times by the time we get to October and November. When we get to February next year, I will think about your situation, Perri — making heat-sink containers of water — that is brilliant. I am going to employ that method in my seedlings in the cold frames, so why not with the birds as well? Geez…

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