I can’t believe that it can possibly be that time of year again but it’s safe to say it is. On Friday we took delivery of our turkey flock of 2023! All 1900 of them. That brings the total bird count at Treway to 2050 with the geese.
We buy our poults (official term for turkey chicks) from Farmgate Hatcheries in Essex who breed the world renowned Kelly Bronze turkeys. The poults arrive with us as day old’s so it is quite the adventure for them on day 1 of life!
They travel brilliantly in their specially designed poult boxes and a temperature monitored van. The poults arrived with us at 10.30am and it is then all hands on deck to get them out of the boxes and into their brooding hoops. Charlie and Flora were allowed a slightly late start at school so they could help with the turkeys. It really is our favourite job of the year as a family.
We keep the poults in groups of 300 (sounds a lot but when you look in the hoops you would never believe there were 300!). They are reared to start of with in hoops, the circular shape of the pens means that no birds get stuck in any corners.
Poults like to be kept at a very warm temperature of 37 degrees C for the first two weeks. We use circular gas heaters which distribute an even heat throughout the pen. The temperature is monitored firstly using a laser thermometer. Secondly by monitoring the behaviour of the birds. Too hot and the turkeys will be on the edge of the pens where it is cooler, too cold and the birds will be bundled in the centre. Perfect temp and the birds will be really active and evenly spread across the pen. After two weeks we will gradually reduce the temperature until they are weaned off of heat altogether.
After weeks and weeks of hot dry weather on Friday night at Treway it was wet and blowing an absolute hoolie! Not the ideal weather for day old turkeys. Will and I had to make an extra wall around one pen with shavings bales as the pesky easterly wind was causing a serious draft. The next morning our efforts had paid off as everyone was looking great. Something as small as a draft really could have devastated that pen. Turkeys are incredibly difficult to rear in the first couple of weeks.
Will is incredibly busy in and out of the brooding house on a constant feed and water top up mission! Over the weekend Flora has been his right hand woman, although she spends more time cuddling the poults than topping up feeders.
In other news it was Charlie’s birthday yesterday when he turned 9. Unbelievable to think he is in his last year in single figures. He was absolutely thrilled with his new bike. It wasn’t until he was heading rapidly downhill on the woodland mountain bike track a few weeks ago that he announced his brakes were broken! He thoroughly tested it out with a trip to the Newquay skate park yesterday where Flora also enjoyed bombing around on her scooter. I can foresee us going there on a very regular basis – luckily there is fab coffee van onsite!