Farm Chronicles: Jive Turkey


I accept the fact that I am now a crazy chicken lady. I have two incubators that are in constant use. I love hatching chicks. Every 21 days, I can have a new batch of fuzzies. I understand their language now. I am one with my flock.

In celebration of my 41st name day, I decided that I needed to level up on the poultry spectrum. I have dealt with disease, death, housing issues, hurricane preparation for animals, feed requirements, predators, and the occasional culls required for any farm operation. I’ve learned a lot since last July.
I bought some baby turkeys. Of course, they are cute and fluffy just like chicks, though slightly bigger.

I bought two heritage breeds, meaning they are pure bred and slow growing comparative to hybrid turkeys that you buy in the store. Instead of slaughter in 4 months, these will take 6-7 months to achieve the heft required for a good meal.

I tossed them into the brooder with my current batch of chicks. From the start they began to bully and peck at every surface and every chick. It is important to note that for this project, I have been brooding chicks in the claw foot tub of my master bath. It’s easy to maintain and clean and the chicks are safe from predators. It was a great idea until… turkeys.

On the first night at around 1AM, I was woken by loud insistent peep from the bathroom. I sleep with a fan to cover any unwanted noise from roosters (who will crow day or night for no reason at all.) The sound was the same timbre of a smoke detector with low batteries. Piercing and unceasing. Then, all the turkeys began a call and response worship session, a chorus of round singing to the poultry Gods. This lasted for 30 minutes. I fell asleep again only to be woken by the ‘Jive Turkey Singers’ repeating their show every hour and a half, all night long.

By the end of the first week, I learned to turn the box fan to the highest setting and shove a towel at the crack under the door. Adapt, improvise, overcome is our motto in this house. Things went well until yesterday…

Waking and expecting to have my ritual morning pee, I was instead met by 8 tiny turkeys at the door. They all gave me identical side eye before scattering to the winds. Bladder full, I chased tiny fluff butts hoping to catch them all before the dog joined the chase. Second lesson, turkeys are precocious and fly earlier than chicks.
They now live outside on my front porch in comfortable, covered
accommodations. This should be an interesting 6 months.


Yolanda McGee View All →

An escape from the suburbs and corporate America spawned a journey into rural living. Writer, wife, mother, and local chicken lady, join me as I fail, fail, fail! and learn along the way.

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