Talkin' Turkey: Trip Leads to Unplanned Poultry Purchase

| 6/21/2018 8:39:00 AM

One of our Broad-breasted Whites

Three weeks ago, I noticed a sore on my son’s Boer doe’s cheek. I hollered at my husband, Matt, to go out to the barn to take a look at Mae’s cheek to see what he thought it was. At the first quick glance, I thought it was an engorged tick, with the surrounding skin inflamed and swollen. After determining it wasn’t a tick, but some kind of cut that had become infected, Matt decided that we needed to make the 25-mile trek to the farm-supply store to buy medicine for the wound.

Once there, he headed off to the medicine cabinet, and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the troughs of chicks by the feed section. “I’ll be over here when you’re done,” I called out to him. You know I can’t resist taking a peek at the lil' peepers!

So, I made my way around the troughs, seeing the usual breeds sold at these types of stores: Golden Buffs, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, and the Cornish meat birds. This store also had Pekin and Khaki Campbell ducklings. And, finally, I saw two troughs with clearance stickers: the turkeys!

I could not believe the price on the clearance sign: $1 each. (Gasp!) Over the years as a poultry producer for farmers’ markets, I have raised a fair share of turkeys for our customers’ Thanksgiving feast. (I’m sure it was a fun story for them to tell their families because I’d arrive at our swanky special holiday market with a vanload of frozen turkeys. Like, yes, I actually got this turkey out of a van in the shopping center parking lot. Can you believe that?)

Now, I usually spent $7 - $8 per turkey chick when purchasing from a hatchery. It’s a huge expense in my poultry budget, and I would have my customers prepay so I would have the money to purchase feed and processing. Let me tell you, it costs us about $50 just to raise a turkey, from chick to processing, and that doesn’t account for licensing, insurance, market fees, etc.

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