I am very excited to announce that we finally have turkey hens at the farm! After the first four turkey poults that we bought all grew up to be boys, I began looking for some turkey hens to buy. I wanted them to be the same heritage breed as our boys, which is Narragansett, so that we could raise purebred heritage turkeys if we decide to raise turkeys. I also wanted them to be about six months old so that they were old enough to be certain that they were in fact hens, and also so they would be about the same age as our boys. After a couple of months of searching online, I finally found some turkey hens. They were a bit far away and they were not cheap, but 4 hours and $80 later we were back at the farm with the two turkey hens I began planning for almost a year ago.
For the first week at the farm, the new hens lived in their own enclosure with a poultry net over the top to give them time to adjust to their new home and keep them from flying away. The first few weeks after bringing in new poultry are always a bit of a nervous time, and they are quarantined and watched closely to make sure that they are healthy before introducing them to the rest of the flock. The person we bought the turkey hens from had made a comment about how much turkeys eat, and the hens looked a bit undersized for their age. I couldn’t help but wonder if they hadn’t been fed quite enough at their previous home, and the first few days after we brought them to the farm they were ravenous and seemed to eat constantly. I replenished their food several times a day and gave them a vitamin supplement in their water. After a week of watching them closely, they seemed to be healthy, and they were tame enough that I felt confident they would not fly off into the neighbors trees. We decided it was time to give the girls names, Prudence and Eleanor, and to introduce the girls to the tom turkeys, George and Ringo.
George and Ringo did not pay much attention to their new female companions at first, and whenever we were in with the turkeys the boys would strut and display to us and seemed to ignore the turkey hens. The turkey hens also did not seem too interested in the tom turkeys, although after bossy Ms. Henny the chicken started chasing the turkey hens, the turkey hens began to seek the protection of the tom turkeys. The first week after we introduced George and Ringo to the girls, the boys continued to sleep on top of the turkey coop, and Prudence and Eleanor slept on a lower structure. Tonight for the first time, the boys decided to sleep on the lower structure with the girls. Prudence is a bit friendlier than Eleanor, and Prudence will come running to me for treats and will eat out of my hand. Eleanor is a little more cautious around humans, but I’m sure she will warm up to us with time and a few more treat training sessions. All in all, everyone is getting along well, and we couldn’t be happier with our little turkey flock.