Thursday, November 8, 2012

Turkey Field Trip 1: The Brooder Coop!

Ladybird Ln Turkey Month
*Please note that I am a school teacher so if I sound like I am taking a group elementary students to a tour of our farm, I come by it honestly.*
Today I am going to take you on a field trip to the brooder coop!  I hope you don't mind my friends from Mali, Africa are going to join us! The broader coop is a large barn that we first start raising the turkeys in!
Let me first give you a little background on the farm.  We buy our turkeys when they are one day old, and raise them until they are ready for market.
There is so much to do to prepare for the little turkeys to come!  The brooder coop needs to be cleaned, sanitized, repairs need to be made, new turkey bedding is put down (this is soft wood shavings), feeders and the waters need to be cleaned, the temperature needs to be nice and warm for the turkeys, etc., etc.

My kids like to  help clean the feeders,  then put them on our four wheeler trailer, and then we put them strategically around the brooder coop.
We fill the little feeders with feed, which is a big job when you are feeding 15,000 turkeys!
My kids will help fill the buckets for their mom and dad to carry and go feed... until they get bored, then they usually just play with the Tonka trucks we bring in the shed for them to play with! 
New feed is put in the manual feeders every day the first week, after that the automatic feeders are used. The red things you see in the pictures are where turkeys get water. 
We are now ready for baby turkeys or poults! If a turkey has a 'cute' age, the first week would be it!  When you enter the broader coop, which holds around 15,000 turkeys the first thing you will notice is it is HOT!  For the baby turkeys or poults, they need it nice and warm.  So the temperature in this barn is around 90 degrees, and fairly humid.
I go in the barn and it feels hot, but my husband and father-in-law can go in the turkey coop and can sense if the temperature and air flow are right.  By observing the turkeys and feeling the air they can tell what levels need to be adjusted, etc.  This sense comes from years of experience.  The turkeys in the brooder coop are checked 3-4 times per day.

Additionally, the broader coop has a computer that lets you know the temperature, humidity levels, etc. We have an alarm on the brooder coops and every barn on our farm that lets us know if they run out of feed, if the water stops for some reason, if it gets to hot, etc. We can also see the controllers on our computer at home, or any computer in the world! Nothing is better then checking the barn in person, but this helps us know they are Ok, when we are other places, or if there is a potential problem.
The brooder coop is a very safe and clean environment.  My kids love playing with the turkeys, they learn how to hold them carefully and be very gentle.  You also have to be quiet in the brooder coop you scare the turkeys if you are loud or scream.

If you notice in some of the pictures, the brooder coop has three sections.  Each section is a different flock. The turkeys will stay in the brooder coop for five weeks, and then we move them to three different grow out barns, according to flocks.  The turkeys grow so fast they could not possibly stay in the brooder coop for more than five weeks, they have out grown it!
This is one of my favorite family pictures in the baby turkeys!

I feel like I need to add a note that says, our kids are very little.  We by no means force them to work and help us, they are still at the age where they love to help.  We find jobs that they are able to do.  They usually like to help for about half hour to an hour, and then they just play.  I love that they have the opportunity to learn to work along side their mom and dad.
Thanks for visiting our farm!
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  1. This is so cool Carlee! Having worked at a chicken farm for one summer while in high school, this brings back lots of memories! Very fun! Thank you! I must say, it's A LOT of work!!!! And there are NO days off! The birds require constant monitoring. What a fun place for the kids to grow up! Do they ever want to keep one as a pet? I always tried to save the runts this way! LOL! Kind of like Fern on Charolette's Web! :) One of the harder lessons of farming....but boy aren't those Turkey's yummy for the holidays! ;)Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Oh my gosh! This is great. We farm but no animals (winter too harsh and snow too deep). However, I was raised on a cattle ranch. As a kid, my Dad used to herd turkeys (1920's) outside on a horse. They had individual pens scattered around for shelter for their 350 turkeys. That was a lot in those days. They paid off their mortgage raising turkeys!

  3. I love this post. Such a great environment to raise a family. Thank you to all the farmers out there for feeding us!

  4. This is awesome and I love the fact that you let the kids help out. You are teaching them a valuable less in life. Can't wait to read some more about your farm. Blessing to you and your family.

  5. OH wow! Thanks for sharing this Carlee!!! It's so interesting to learn more about what you guys do on a turkey farm! :)

  6. This is so interesting. Thanks so much for sharing. I think it is so fun that your kids can be involved too. I had no idea how much work went into Turkey farming! Thank you! I love turkey!

  7. WOW, that's so interesting. I homeschool my kids and we are going to do a unit on turkeys next week so this will be PERFECT!
    I found you on Creative Me Monday blog hop.
    Hop over and say HI if you get a chance.Jennifer from Just Wedeminute--

  8. We did this back in 2008! But my uncle Dirk got his turkey drunk and then hung it upside down and then cut it's throat. It was a little gruesome.

  9. Absolutely wonderfully done, Carlee! Loved the tour and love the way you write!

  10. Love the tour! The baby turkeys are so cute and your kids are adorable!

  11. Stumbled into this and found interesting. Lovely way of education and precious time with kids.


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