Andrew Mayflower

pollinator
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since Oct 13, 2017
Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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Recent posts by Andrew Mayflower

She's still kicking!

With her level of healing I'm getting close to wanting to reintroduce her to the tom (and the 2 new hens).  I think I'm going to wait until the coop I picked up from friends is off my trailer and in place in the back yard.  Weather has been quite mild, but we've got some freezing weather coming, and with the loss of feathers and fat layer on her back I'm worried she'll be vulnerable to exposure overnight.  With that coop she'll be sheltered from the wind and will at least have the body heat of the other 3 turkeys to ward off the cold.  I'll be locking them all in the coop overnight for coyote protection.

I need that same friend to come up with his 4x4 pickup so we can drive the coop close to its permanent home as it's too heavy to move otherwise.  Hopefully that will be able to happen this weekend.
1 day ago
Agree with the comments on plucking being the biggest difference.  IF you can time your slaughter to when they have minimal pin feathers it helps a ton.  But the week based method mentioned by others is no terribly reliable.  The variation based on climate (and time of year), diet, particular line of the breed, and so on will cause that to vary by easily 1-2 weeks.  If you have a large enough number of ducks you can start by processing one at the early end of the time frame you want and seeing how bad the pin feathers are.  If bad, wait a few days and process one more.  Repeat until the pin feathers are minimal and then process the rest.
1 week ago
So far she's still alive.  Wound looks pretty ugly, but I think it's starting to heal.  Keeping her confined in the garage still.  I don't imagine I'll be able to let her back into the flock with the tom and the 2 new hens for at least another week to 10 days.  I feel bad for her as she must be bored and confused, never mind in some degree of pain.  But, she's eating (and pooping), and runs around the rabbit tractor when I try to get ahold of her to treat the wound.
1 week ago
Quick update.  I found a local farmer with a couple hen turkeys they wanted to sell, so I picked them up to keep the tom company, and hopefully they will be able to breed.  The ones I got are Narragansetts, so any babies would a mix of that and Blue Slate.  

I put the wounded hen in a rabbit tractor in the garage with straw under the tractor (to make cleaning up easy as well give some insulation from the concrete).  That will also keep her out of the worst of the weather given how windy it's been lately.  I irrigated the wound as best I could with saline, then gave it a coating with iodine and then Blue Kote yesterday.  This morning did the iodine and Blue Kote again.  She was kind of sprightly! Got out of the rabbit tractor a couple times while trying to treat her, but given I'd put her in the garage it wasn't too hard to catch her again.  

I'll keep her confined like that as long as she's got that open wound.  Assuming it closes up I'll see how her feathers are looking and possibly put her back out with the other turkeys once I think she'll do well enough outside.  

If she takes a turn for the worse though I'll put her down.  But I'm cautiously optimistic.  I have no compunctions over putting her down, I'd just hate to do that if she has a real chance of making it through.  

On a side note, the farm I got the turkeys from has an overabundance of Katahdin ewes (most if not all of which are pregnant).  In a couple months I'll most likely go back to them to get the sheep to start my flock.
1 week ago
Hen turkey.  Survivor of a coyote pack incursion.  Can she be saved?  See pictures.

Edit to add: only other survivor is a tom.  Will he be ok alone for several months or should we eat/sell him if the hen can’t be saved?
1 week ago
When you don’t have adequate forage you have to feed hay and/or grain.  If you can’t get decent hay you’re kind of stuck with grain.
I've still got 4 toms and 6 hens, but that will fairly soon become 3 toms as I'll process one tom for a late Christmas/early New Years dinner with friends.  Very likely will process one more tom by early spring.  So I should go into spring with one tom and 3 hens each from my Bourbon Red and Blue Slate turkeys (so 2 toms and 6 hens total).  No eggs yet, but given we just passed the Winter Solstice I'm not really expecting to find any until at least mid-February, possibly not until early April.  So I've got a little time, most likely, to figure out an incubator.  But, with the stimulus $$ coming, thinking it's a good idea to start the process.

What are some good incubators to look for good deals on?  And before someone suggests it, my chickens aren't going to be reliable enough to hatch them out, and I won't be getting broody birds like Muscovy ducks anytime soon.  So I need a mechanical incubator.  I figure on an absolute max of 5 eggs a week per hen, and with a 28 day incubation period there's little reason for an incubator over 120 egg capacity.  And even that is likely overkill.  If I only get 3 eggs per hen per week then 72 egg capacity would be plenty.  If for some reason I had a week with more eggs produced by the turkeys than I had incubator space for I could either eat the eggs or sell them to someone else interested in hatching them out.  I'd plan on selling the hatched poults in excess of what I want to raise up personally.
3 weeks ago
Quick update.  When I was away for elk hunting that turkey got tangled in the poultry netting (not hot).  The others pecked him so severely that by the time it was noticed my wife deemed the injuries almost certainly fatal.  So she processed him and I wound up sending him to my parents for Thanksgiving.  As I wasn't there for the dispatch (got home 3 days later) I wasn't able to properly inspect him, but his neck and liver looked very normal when I got home.  

I'm guessing it was some injury rather than any disease that was nearly healed by the time he was dispatched.
3 weeks ago

K Anderson wrote:

K Anderson wrote:We're torn between getting a male/female pair from the same litter now or just one and then add another LGD later, possibly an adult.



To clarify, I'm thinking of getting one male and one female from the same litter, not two males or two females.



I would definitely recommend just getting one puppy now, plus an adult LGD.  Then getting additional puppies later as needed to either increase the protection, or allow for retirement of old dogs.  

If you really think you'll need 3 LGDs in the near-ish term I'd still recommend getting a puppy from a different litter (not necessarily a different breeder) than the neighbor's current litter.
3 weeks ago
Since you need protection NOW, not in a year or more (typical timeline to a puppy being ready for full time independent duty), I'd highly recommend getting an adult, experience, and high quality LGD right away, and then consider a puppy.  For a few reasons.  The adult will be able to start guarding your property once it is settled in.  Then when you get a pup the adult can help train it.  If it starts to show aggression to anything the adult will be a better disciplinarian than you.  

Also, litter mates are rarely a great idea for having multiple dogs.  Especially if both are female, but even if mixed or both male there will be a greater chance of a variety of problems.  Full or half siblings from different litters are probably fine, but I strongly advise against littermates.  If you must go with littermates for whatever reason at least get one male, one female.
3 weeks ago