About a month ago we decided that it would be a good idea to rear some turkeys for Christmas. We did our usual research and found a ‘local’ (well, next county over) breeder who was selling Norfolk Black turkey chicks.
We didn’t set out to get Norfolk Blacks, all we really wanted were some chicks from a reputable breeder, however as we did more research we began to realise the importance of this breed. The breed is on the RBST Watchlist, as are all turkey breeds, and they are all listed as priority breeds. This means that they run the risk of becoming endangered. Initially, we thought this was a bit odd as there are lots of people breeding these turkeys. However if you’re breeding them to eat them, then their numbers are never going to increase!
Our chicks were a few days old when we bought them and came from Cornwall Turkeys – a turkey/smallholding heaven! The level of organisation (and bio-security) there is fantastic and we had no doubts that we’d gone to the right place. Pam from Cornwall Turkeys refers to the chicks as chickadees and they do seem to respond well to this. We’ve nicknamed them the Twerkys (after a bit of a slip of the tongue), but chickadee is much more endearing and suits them down to the ground – at the moment!
Having hatched eggs and reared chicks before we were pretty sure we’d have a handle on things. While the practice with turkeys is not dissimilar there are some things that we didn’t know, such as how mashed up egg makes as treat for them and helps to keep them tame. When they are bigger, they can even have porridge!
Picture wise; the top picture is what happens when six chickadees (one out of shot) snuggle under the heat lamp with tummies full of egg. Yes, when they fall asleep they do slump into a little feathery pile! The lower picture is a photogenic chickadee, still small enough to fit in my hand!