Let's Talk Turkey

Let’s Talk Turkey

With Thanksgiving almost here, we wanted to share what we’ve learned about turkeys.  If after reading this, you'd like to reserve one of our birds, you can do it here.

Just like all livestock, the main choices when raising (or eating) livestock are breed, feed & environment.

Turkeys in Canada are also supply managed, meaning that to raise more than 50 you have to purchase quota because the Turkey Farmers of Canada carefully manage how many turkeys are available at any one time.

We, like most small farms, do NOT have quota and so only have 50 birds to raise.

Breed

99% of turkeys, and likely every turkey most of us have ever eaten, is a variety known as the broad-breasted white turkey that was selectively bred to put on as much breast meat as possible in as short of time as possible.  These birds are DUMB. It’s no joke that they will drown in a rainstorm or die of thirst if you move their water dish. A great choice if you’re raising them in a barn

Like all of our animals, we raise them outside.  So we needed a variety that is hardy & smart, capable of seeking shelter in bad weather and foraging for themselves.   We chose the Artisan Gold which traces its heritage to the  Landes, Aquitaine region of France,  and continues to reflect this region’s dedication to taste and uncompromising quality.

It is a rare breed that is small in size and slow growing.  It thrives in a free-range or alternative environment where it can express natural behaviours while maintaining a high health status. This turkey offers a robust, hearty taste that is unique in the traditional turkey market.

Feed & Medications

Our philosophy is that if we’re raising animals as part of maintaining healthy soil on our farm, then it’s important that their feed comes from farms that are also committed to healthy soil.  Our turkeys get certified organic grains to go along with the apples & sunflowers that grow on our farm.

Certified organic is guaranteed to be non-GM and grown without highly toxic chemicals.  That’s important to us. It also means no medications & no antibiotics. No turkeys are raised with growth hormones.

Environment

Our turkeys thrived being outside.  They spend most of their time in a large flight pen, where they can stretch their wings and roost while not having to worry about the coyotes.  On nice days, we let them loose and next year we’ll be training a couple of herding dogs to help us round them up. Instead of us bringing the wild apples to them, we want them to go to the wild apples.

Price

Of course, all of this comes at a cost that results in our turkeys being $9/lb.  Which for a 10lb bird means $90. At the end of the day, we’re raising turkeys in an attempt to preserve the genetic diversity of our food supply and hopefully so that the people who want an alternative to mass-produced meat can enjoy something with more taste & less environmental impact.  In case you thought we were getting rich off these birds, here’s a breakdown of what it costs:

Item

Cost Per Bird

Notes

Baby Turkeys (Poults)

$7.40

Day-old poults

Processing

$8.00

If less than 20lbs (more when over 20lbs)

Feed

$40.00

Certified organic grains

Equipment & Supplies

$5.40

Feeders, bedding & fight pen repairs

Labour

$24.00

One hour per day for 6 months

Land, Utilities, Misc

$6.00

Portion of mortgage, insurance, fuel, market vendor costs, etc...

Total:

$90.80


Cost of Turkey Pie Chart