Thanksgiving Turkeys

Turkeys are back for 2017!  New for this year, our birds will be fresh for Thanksgiving, not frozen!

After two to three weeks in the brooder, our Thanksgiving turkeys spend the rest of their lives outside, on fresh pasture.  Turkeys are eager foragers, and they love nothing better than stalking bugs in the grass.  Our turkeys cost $4.50/lb* and weigh between 12 and 24 lbs.  We offer delivery to North Chevy Chase MD,  Purcellville VA, Petworth DC or Alexandria, VA for an additional 50 cents per pound.

To reserve your turkey, click here for our online store.  Your turkey deposit of $20 is non-refundable, and counts toward the total purchase price of your turkey, due at pick-up.

For information about our Thanksgiving turkeys, please contact us at openbookfarm@gmail.com or 240.457.2558. Please read our FAQs below, and also check out Our Growing Practices for more information about how we keep our turkeys – and our other animals – happy, healthy, and drug-free.

*we offer a $.50/lb discount for any customers who do not have a size preference

 

Turkey FAQs

1) What size ranges do you offer?
You can reserve a turkey in one of three size ranges: 12-18 pounds, 15-21 pounds, or 18-24 pounds.  Or you can take whatever we’ve got, and we’ll give you a $.50/pound discount.  Because we process the birds fresh for Thanksgiving and won’t know what we’ve got until the day before you get it, we cannot guarantee specific sizes, and instead offer a range.

2) Do you raise any heritage breed turkeys?
At this point, we do not.  Heritage breed turkeys grow at approximately half the speed of the broad breasted white, and therefore require approximately twice the feed and twice the labor to raise.  We must pass those additional costs on to the customer.  If you are interested in purchasing a heritage turkey at a price around $8.50/lb, please let us know.  With sufficient customer demand, we would certainly consider it.

3) When you say “pastured” what does that mean?
When our turkeys are very young and vulnerable poults, we raise them in our barn alongside our baby chicks in the warmth of a “brooder.”  After two or three weeks, we move the birds outside into our portable, floorless shelters, which we move once or twice daily onto fresh grass.  By the time the chickens have reached a slaughter weight, the turkeys are big and savvy enough that they no longer need as much protection.  We then cordon off a section of pasture with electrified poultry netting and transfer the turkeys into it.  We move them onto fresh pasture every 2-3 days.

4) Do you feed your turkeys organic grain?
We do not feed any of our turkeys organic grain.  We buy our non-GMO turkey feed from a local non-organic farm. We would be happy to give only organic feed to a group of our animals if there is sufficient customer demand. The prices would be about 50% more than what we charge now. Please let us know if we should record your interest.

5) I’ve heard that turkeys are fantastically stupid; how do you keep your turkeys from dying ?
Though they have a reputation for stupidity, turkeys are in fact quite intelligent.  Turkeys are extremely social animals and learn by watching other birds.  For example, many farmers will tell you that turkey poults have a high mortality rate.  We solve this by raising our turkey poults alongside our broiler chicks.  (We got this idea from Sheri Salatin, now of Polyface Farms). The broilers “teach” the turkeys where to find the water and the feed.  As the turkeys grow up, they learn more and more, and they quickly surpass their chicken teachers.

That said, any domesticated poultry animal has a certain amount of inherent vulnerability, which we attempt to mitigate by keeping a livestock guard dog.  Our Great Pyrenees, Patou, was raised on a farm and treats all of our livestock as his charges.  While he is extremely friendly toward humans, he considers all wild animals (except turkeys, funnily enough) as threats to his territory.  Patou does a great job of keeping our fields free of coyotes, foxes, local dogs, and we think he reduces the numbers of groundhogs and deer.

One response to “Thanksgiving Turkeys

  1. Pingback: No Turkeys from Smith Meadows this year | Smith Meadows