Turkey Bedding Tips

Meadowlark Turkey Bedding Tips

How we save on our shavings costs:

  • Turkey bedding can be a big expense for farmers these days. When there is a small margin to make money in this industry, it pushes us to get creative on how we structure our clean outs (turkey bedding) routines. The question is, do you prepare a full clean out for each flock?
  • Here at Meadowlark Turkeys we have designed a schedule on how we address this. Partial clean outs is where we feel we are being the most effective. This is nothing new for us, we have been doing partial clean outs for a long time! In our research, we also see that it has been an active part in our success with raising Antibiotic-Free (ABF)  birds. With partial clean outs we are introducing our birds to healthy bacterias which strengthen their little immune systems.
  • With partial clean outs we will add shavings between flocks. Our brooder barn (where the young turkeys are) will get fresh shavings but for our finishers (for adult birds) we will reuse what is dry, remove what is wet (under waterlines, feedlines, ect) and add in our used brooder barn shavings. Every so often if needed do to weather conditions we will add brand new shavings with the mix of used bedding.
  • This is what works for us here at Meadowlark but we understand for many, this isn’t always feasible. It will depend on your own situation. This has been, however, a very cost effective strategy for us.
  • As for our success in the ABF world, we feel this strategy has helped strengthen the immune systems of our birds as they are exposed to healthy bacterias. Too clean isn’t always good – bacteria in animals as well as humans help strengthen our antibodies to fight disease and illness.

If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comment section or send them to info@minnesotaturkey.com!

Meadowlark Turkey Bedding Tips

Turkeys and DDGs

A note from Minnesota Turkey: this post below was original written by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, one of our allied members.We thought we would share it here and see what you think. If you’re a turkey farmer, do you use DDGs in your turkeys’ diet? Feel free to use the comment section to let us know!

Turkey and DDGs

November was National Turkey Month and in conjunction with that, we take a look at the benefits of DDGS diets for turkeys. Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association

Minnesota is presently the largest turkey producer in the United States and Minnesota’s turkey farmers raise approximately 46 million birds annually.

Meanwhile, DDGS, used as a high-protein animal feed, has been growing in popularity as an alternative to corn and soybean-based animal feed. In 2016, Minnesota produced 3.5 million tons of DDGS.

Dr. Sally Noll with the University of Minnesota, a leading turkey and DDGS researcher, reported that turkeys fed diets with 20 percent DDGS had better gain and similar feed efficiency as compared to turkeys fed the diets without DDGS.

Furthermore she said that DDGS were found to decrease diet cost per ton of feed and to decrease cost per unit of gain in grower hen turkeys. Cost savings from DDGS ranged from 2 to 4 cents per pound of gain during a 2014 trial.

In a different feeding trial, she found that feed/gain ratios tended to increase with DDGS inclusion. And that corn derived DDGS can be an economic source of available phosphorus. In addition she wrote that the use of high levels of both animal byproduct and DDGS could replace a considerable quantity of soybean meal protein.

The U.S. Grains Council states that up to 20 percent DDGS can be included in turkey tom grower or finisher diets. They also noted that when high protein levels are fed, diets containing 15 percent DDGS can improve growth performance. The Council also confirmed that feed conversion improved from 77 to 105 days of age as dietary DDGS level increased.

Additionally, a study by the University of Minnesota and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Zagazig University in Egypt concluded that turkeys fed the DDGS diet were significantly heavier than those fed the corn-soy diet at both the fifth and eight week of age. It was also once again confirmed that the average daily feed intake and feed/gain rates were improved in diets with DDGS.

Finally, the U.S. Grains Council notes that the high energy, mid-protein and high digestible phosphorus content in DDGS make it an attractive partial replacement for some of the more expensive and traditional energy (corn), protein (soybean) and phosphorus (mono-or dicalcium phosphate) used in animals feeds.

Source: Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association

Tasty Turkey Meatballs

Tasty Turkey Meatballs via MinnesotaTurkey.com
I thought I would share this very quick and easy recipe I use for Christmas — it’s healthy, lean, and delicious … the perfect turkey meatballs! I can tell you this is one of our family favorites. EVERYBODY raves about this one!
I have finally tweaked this recipe to create a similar texture to ground beef (which many of you are probably used to using). Ground turkey is going to give you lots of high quality  and lean protein! You won’t have to worry as much about your waistline when eating this delicious and healthy recipe. Give this recipe a try and please let me know what you think of it! Your input is greatly appreciated :)
From Meadowlark Farms, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2018!
Turkey Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small to medium onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  •  2-3 garlic cloves (freshly minced)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • Himalayan Salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together; use ice cream scoop to put meatballs onto baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and the turkey registers 165 degrees F. on a meat thermometer.
Healthy BBQ Sauce
  •  1 (15 oz.) Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses
  • 3 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 4 Pinches Red Cayenne Pepper
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium sauce pan over medium-high until mixture reaches a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow sauce to cook until it has reduced and thickened a bit (about 25 minutes). Serve with turkey meatballs immediately. Or set aside to cool for 15 minutes and store sauce in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Why Do We Overproduce in Agriculture? (In Other Words, Eat More Turkey!)

It doesn’t matter what segment of agriculture you are in, or even life in general, when things are going good for us, we tend to want more.  It is just simple human nature.  It doesn’t matter if you raise livestock or sell houses; in general, we seem to always be looking for more.  How to cut costs, how to increase efficiencies, how to market products better; all in order to maximize our profits.  I am not saying this is a bad thing, I am just making a very large generalization that, in our society, we tend to measure success by how much stuff we have including, but not limited to, money.

Can we do what we enjoy doing, cash flow and have a little left over to live on? This is the goal of writing any business plan or business start-up.  There are many levels to this statement based on how large or small the business, whether it is privately or publicly owned and so on and so forth but either way businesses still should be profitable long term.

This is the main reason agriculture overproduces. I think agriculture, and even more specifically animal agriculture, the difference between the good and bad years are so drastic that farmers find themselves ramping up production over a couple of years, to the point of overproducing in the good times, in order to make it through the bad. Again, the human nature thing takes over. Add to this the fact that as processors see the opportunity to make profits, they are quick to agree to, or even ask, producers to increase volume.  Also, many processors are also producers so then there is the ability to make it on both the growing and marketing ends of the spectrum.

As we look to the end of 2017 and 2018, I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the outlook is a little grim in the turkey industry. We are coming off a couple years of pretty good profitability, some better than others but overall, good times. As an industry we increased how many pounds we produced in 2016 and year to date in 2017 compared with to the prior 3 year average and projections through year end seem to stay heading in this same direction.  The “MORE is better”, human nature thing again.

Unfortunately, we are now past the point that our supply of turkey is getting larger than the demand.  Also, other meat industries have also increase their production over the same time so the added supply of all meat proteins is pulling down the value for all producers since it is fairly easy to substitute any animal protein into meals. Because of this, it is easy for shoppers in a grocery store to buy whatever is the cheapest meat to make for their families. This isn’t a big deal for us who raise the animals; my wife and I tend to do the same thing when we are shopping. The problem comes when the price wholesale purchasers and retail consumers are willing to pay is less than the cost to produce, process and market it.  This seems to be where we are or will be heading in the very near future in the turkey industry.

There are many factors that might affect this supply and demand problem going forward but the easiest and simplest way is for the demand to increase in the U.S. and/or export markets. Simply said, please add a little more turkey meats to your normal meal plans whether at home or at a restaurant. And while you’re stocking up for the Thanksgiving meal, take advantage of the supermarket sales and add a second or even third turkey to your cart and then stick these in your freezer at home for use this winter. All of us in the turkey industry would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for reading – and if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to post them here or head over to Minnesota Turkey’s Facebook page and share your thoughts.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s Cookin’ over at the Meadowlark Turkey Homestead? (Instant Pot Recipe!)

Serving Turkey

Hey there! I wanted to do a special post about how our meals look like back at home. ’Tis the season for comfort food as temperatures start to dip. As you already know – we’re turkey farmers so we tend to eat a lot of turkey. Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to share some of my tips and secrets on how to make your juiciest turkey yet! And I’d also like to share with you on why Turkey nutritionally has so much to offer.

Why Eat More Turkey?

Outside the turkey farm I am also a health and fitness coach – I dig deep into which foods give me the most nutrition. As you’ve probably seen, protein has been all over every fitness headline. Protein gets a lot of credit for helping us stay trim and maintaining a healthy weight. Protein repairs the many tears we make after we’ve lifted weights, went for a run, or endured any physical activity. You know that feeling of when you have sore muscles the day after? Your muscles are repairing those tears and need the protein to help heal that process. Protein is muscle food. Why is turkey a great option to include into your regular diet? Turkey offers a high protein content without the excess trans fat like other meat options might offer. White meat is the leanest choice, but even dark meat can be a good choice if you skip the skin. Turkey gives you about 25 grams of high-quality protein, along with B vitamins and selenium.

Turkey Breast is our favorite kind of protein here at Meadowlark Turkeys!

While turkey may be the leanest protein around, turkey breast consumption is usually unfairly confined to Thanksgiving and deli meats. It doesn’t need to be this way! Jennie-O Turkey Store Roasted Turkey Breasts are often readily available in supermarkets alongside rotisserie chickens, making them a simple and fast source of high quality lean protein. Protein (3 oz.): 26 grams.

Here is a great starter turkey breast recipe:

Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Wild Rice Hotdish

Ingredients

2 cups (2 large breasts) of cut-up turkey breast

1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

2 cups carrots OR sweet potatoes

1 1/2 cup cooked wild and brown rice medley

1 1/2-2 tsp seasoned salt

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

Pepper to taste

Steps

I typically brine the fresh turkey breasts for 24-48 hours; however you can easily use turkey breast from the grocer.

Cube your turkey and set aside. While you’re chopping your onion and carrots, set your instant pot to “Saute’” and pour 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, then add your veggies.

Let the onions and carrots simmer for a good 10 minutes. Add your turkey and seasonings, saute for another couple minutes. Then close the lid and seal your pot, press manual for 3 minutes. After this time, you can then add your pre-cooked wild rice medley, saute all ingredients together. It’s a quick and very healthy dish that kids and adults will both appreciate!

Pressure cooker recipes always leave out the details so here’s a breakdown of what you can expect time-wise: About 13 minutes to come to pressure plus 3 minutes cook time and 5 or so to release pressure. You won’t need to be anywhere near your kitchen for this all to partake, the Instant Pot will handle it all! So fabulous, right?

Another great addition to this meal with be sweet root vegetables! Sweet root vegetables (i.e. sweet potatoes, buttercup squash, or butternut squash) are affordable and in season this time of year. I have so many favorites from sweet potatoes to buttercup squash. And turkey is a great protein that blends perfectly with these nutrient dense veggies, too.

If you haven’t tried a recipe like this, I highly encourage you to give it a shot. Let me know what you think!

Ashley

Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Wild Rice Hotdish via MinnesotaTurkey.com

Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Wild Rice Hotdish via MinnesotaTurkey.com

Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Wild Rice Hotdish via MinnesotaTurkey.com

Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Wild Rice Hotdish via MinnesotaTurkey.com

Our Farm Family Moments

Biosecurity is a way of life on our farms.  It is never far from our thought process.

We have come to realize that operational biosecurity is about awareness and action. Awareness of how our actions or inactions may impact flock health. We must have awareness to our clothing, to our footwear, to our vehicles and farm equipment. We have awareness of how close anything gets to the barn and what enters the barn. We have awareness of just how much wildlife, both winged and footed, are around the farms. Our mindset is one of – how does what we do lessen the potential of virus introduction onto the farm and into the flocks in our day to day work on the farm?  We weave biosecurity into each day, teaching it to the next generation, in hopes that for them it will be second nature.

Fact: Biosecurity is now a way of life on the farm and has changed many things about how we do our day to day work. However, we feel strongly that the practice of biosecurity will not stop our family from being close to and enjoying our flocks. We encourage the grandchildren to be involved in taking care of the farm. It is through their hands-on involvement with the farm and livestock that they learn practical skills and responsibility. We believe that it is in the moments of working with and caring for living things when the love of farming takes roots and lasts a lifetime.

We hope you enjoy some of our farm family moments.

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

The Gessell Family. Our children grew up on our turkey farm. They all continue to love the farm and enjoy bringing their children home to the farm. Samantha and JonPaul are now in partnership with us raising turkeys. (Photo, from left: Nick and Marissa with Piper, JonPaul and Samantha with Lawrence and Lillian and Austin.)

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Lawrence just can’t get enough!

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Neither can little Lillian!

Lawrence is  taking instruction from his dad on how to use the feed scoops to feed baby turkeys.

Some skills take practice to master – including feeding the birds!

Cousin Piper comes home to help.

 

On the hunt in the haystack to see if momma kitty had her babies!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

When Cousin Piper comes to see Lawrence, they just have to take a spin around the farm.

 

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Back to work.  Lawrence is in the shop learning to use the vice.

 

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here are Lillian and Lawrence again, check out the flock!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Oh boy, a sewer clog!  Call the pumper truck.

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here is JonPaul enjoying a ride on the lawn tractor with his hands and his heart full!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Our little Viking Granddaughter Lillian enjoying a turkey drumstick.

Our family wishes you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day surrounded by the ones you love!

Lynette and John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Fed Turkeys

Veggie Fed Turkeys via Minnesotaturkey.com

“Do you like that Veggie Feed?”

We’ve been asked many times from consumers and other farmers, “How do you like raising vegetable fed birds?” We’ve heard other farmers not having luck, and they like conventional feed provided. We’ve also been asked, “Do the birds like the feed?”, “What differences have you seen since swapping out conventional feed over to vegetable feed?” We’re happy to say, our birds have adapted well and we think our birds like vegetable feed better. Their guts seem tighter (meaning, their stool isn’t as loose). They seem to be more active, running around more, the litter is drier, and the air quality has improved.

Some have asked, “Do your birds take longer to grow to their optimal weight?” Answer is: Yes. Yes, they take an average of an extra 4-7 days longer to reach their optimal weight.

“Are your feed costs higher?” Yes, our feed costs are just a bit higher however, feed conversion is the same.

Priding ourselves in the ABF market (never treated with antibiotics) we also know the vegetable feed given to our birds has been a major factor in the meat quality. We have to butcher a few turkeys each flock before they go to market. The reason we need to do this is to collect fat and blood sampling so all is approved before selling our birds to consumers. After we collect these samples we then harvest the meat off the bird (as you can imagine, we get to eat lots of turkey!) One major improvement we’ve noticed since converting over to vegetable fed turkey is that we feel the meat/breasts are juicy and much more tender! (Read below for our quick turkey breast recipe).

As we’re in this farming business wholeheartedly, going back to the basics is what we BELIEVE in. Farming in this fashion suits us. We enjoy feeding our turkeys vegetable based feed as we’ve seen many more positives after implementing this farming concept. I thoroughly enjoy talking to other farmers and understanding what works and what doesn’t work – and every farm is a different. “We,” as turkey farmers stick together and take lots of pride in what we do – and we learn from each other.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions below. After all we’re all learning this together, I believe the more we can learn from each other the better we can suit our consumers and industry as a whole. Thanks for taking the time; have a nice day!

Instant Pot Turkey Breasts

Boneless Turkey Breasts in the Instant Pot

  • 1 boneless turkey breast or turkey tenderloin (equivalent to about the same size as a chicken breast)
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or garlic infused oil
  • 2 Tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Cover breast(s) with oil and rub in the seasoned salt.

Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth.

Insert trivet into the pot and place breasts on it.

Place lid on the pot and set vent to SEALING.

Select MANUAL and use the +/- buttons to change time to 4-5 minutes.

When pressure cycle is over, let the pressure release naturally.

Open pot and enjoy your juicy, flavorful turkey!

Raising Antibiotic-Free Turkeys

Hi, my name is Ashley Klaphake – wife of Jon Klaphake. I married into the turkey business; however I had experience growing up on a dairy farm. Jon and I have two kids who are excited about the birds every time they see them. We took over operations at Meadowlark Turkeys LLC near Melrose, Minn., beginning January 1st, 2017 and we employ one person for the time being. Prior to January 1, Jon and his dad, Glen, raised turkeys and over 900 acres in crops. Jon has been raising birds for most of his life.

We are a third generation family farm which was founded in 1972. We raise 250,000 turkeys a year which equates to about 3.6 million pounds per year. We raise a combination of light hens and heavy hens, growth ranging between 13-17 1/2 weeks of age. My roles on the farm can range from brooding on days when Jon needs some extra help along with most of the administrative management tasks.

For our farm, we’ve taken a leap into raising antibiotic-free, vegetable-fed turkeys, which has been a new opportunity for us. We were approached by Jennie-O Turkey Store to raise antibiotic-free, vegetable-fed turkeys back in July 2016. This is part of why I’m excited to start the conversation here on this blog regarding our new adventure and how it’s working for us.

 Our Test Run

We definitely had some learning to do as our barns were raising conventional birds for years and years. Breaking it down to its simplest form, the many different organisms within a barn had to be stripped away. We had to flush out these colonies so we would be successful at raising an antibiotic-free bird to market.

We started our very first brooder barn of antibiotic-free birds in November 2016. We had our first hiccup in December, when we had some turkeys get sick so we found it necessary to humanely treat a barn with antibiotics. We did not want – and never want – to see our birds suffer from being sick. Because of this, we learned we  needed to make a few adjustments regarding timing and dosage of vaccinations along with adding more probiotics. It became clear pretty fast that it takes a lot more finessing the first four weeks of the birds’ life when we are raising an antibiotic-free flock.

Why go through the extra work, you might ask? We feel change is on the horizon and in this moment we are going through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions – on the way we do things on our farm. This is true regarding what some consumers are asking for in the marketplace and also true regarding how all poultry farmers administer and use antibiotics. New guidelines came into play this year, which all poultry farmers adhere to, and for us, we decided this meant an opportunity to move to providing turkey for the antibiotic-free market.

Our turkeys are raised under the label “no antibiotics ever.” And as I noted above, if we do have birds that are sick, they can – and should be – humanely treated with antibiotics. If that would happen, the birds would be raised conventionally and would not be labeled with “no antibiotics ever” in the grocery store.

It’s important to note that ALL turkey you purchase in the grocery store are antibiotic-free. If farmers use antibiotics to treat an illness in a flock, there are required withdrawal times that must be followed before the flock can be processed. All turkey flocks are tested prior to going to market to ensure this is the case.

Jon and I saw an opportunity, an opportunity that could open more doors and help us raise the best turkey possible – which ultimately is the goal of all turkey farmers regardless of their production methods! We have been successfully raising antibiotic-free veggie-fed birds since November and have enjoyed it this far.

I look forward to sharing more about our family farm with you in future blog posts. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please put them in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Ashley

Our Social Responsibility to the Next Generation

I recently attended a workshop put on by AgriGrowth in St. Cloud that was focused on innovative options for attracting potential employees. The concept that today, there are 4-5 generations working alongside each other in the same workplace was talked about at length. I think all of us have heard the terms “Baby Boomers”, “Generation X” and “Millennials” to name a few.  I found it interesting to generalize the changes in each generation versus each other.  To look at the events, technologies, behavioral traits, etc of each group that helped shaped each generation’s values and beliefs, and see how much they all are different from each other.

One of the theories that I found most interesting was how each generation tends to complain about how the generations after them had things easier, don’t have to work as hard, don’t have a good work ethic, and so on. The thing we need to understand is that it is the responsibility of each generation to shape the next. In essence, if prior generations don’t like how future generations behave, then they have failed in showing them the right way or failed in instilling the same values and beliefs as they had. Now I want to be clear, this is definitely stereotyping each group and not everyone in each generation behaves the same way or has the same beliefs. But I know I am guilty of thinking or saying the younger people today either don’t seem to have the same work ethic or drive as people have had in the past, and I am sure many of you have as well. What I have failed to realize is that it might be my fault or my generations fault and not theirs.

Another example of this theory is Frank Martin, the Head College Basketball Coach at South Carolina University.  He is a very demanding and intense coach.  His team enjoyed a successful, and unexpected, run to the Final Four this past March and he was quoted as saying this along the way:

“You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When I hear grown people say that kids have changed. Kids haven’t changed. Kids don’t know anything about anything. We’ve changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly about. We’re the ones that have changed. To blame kids is a cop-out.”

I don’t know exactly what shapes the values and beliefs of each generation of people in this country.  I do know that I have a pretty major role in helping to shape this within my own household and this is something I will not take for granted.  My children are hopefully going to know what it is like to work a little for things they have and also hopefully they will be able to take pride and see what they can accomplish in a good days work.  If they can do this before they move out of our house, I will feel like I have done my part and I encourage each of you to do the same.

 

 

 

Life Lessons from a 4-Year-Old

Lessons from a 4-Year-Old | via MinnesotaTurkey.com

How do we keep kids excited about farming and attract people into this line of work?

I have always been a little of an outside the box thinker when it comes to life. I try my best to stay away from the go with the flow crowd. I had a professor in college who challenged us in an Entrepreneurship class to try and tap into our creative side. I read a book for a project we were working on called “Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fools Guide to Surviving with Grace” by Gordon MacKenzie.  He was a creative designer for Hallmark for 30 years. He refers to the normal corporate culture as a giant hairball and how being able to orbit around that hairball was what kept him sane over his time at Hallmark. In one of the chapters of the book he talks about going into grade school classrooms and asking the children which ones think they are an artist. He talks how in kindergarten every hand goes up and how each grade after, the number of hands goes down until by 6th grade, only a one or two hands go up in the whole class. It is a very interesting read and I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to try to think outside the normal paradigm.

Lessons from a 4-Year-Old | via MinnesotaTurkey.com

Last night, I was checking birds on one of our farms with my youngest son Isaac and for some reason this book popped into my head. He is always asking to go with me into barns and when he gets to, he is the happiest little man on this planet. He is four years old and can ask about 100 questions a minute. He puts on his pink, hand-me-down barn boots and away he goes walking faster than I can and trying his best to talk to and catch the birds so he can feed them.

Lessons from a 4-Year-Old | via MinnesotaTurkey.com

All of our kids have liked to go into barns with me when they were little and as the years go on, that excitement gets less and less, just like the “artists” in grade school. What can we do to keep that same excitement about our work and our day to day lives in general? Also, how do we attract people into our line of work and promote this environment?

Turkey farming is a great life but it is also very demanding. Not too many farms have found the way to work 5 days a week (or even 3-4 days a week like some shift-work jobs allow). Weekends are part of the mix even if you have hired help. The good parts about it are you do have flexibility in your day. Appointments can be made and you can work around them without having to take days off or PTO (paid time off). More often than not, children’s activities can be attended by working ahead the days before or getting up early and/or working late. You get to be outside a lot and are constantly moving around, which I enjoy. And just being able to raise a flock from day of age to market can be an extremely rewarding experience.

I guess we just have to come up with our own ways which making putting on boots and getting into barns exciting. Perhaps lessons from a pink boot wearing 4-year-old can help put us into orbit around the turkey hairball.