Happy New Year from the John and Lynette Gessell Family!
With the frigid temperatures, the recent thaw fooling us into thinking it is spring, the passing of Martin Luther King Day, the beginning of a new MN State legislative session, the inauguration of the 45th President of the USA, and on the farm 3 load outs, 3 move overs, and 3 new flock arrivals, along with the completion of the remodeling work on the second floor of one of our brood barns, it is no wonder that “the Holidays” seem like so long ago. Nonetheless, it is our sincere wish that your 2017 will be filled with peace, promise and prosperity.
Our family rang in the New Year preparing for and getting new baby turkeys. The new babies arrived on New Year’s Eve. As I helped the guys brood birds on New Year’s Day, I thought about upcoming blogs in 2017. So much of what we do, how we do it and why we do it is second nature to those of us who are in the business of raising turkeys. I sometimes presume that most everyone else does as well, but of course that is not the case. So thinking about how to best relay the how, what and why of our work is a bit overwhelming.
I will begin with explaining how we get a new flock. We are independent turkey farmers so we have all the financial investment in each flock we raise. We purchase the baby turkeys, all of the feed fed to the flock, and we are responsible for all the other inputs related to raising turkeys, fuel, electricity, labor, facilities, etc. Therefore, we do everything within our power to care for each of the turkey in the very best way we are able, so as many turkeys as possible get to market. We want every one of the birds to thrive so we can sell them to Jennie-O Turkey Store, get paid for them and make a living.
To get new baby turkeys, called poults, the barn is set up, which means the brood barn or starter barn is carefully prepared for the new turkeys poults.
The barn is clean and warm, ready to accept baby poults that are generally only 24 hours hatched out of the egg when they arrive at our farm. The temperature in the barn on day one is a warm 86-92 degrees. Notice the cardboard pens.
The pens are designed to keep the baby turkeys close to the warmth of the brooder stoves and to have easy access to fresh feed and cold water. After all, they are tiny babies and need a comfortable nursery, as little stress as possible, frequent feedings and many little sips of water. The bedding is sunflower hulls which are clean and fresh for each new flock.
Baby poults are delivered from the hatchery in a climate controlled truck. When the truck arrives at the farm, it backs up to one of the main entrances to the barn.
The birds come in plastic boxes of 100.
The boxes are unloaded from the delivery truck and onto a trailer by way of good old fashion muscle.
When the moving trailer is full, it is pulled to the far end of the barn with a utility tractor.
The next step is to place the baby birds into the prepared pens. The plastic sections are removed from the box , the box is walked to the pen, placed onto the floor and quickly and gently the birds are scooted out of the box into their new home.
The babies very quickly find the water and the feed and in no time at all are settled into life on the farm.
Over the course of the next five to seven days the birds will receive intense care and oversight. Stay tuned!
(Tweet me @LynBackGess!)