Look at my crusty little stinkbutts now.
This picture was taken this morning before I left for work. I’m home now and I swear to god they’re even bigger and more homely lookin’. But it’s raining so I’m not going to attempt another photo session. Egads I cannot wait for these little monsters to be out in the tractor. And I have no doubt that they’ll be ready to go in another week. They’re starting to peck at me when I reach in there and a few brave turkeys are trying to fly (but thankfully not succeeding) out the door when I open it. I can now confidently say to any of my squeamish friends who ask me “Aw, how can you eat them after raising them since they were little chicks?” that I will have no problem whatsoever.
As for the deep bedding method, it’s working okay. We’ve done a total clean-out once since we got them, and we’ll do at least one more before they move into the tractor. We have been adding new wood chips every day, because they manage to drain their water fonts into the litter several times a day, making a soggy smelly mess. They’ve gone through probably 15 lbs of feed at this point (rough estimate). I reaaaaaally hope we make it through week ten with the feed we’ve got. There are other places to get organic feed (for a million dollars) nearby, but no place that offers soy free organic feed, which is what we are feeding them now. Being able to say they were raised soy-free adds to their value, at least to those folks who are trying to avoid or cut down on their consumption of soy. (For a little more information on why anyone might want to eat less soy, click here.) So it would be a real drag to end up feeding them soy-based feed right before slaughter. We are currently looking into alternative feeds such as fodder and BSF (black soldier fly) to supplement their feed starting around week 7. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!