I know many of y’all are probably already raising chickens on your homestead, but have you thought about raising heritage turkeys? Obviously, looking into the cost first is essential. If you’re unsure, The Hen House Collection covers the cost to raise chickens, but can you afford to raise a turkey as well?
Now I love all my chickens running around annoying me for food, I mean I swear I can’t turn around without almost stepping on the little buggers. And let’s not even get started on them bum rushing the front door every time I open it (while secretly wishing they would show the same enthusiasm for their own chicken door). As I was watching all my adorable chickens one day I thought to myself ‘You know what I need, an even bigger animal to try and shoo out of my house’. Okay, not really buuut…we all know it will end up happening.
Truth is I like to eat turkeys….they can be super yummy if they are raised well. The ones you buy at the grocery store have nothing on pasture raised heritage turkeys. Besides like cornish cross chickens bred for the meat industry broad breasted white turkeys grow super fast and have a ton of health problems associated with their rapid weight gain. Like their hearts give out and lungs collapse if you don’t butcher them in time. Ummmmmm….no thank you big meat industry, you can keep your franken-turkeys.
Why should you be raising heritage turkeys?
- So reason one, turkeys are adorable! Like seriously their little snoods (that’s the dangly bit on the nose) are so ugly they’re cute. And they are kinda like dogs with feathers, they follow you all around the farm and love scratches.
- They won’t just up and die on you like broad breasted white turkeys. Why is this good, because you can breed them and not have to buy poults every year. Poults go anywhere from $6-$15.
- Since we’re talking breeding, you can sell your heritage poults for $10+ and hatching eggs for around $5+/egg.
- They taste damn delicious but usually come with a serious price tag at the store. Buying a processed heritage pastured turkey can cost you $100 or more. Or y’know you can just buy a poult or 2 let them roam around your yard and solve your bug/rodent/snake problem then eat them.
- You can raise and sell your turkeys to others. Yep, that’s right, instead of paying $100 for a turkey you can sell yours! Raising, butchering, and selling 20 turkeys a year can get you over $2,000. Which more than covers the cost of raising the turkeys.
- All heritage turkeys are on the watch or endangered list. And you guys, that’s really sad. All these beautiful breeds of chickens are making a comeback, and I think turkeys should too!
- They are bug hoovers, Seriously, turkeys thrive on free ranging and can take care of a variety of pest problems, I’ve noticed a distinct decrease in the grasshopper population since I set my 3 poults on the loose. They’ll also eat rodents and some snakes!
These are just some of the reasons turkeys absolutely ah-mazing and I am so excited to have them on my homestead! In the next I’ll tall you all about the different types of heritage turkey breeds.