Turkeys, we’ve always said, are easy.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. The thing about plants and animals is that they’re never the same twice. Our first two years were quite different, but it happened that they were both easy. This year is trouble, trouble, trouble.
You know the saga. It started with sourcing problems, continued with hatching problems, was compounded by shipping problems, but we really thought we were finally on the right track when we had four healthy poults – the one older one and three younger.
Until a raccoon ate one.
Then we ate the raccoon (or we’re going to, tonight).
But the raccoon has friends, and we lost another one two nights ago, which left us with two: Big One and Little One. It’s a problem, because Big One hates to be confined, Little One needs to be confined, and they want to be together.
They can fly out of the pen (although they have trouble getting back in), and Little One spent the day yesterday tailing Big One all around the yard. By night, Little One was so tired she couldn’t even fly up a couple feet, let alone follow Big One high into the trees. She (or he, we’re not sure) wandered into the chicken run and went up the ladder into the coop. Kevin figured that was a safe place, as long as the chickens didn’t pose a threat, and he closed them up for the night.
And now, a shout out to our Barred Rock hen, who has a nasty disposition and has been borderline broody for weeks. That hen climbed into the nest box with the little turkey and nestled right up to her. They apparently stayed that way all night, because they were still there when I checked on them this morning.
I took Little One out and put her in the turkey pen with food and water, and eventually Big One joined her. But we still don’t know how to handle this. Big One is all but uncatchable, so putting the two in the treehouse together at night isn’t going to work. We can probably put Little One in the treehouse, but that may tempt Big One to hang around the pen as raccoon bait.
I’m liking the idea of putting Little One in the chicken coop at night, but that means we have to catch her before she flies up into the trees. If she’s too high for us to reach, we’re just going to have to leave her, which we don’t like to do.
In another couple of weeks, both birds will be big enough and strong enough flyers that it will be hard for a raccoon to take them, and we’ll worry less. But right now, we’re worrying plenty.
Turkeys are easy, right?