Turkey Safe House…

Once we were ready to take on the day, we had a plan here and got our tools and determination and got started.

On Windhaven, we have 7 buildings other than the house. We are really only using two of them, the garage (which we call the workshop) and the barn. The others are in various stages of repair, all standing, but all needing a little attention for sure. One of them is the building we call the Little Coop.

Now, mind you, the Little Coop is 12 foot by 10 foot in size, and it’s actually larger than my bedroom! Haha… but still, compared to the steel barn where the flock lives now and the even larger poultry barn, the Little Coop, is the smallest of the buildings.

It was really rough and had about a foot of old old compacted manure and straw probably leftover from goats. It didn’t smell… toooo badly. It’s probably been that way at least a year or more.

We were pleasantly surprised to find a decent concrete floor underneath. Everything on this little farm of ours was carefully built, years ago. This little building was built in 1973, so says the lettering on the concrete slab. The inside is nicely paneled in good sturdy wood. Outside, well, it needs a little help. Next week, we’ll be pulling off the rotted paneling and adding something new. Not totally sure what yet, but we’ll find something good.

It only took us FOREVER to get all that beautiful black gold out of there. Underneath the hard manure was a nice layer of composted dirt. We are going to layer this gold into our garden later on!

When I went into town earlier to get some chicken wire for the windows in the coop, I stopped at the surplus place and got two more barrels for our raised bed collection. We’ll be filling them up with a good layer of this coop compost later on! However, we ended up with several tarp loads of the stuff and it is REALLY heavy… So we tried a few ways to get it over by the big barn and out of our way…

I wouldn’t recommend trying to pull a tarp load of ancient manure with a car, say, like a blue station wagon. I’m not sure it will work very well. In fact, I suspect it won’t work at all and will probably tear the corners off your tarp.

Not that I would know anything about that.


Probably a yellow yard cart making a zillion trips will work better.

Luna was our feline supervisor for the project. Here on the farm, we always need at least ONE feline supervisor for any project. She doesn’t like to go near the big chickens and the barn very much. I think she’s afraid of Bucka Roo.
So she had a nice time hanging out at the little coop because all the chickens were not to eager to be outside after the attack of yesterday. Normally they are very excited to come out in the late morning when I let them out. But today, they were not interested at all and stayed in the barn until late in the afternoon and then only to come and watch us at the little coop.

Just about when we got all the manure out, Steve, the girls’ dad showed up to visit a while before work. He wanted to help us make our little safe house for the turkeys. He was unhappy to hear that the others had been killed and wanted to help make a safe place for the pair left. He’s a good guy and likes to help his daughters.

He and Maggie worked on the outside to staple some good chicken wire to the two windows and Jessy and I worked to make their accommodations lovely inside. We took a pair of nice flat concrete block halves to put their food and water up a bit. We moved a bale of hay over and spread half around for them to play in and left half the bale in a corner for them to jump and climb on. Steve found a nice branch for them to roost on if they wanted too. It was looking very nice in there and sunshine and sweet hay make the place very comfy.

We caught them from the feed room where we had locked them in to be safe, and brought them over to their new hangout. At first they peeped and wandered out, pecking at the greenery that poked through and checking out the feed and their water station. But then they settled into a sunny little shallow in the hay and began sunning themselves like they had lived there all their little lives! I think they will be fine in there. Jessy cut an armful of clover and grass for them and Maggie got them a little cracked corn for a treat. They are going to be spoiled little turkeys in no time!

Of course, Bucka had to bring his chick posse down to check on the progress. They really like visiting the new turkey zoo. I think that next weekend I’ll go back to the auction and see if I can’t get another group of poults. If I don’t I’m fairly certain we will be having these turkeys as pets after this hard lesson learned! I really thank everyone that wrote and emailed about the little fellas, it really helped a lot. I totally understand that poultry and loss goes hand in hand. There are SO many things that are waiting in line to feast on our little feathered friends. But I’m trying hard to make it tougher on them to be successful in their survival. We are working on fencing the back pasture this week and also to get a secure run for the little turkeys as well. I want them to have the chance to forage for bugs and eat greens and go on turkey adventures. Just want to make sure it’s safer for them. The little coop has a nice sized yard, with cemented fence posts, it’s just missing a good deal of it’s fencing. We’ve got some to get up, and we want to clean the yard of all the weeds and debris first before we let them out. Maggie has accepted the task at hand and I’m sure she will have it all clean and ready in no time! I’m going to look into getting one of those soft overhead nets so that we won’t have any hawk issues at all.

We’ll go into Hillsdale to this really cool place that has tons of recycled home and farm stuff and see if they have anything clever we can use as siding on the coop. I think it would be cool to find tin sheets or roofing sheets, something like that. Two side of the coop need to be replaced. The other two are sheltered and in good condition. We might just paint those sides to match whatever we do to the other two sides. That’s the fun part of doing things on the “green” side… you just never know how the end product will be.

Bucka and the ladies approve of the work. Of course, they really would rather just get inside and eat the turkey food, but still, it is nice that they came to visit. I think this will be our little fowl nursery for the most part… everyone that is too small to be in the big flock, will be out here in the Little Coop… chicks we hatch after they feather, and anyone we get that isn’t laying yet, they will be out there. We want to do some broiler birds this summer, but I think we are going to make a chicken tractor for them, once they feather out for the last couple weeks of their lives. We’re setting up a safe chick nursery in our mudroom for the wee babies that hopefully we will see hatched in about ten days!

And I will be spending ever MORE time on the backyardchicken.com forums and homesteading forums so that hopefully our learning curve will never dip so low again! One of the readers commented that it might have been a feral cat, and I know we have two on the property. I have a friend with a live trap and I might consider borrowing it and see if we can’t convince them to move on. I really don’t think it was Jack, as he doesn’t have front claws and has a hard time catching anything. And he walks among the birds like he’s their protector. He’s totally intimidated by Bucka. Of course, I certainly would not want him to have free access to little chicks, and I suppose it’s “possible” that he might have killed the poults, but I really don’t think so.

Luna is a good hunter of little mice and voles, but that seems to be her only talent or at least speciality. She’s terrified of the big chickens, and won’t go near the big barn unless you drag her there. I doubt that she would be the one to do such a thing. And of course Topaz is like 2 pounds wringing wet… I doubt that she could take out a poult. I’m pretty sure, if it was not a hawk and instead a cat, it would have to be either Orange Kitty, or that new white and grey tiger I’ve seen. Both big cats. Jessy thinks if we trap them, and spook them with the process that maybe they will move on. I’m not sure, but it’s worth a shot. I know they are cleaning Jack’s clock too often and he’s coming home with boo boos and I don’t want him getting hurt badly in a fight. I suppose the only other alternative is to have them put down if they are too feral and can’t be touched or approached. I really would not like that. Well, will cross that bridge if we come to it, I suppose. Right now, I’m just feeling better that the pair are safer, at least for now.

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of BuckeyeBluegrass.com as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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