You are undoubtedly already aware of the massive storm system that covered 1/3 of the United States yesterday and spawned several severe storms and deadly tornadoes. While we are thankful that we did not suffer through a tornado, we did sustain some damage from the winds that blew through here, which were still SRS BSNS.
As always, click on the photos in this post to embiggen.
Around 6:30 AM, I discovered that the turkey house had collapsed at some point during the night. The birds were pretty freaked out and didn’t start making alarm noises until the sun just started to illuminate things. I called George, who was dropping off our son at school, and he turned right back to come home. In the meantime, I had to figure out how to contain our turkeys.
We are eight days from them going in for slaughter, and to lose them now would be so disheartening, not to mention, expensive, considering we have about $100 invested into each bird at this point. After losing half of our birds in a storm earlier in the summer, it was a real concern.
You may recall from previous posts about these birds that they have not been at all cooperative about being herded in the past. I guess because they were so shaken from their experience with their house falling down around them last night, they decided to finally trust the human woman who has been feeding and caring for them all these months. I sweet-talked them and slowly walked them down the hill (with a few retreats and diversions) to the duck yard and finally convinced them to go inside.
They were unsure about the new area and their yardmates the ducks, but I was relieved to just have them all in one spot, and I just needed them to stay there and stay safe until George got home and we got their structure rebuilt. I had some trouble with a few of them flying up onto the 8′ tall fence and divebombing into the chicken yard next door, but shooing them down finally worked.
To answer the inevitable question, YES, turkeys can fly. They are not good for long distances, but they are certainly capable enough to do short bursts that will make trying to contain them a nightmare. Now, remember, these are heritage breeds – not factory broad breasted breeds – so that accounts for them being able to fly. The factory birds are so broad-breasted that they cannot even naturally propagate their own species and require human intervention (artificial insemination) to do so, and those are the birds that were referenced in the famous Thanksgiving episode of the TV show “WKRP In Cincinnatti.” And for that matter, any turkey dropped from several stories up isn’t going to make it. They are heavy birds. But I digress.
George assessed the structure and determined what needed repair, replacement, and reinforcement. We worked together to get it back to a useful condition while also maintaining a close eye on the turkey flock’s activity. They also seemed very focused on us and what we were doing to their house, occasionally calling out to us – and we’d call back and reassure them that we’d have them back in their home as quickly as possible.
When we finally got the repairs done, our anxiety rose as we tried to figure out the best way to get them back inside their home. We moved their food and water dishes back into it (I had previously provided those to them in their duck area) and George stood back to back me up as I called to them and tried to lead/push them on a path back to their structure. It took a few minutes, but once they realized that their house had been uprighted and their food and water was waiting inside for them, it didn’t take much convincing for them to settle back in. We spent some time with them inside – which had them very curious about us. It also allowed us to get a feel for whether the structure was being compromised further by the wind – and it held solid.
The pig house was overturned and upside down this morning – but it is currently vacant, so that was not an issue. We didn’t have it anchored down because we are trying to get it moved down to the duck yard to provide them with a winter shelter. We’ve just been swamped with other projects, including the construction of a new outbuilding – a hoop structure with pony walls that will be for hay and equipment storage.
All and all we definitely didn’t get hit as hard as some other farms. I have seen mention of some in news stories that have been heartbreaking. But this definitely caused for a stressful Monday morning around here!