I spent most of yesterday building the turkey pen and brooder.  First, I had to string the 2×4 inch wire to create their pen, which is about 30×60 (total estimate here!), and 5 feet high.  I lined it on the bottom with 18 inches of chicken wire to make it multi-functional–not just for turkeys, but also for rabbits and young chicks, as well as hopefully discouraging any little bird-eating varmints. 

Then, I had to create the brooder.  S was able to bring home a wooden shipping crate from work, we took off the front, cut a “door” out, and then reinstalled it on the main body with hinges so we can easily open the whole thing for cleaning, feeding, and watering.  The only thing I had to buy for this project was the chicken wire.  All the wire, T-posts, wood, hardware, and even the new hanging feeder were recycled from other projects. 

Not very aesthetic at this point, but very functional and practical. We hope to pretty it up a bit later, when a few other projects get checked off the list.

So, today was the big moving day for the turkeys.  They joined the rabbits outdoors, in their new pen.  At first, they spent about 30 minutes just running around, puffing up their feathers, flapping their wings, chasing each other, and exploring their new surroundings. 

Then, the sun disappeared, they got a little chilly, and ran for cover.  We got the heat lamp hooked up inside their brooder, and ushered them in to show them their new home.  They have been pretty much hanging out in there ever since.  I suspect once they warm up, they will head back out for a spell.  We’ll see.

Lovin' the new home!

The brooder consists of the shipping crate (flipped upside down so it could be floorless), lots of straw for bedding, a little roost about 12 inches off the ground, a well as other “roosts” lying on the ground, the food and water dishes, and the heat lamp.  The turkeys seem to really appreciate the roost.  I’ve only caught one perched on the higher roost so far, but there always seems to be at least one snuggled in while perched on a ground roost. 

Our nights are still forecasted to get into the 30’s for the next week, so I am a little worried about them staying warm, but hopefully the heat lamp will take care of them.  In the mean time, though, I think I have a few very happy birds!