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Archive for the ‘Turkeys’ Category

Poult in the shell

01 Mar

Here is a quick (and poor quality) video of a fourteen day old poult in the shell. They are very active little guys and gals!

Turkey A13 at 14 days

 
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Walnut Hill Farm Narragansett Turkeys

22 Feb


I am proud to announce that our purebred Narragansett tom and hen have now started to provide us with a steady supply of fertile eggs. The first clutch is in the incubator and if all goes well will hatch on March 18.

We don’t expect a large supply of eggs with only one hen and one tom, but we hope to have enough hatch to increase our flock just enough to have more hatching eggs next year as well as to provide a small number of heritage turkeys this year.

Come spring we should have some young birds growing in our coop! We’ll post photos as the hatch progresses.

The bad news is that our long time local poultry processor has retired. We will still be providing processed turkeys, but we are not yet sure how far we will have to go for the service, or how much it will cost. If you know of a local poultry processor, please let us know.

 
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Planning for 2014 turkeys

24 Nov

Greetings, all. Thank you for your flexibility in taking birds bigger or smaller than you desired. We were not very happy with the consistency of our hatchery stock this year, and we are planning now in order to avoid a similar situation next year.

Broad Breasted Bronze. These were FAR larger than we wanted this year. Our original order was nearly all female, but they had a bad trip in the mail and perished before or shortly after arrival. We had to replace them with local stock and we ended up with a bunch of toms instead of hens, and they grew far too large. We will order all hens next year, unless anyone indicates now that they would like to reserve a 30+ pound turkey.

Heritage. The Blue Slates are a very old breed, and I am sure they will be delicious. However, they grew to nowhere near their breed standard sizes of 18 pounds for mature hen and 30 pounds for mature tom (as young hen and young tom, they should have reached 75% of these figures…13.5 and 22.5. This would have been ideal.) However, they ranged from 7.6 to 15.5 pounds, and were too small to satisfy anyone. For 2014 I will be breeding the nearly extinct Narragansetts to start my own flock of breeding stock, so that I can select the best birds for breeding as well as for the table. While selecting our foundation stock, we will most likely raise some Bourbon Reds as well so that we can provide a good range of sizes for the table, as these have been selected for several years now for larger size.

Although we won’t be taking actual reservations for a while yet, please let us know what interests you most. Just drop a line to farmer@walnuthillfarmmi.com and let us know so that we can preorder:
1. Heritage under 12
2. Heritage 12-15
3. Heritage 16-22
4. Broad Breasted Bronze 16-20
5. Broad Breasted Bronze 20-24
6. Broad Breasted Bronze 24-30
7. Broad Breasted Bronze 30+

It’s very hard to tell how big a day old chick will be 8 months later. It’s just as hard with only 3 months to go (go back to my August blog…the bronzes grew like mad, and the Blue Slates stopped growing early). But we can select breeds and sexes to help meet the goals.

 
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Come and get them!

23 Nov

Turkeys are ready! Come on by! Pickups run until 3 p.m. today. Any unclaimed (no call, no email response) birds will be sold to the reserved list starting Monday. If you absolutely need to pick up after today, as long as the weather is in the teens we can accommodate you Monday evening. We won’t be available Monday during the day for pickups due to our work schedules.

The farm is located at:
54180 Dequindre Rd
Shelby Township, MI 48316

Map to Walnut Hill Farm

 
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Turkey Day at Walnut Hill Farm!

23 Nov

Today is Turkey Day! We are anxiously awaiting the call from the processor to let us know that our birds are ready. Once they are, we will pick them up, sort them, and commence calling. If you haven’t provided a contact number and we can’t reach you at the phone number that came in with your PayPal deposit, we will try to email you at the PayPal associated email address. If you haven’t heard from us by 5 p.m. today (Saturday), please email us here at the farm farmer@walnuthillfarmmi.com with your contact info and we’ll call you back. We will only honor reservations through Sunday night, then any remaining birds will be sold to people on the waiting list.

Fortunately, it’s a chilly day today. Keeping the birds well chilled will be easier. Please be sure to bring a towel, tub, or cooler to transport your fresh turkey home.

Happy Turkey Day!

 
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Turkey reservations closing

10 Nov

Thanks to everyone for placing their Thanksgiving turkey reservations. Our order book is closing for the year, we are officially sold out with deposits placed on all our turkeys for 2013. Please email farmer@walnuthillfarmmi.com if you’d like to be placed on a waiting list in case of last minute cancellations. At this time there are no more turkeys available.

Many of the Broad Breasted Bronzes are going to weigh in on the heavy side of expectations, and the Blue Slates are coming in a bit lighter than expected. It’s very challenging to find a source of heritage birds where the birds have been selected to be better than “ordinary” as far as development, conformation, pattern and temperament go. Ours are show quality, beautiful birds true to their breed type, but not quite as heavy as we’d like to see for meat birds. Please let us know what you think of the Blue Slates, and if you’ve bought a heritage bird from us in past years, please let us know how you like the taste and how it compares to the others we have raised. We raise them to please you, so your opinions are important to us.

Processing day is just a couple of weeks away. Once we pick them up, we will begin the sort and select process. Once we’ve completed that and have a list of weights, we go down the list from first reserved to last reserved and allow everyone to choose within the brackets they selected (as long as the birds cooperate by growing to the right sizes!). If we have any questions, we will contact you by phone to try to match you with the best bird. We won’t be able to have any pickups on Saturday, November 23rd until after the processor has notified us that the birds are ready, and we’ve gone through our weigh, tag, and sort process. Typically that means evening will be the earliest that we can let you pick up your bird, but we will post an update when we are ready for you.

Thanks again for your ongoing support. We are very happy that there are still a number of people who understand the value of good food, raised well, on the best feeds and with NO chemical intervention.

If you’ve missed out on reserving yours, visit this page often, as we will post an update if there are any cancellations. We don’t overbook and we do take deposits so it’s rare that we do have cancellations, but we did have one this year that has already been re-booked.

 
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Thanksgiving Turkey Reservations 2013

21 Aug

Once again, it’s Turkey Time, and we are preparing for our 2013 turkey harvest. We cannot tell what the final weights will be as they still have nearly three months to grow. The Heritage Blue Slates are amusing as they flap and fly, strut and cluck, and the Bronzes are beginning to fill out while they grow.

Blue Slate tom and hen

We are expecting several Heritage toms to end up 15 to 18 pounds, and it looks like most of our Bronze toms will end up at 18-25 pounds. Hens of both breeds are smaller, with the smallest Blue Slate anticipated to hit the scales right around 11 pounds, and the smallest Bronze around 14.

Right now we have 24 turkeys available for Thanksgiving Dinner reservations. We will take non-refundable deposits by Paypal for the available birds. On occasion we do lose a bird or two due to adverse weather conditions so we fill orders in the order the deposit was received. In case of a cancellation, we will contact anyone who left contact info with us and make the birds available to the first person to respond with a deposit, and in the case of a no-show for pickup, we will contact anyone who was unable to leave a deposit because our roster was filled in the order in which the contacts were received.

The birds will be processed on the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day and will be iced and bagged and available for pickup Saturday, November 23rd in the afternoon and evening, and Sunday and Monday evenings. We cannot guarantee a specific size so we offer birds by weight groups and by breed class (Heritage or Standard) so that we can best match you with our available birds. Within the size ranges listed below, feel free to request a smaller or larger bird in the Notes section of your order; that will help us best fit your wishes.

Prices are as follows:

Standard Breed – Broad Breasted Bronze – a “modern” turkey bred from the 1920s through 1940s for very large breasts. These are the “traditional” tom turkey displayed on Thanksgiving advertisements and cartoons for generations. They are bronze, black, and copper in color and are very attractive birds, resembling extremely large wild turkeys. These are not a Heritage breed, they cannot naturally reproduce so without human intervention they would become extinct. They are no longer grown commercially since the Broad Breasted White of frozen turkey fame was developed. The Bronzes are a large and tasty fast growing bird with a lot of white meat. Sizes range from 12 to 30 pounds and they are priced at $3.50 per pound processed weight.

Click here to reserve your Broad Breasted Bronze turkey. Deposits will be credited to your balance at time of pickup. Cash only accepted at time of pickup, please.

Heritage Blue Slate – a traditional breed that is classed as a Heritage Breed. Heritage breeds are nearly extinct due to displacement in the commercial market by the Broad Breasted White, but like home grown tomatoes vs. grocery store tomatoes, you don’t know what you are missing until you try them! They offer much richer taste due to their slower growth, and they have balanced proportions of white to dark meat. In various taste tests across the country, Heritage turkeys take the prize for flavor every time and are prized by chefs for gourmet turkey dinners. Sizes range from 8 to 24 pounds and they are priced at $6.00 per pound processed weight.

We are down to the last few turkeys. Please email farmer@walnuthillfarmmi.com to reserve yours today!

 
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Christmas Turkeys

05 Dec

We have three frozen turkeys available to grace your Christmas dinner table. One 14.6 pound Bourbon Red Heritage, one 17 pound and one 20 pound Bronze. These birds will be available now through December 13 only. Please reply to farmer@walnuthillfarmmi.com to arrange for pickup.

 
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Turkey Day!

19 Nov

All the turkeys are back from the processor, sorted, and tagged. I’ve either called or emailed everyone to let them know. Please come pick up your turkey tonight or tomorrow, so that it can join you for your Thanksgiving dinner!

We have one 17.2 pound Bronze, one 19 pound Bronze, and one 14.4 pound Heritage that don’t yet have a dinner engagement. Act fast if you missed out during reservations!

 
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2012 Turkey pickup schedules

11 Nov

Bronze Tom and Hen


Thanksgiving day approaches! As we were fortunate to get a really good processing date that allows our turkeys to be kept fresh until Thanksgiving, we have also scheduled additional pickup time for your convenience.

We will be bringing the birds to the processor on Sunday, November 18th. They will be processed on the Monday, November 19th. They will be iced and bagged and available for pickup Monday evening, or any time Tuesday. Due to space constraints and our own holiday plans we cannot hold them here longer than that.

Our heritage birds sold quickly, but ended up smaller than expected. We have one heritage tom still available at 14-15 pounds. Please contact us at farmer@walnuthillfarmmi.com to reserve this bird! If you’ve missed out, please watch for last minute cancellations.

This Bourbon Red tom would like to join you for Thanksgiving dinner

For those who have confirmed reservations, we will contact you once the birds are back from the processor and we will provide the exact amount due (cash only please). Please let us know when you will be able to pick up your bird, so that we can locate it and have it conveniently at hand for pickup. Your bird will be kept bagged and immersed in ice to deep chill and maintain freshness until you pick it up. Please keep your bird refrigerated until you prepare it, and please bring a leakproof container (tub, bag, cooler, etc) to prevent leakage on the way home.

A pair of Bourbon Red hens

 
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