Chris and Amanda Jenkins have lived in Watford City, North Dakota, for two and a half years, moving originally from Wyoming. For the last year, the couple have been raising turkeys. For a Thanksgiving treat, Amanda provided some fun insight on raising the traditional holiday bird.
How many turkeys do you currently own?
Three, two toms and one hen.
Do you butcher for the holidays?
We plan to butcher at least one of these turkeys for the holiday.
How long have you owned turkeys?
This is our first year with turkeys.
What made you decide to own turkeys?
We always thought it would be fun to raise our own Thanksgiving turkey and we enjoy our other poultry (chickens and ducks) so they were an easy addition.
Do you have any funny turkey stories?
Sometimes when our turkeys gobble, we gobble back to see if they’ll answer. We sound terrible but sometimes they do respond!
What are some of the main requirements if you want to raise turkeys? Do they have any special needs?
If you already own poultry, turkeys are an easy addition. They need plenty of space and some additional nutrients, but they have fit in well with our other birds. We try to let our turkeys free range to stretch their legs when possible.
Do you eat turkey eggs?
No, our hen hasn’t laid eggs.
Are turkeys intelligent?
They have good survival skills and when we do let them roam, they know to roost up high at night.
Are they affectionate?
Our turkeys are not. They tend to avoid us unless we have kitchen scraps or “treats.”
Do they do better solo or in a flock?
They prefer to be in a flock.
How are toms different from hens in their behavior?
Our toms tend to “strut their stuff” while our hen is quiet and just sits back. The toms also like to “gobble” especial when our dogs are around.
What’s something people don’t know about owning turkeys?
There are heritage breeds and commercial breeds. Heritage breeds are smaller and tend to have similar instincts to wild turkeys.