Christmas Turkey

I love turkey! If you’re like me and love these tasty birds, but the price of a organically raised, heritage bird is daunting ($100 easy)…this post is for you. If not, you may want to bypass this post.

Turkey meat is rich but lean, and its large carcass supplies quarts of rich broth. With good planning you can stretch the cooked meat and carcass for a month’s worth of meals. Our dogs love the broth on their kibble (a wonderful fall/winter addition), and the chickens peck at the bones for some additional calcium. I cook at least 4 each year, and as I read about heritage turkey breeds I grew interested in raising one myself.

Finding a good quality turkey at a reasonable price can be difficult. Poultry is often raised in less than ideal conditions, and breeding practices that satisfy consumer appetite for white meat has led to birds unable to reproduce naturally.

Organically raised, heritage turkeys can cost $100 or more. Sound high? My baby Narragansett was $12 – it will take her 6 months to reach harvest weight of 40 pounds. When you calculate feed and treats (veg, mealworms, etc.) – I would barely break even if I sold her for $100. I named her Christmas – she was purchased in June and will reach harvest weight by the holiday.

I’ve done my best not to get attached, but she’s a pretty cool bird. Christmas gets along with the chickens and ducks very well. It’s a hoot to see her stride around the runs and hear her gobble. Christmas is best buds with the Blue Swedish duckling we picked up at the same time. If she outgrows the poultry space we’ll move her over to live with Finn – our lone male goat who’s not happy to be separated from his mama. And she may even live to see the New Year.

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