One Man's Ruminations About Faith, Family, and Livin' The Good Life
Turkeys in Tractors & Comfrey For Feed
As mentioned in a previous blog entry, this is my first year raising turkeys. I started with 12. Two have died of undetermined causes. Neither bird appeared unhealthy. The losses were disappointing but not unexpected. They say that turkeys will die for no apparent reason. I’ve read that a 15% loss when raising turkeys is to be expected.
I was speaking with a neighbor last evening who is also raising turkeys for the first time. He had borrowed my Whizbang Chicken Plucker to process a batch of chickens. He is an organic dairy farmer. He is one of those who have a strong organic conviction because it is the right thing to do, not just because it has become more economically profitable in recent years. He told me he had some turkey losses too and started putting minced garlic in the bird’s water. There were no more problems after that. He also told me he uses things like garlic, cayenne pepper, castor oil, Echinacea and other herbs to heal his cows and boost their immune systems. I like to hear things like that, especially from a neighbor.
This neighbor is keeping his turkeys fenced inside a length of electric poultry netting from Premier. He moves the netting and birds to fresh pasture as needed. But he doesn’t have a charger to electrify the net. He said he couldn’t afford it. He uses the net only for containment of the birds and tethers his dog by the pen to deter predators.
I came very close to buying some of that same fencing this year, and a solar charger to keep it “hot” but I held off. It was going to cost several hundred dollars and I have read that keeping an adequate electric charge can be a bother.
So I opted to keep it simple. I put my ten turkeys in two old chicken tractors and I move them to a fresh patch of field twice a day. The turkeys are doing well. They are awesome grazers—far better grazers than chickens.
And I continue to be amazed at how much my turkeys like comfrey. I bring it to them in bunches and hang it for them to pick (as shown in the photo below). They will ignore their grain feed to eat the comfrey greens. I did a little research and found that comfrey is very high in protein. Fact is, it has almost the same protein content as soybeans!
I have four bush-like plantings of comfrey that I planted back in 1998. The rootstock was given to us by our homesteading friends and country neighbors Kathy and Jack who were part of a local Y2k “support group” we got involved with. It was Kathy and Jack who introduced me to the idea of growing garlic for its health benefits. And Kathy gave a soapmaking demonstration to our group, which eventually led to my wife, Marlene, starting her own handcrafted soap business. A lot of the things that are a big part of our way of life now began back when we were getting ready for Y2k. But I digress…
Until this year, have seldom used Kathy & Jack’s gift of comfrey. I’ve tried feeding it to chickens in the past but they are not as fond of it as the turkeys. But now, this year I wish I had more comfrey because I’ve fed most all of it to the turkeys, and they would be eating a whole lot more if I had it.
Comfrey is easy to grow. It grows like a weed. But it doesn’t spread like a weed. It doesn’t appear to be bothered by disease or bugs. My comfrey planting thrives in an area that gets only partial sun. As the cost of poultry feed costs go up, alternatives like comfrey have a lot more appeal. And there are more reasons besides turkey feed to have a LOT of comfrey growing on your homestead.
Every day when I feed and water my turkeys, I tarry to watch them. They are amazing, fun creatures. And as I see them growing bigger and fatter on grain and greens in the fresh air, I can’t help but think how nice it’s going to be to have one of them for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s the way it is when you raise animals for your own food. You look at the animal and see it on the table, feeding your family.
P.S. If you have not yet read my other poultry-related essays, I invite you to do so. Here are the links...
I (Herrick KImball) have been blogging here about Faith, Family & Livin' The Good Life since 2005. Browse down this column and you will discover a rich resource of contra-industrial thought, down-to-earth inspiration & useful how-to information.
CLICK HEREto view the archive of links to past Deliberate Agrarian monthly "blogazines."
My Stewardculture Magazine Interview (Part 1)
Click The Picture For Details
Delmar Ain't So Stupid...
Click on Delmar and read why I think he's the smartest of the three characters in the "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" movie
Aphorisms Of The Fathers...
And The Mothers (click the picture)
My New York Times Op-Ed Article
The Jeffersonian Solution (click the man and read the article)
Check Out My New Whizbang Gardening Facebook Page...
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Reestablishing The Family Economy—Part 1
It's A Biblical Imperative (click the picture)
Reestablishing The Family Economy—Part 2
We Are Not Called To Be Slaves (click the picture)
Reestablishing The Family Economy—Part 3
Profile of a Free Man (click the picture)
Reestablishing The Family Economy—Part 4
Sage Advice For Would-Be Farmers (click the picture)
Corporationism vs Independent Patriarchal Units
Lyberty Hyde Bailey (1927) Read it and weep. (click the picture)
Read The Book— Writings Of A Deliberate Agrarian
…Now available as a PDF download for only $4.50 (click the picture for details)
Farming 1.5 Acres...
…And Making A Good Living. (click the picture)
Goodness, Beauty & Loving The Earth
A Christian-Agrarian Missive on God's Creation
We can learn a lot from the old agricultural writings (Click the picture for more details)
This Man, Now Deceased, Predicted The Economic Decline of America Back in The 1950's.
Click the picture to read about Professor Walter Prescott Webb's Boom Hypothesis of Modern History, and where we are headed from here
Agrarian-Style Economic Self Defense...
I posted this to the internet in early 2008. It is still the most practical advice you'll get for dealing with the harsh economic realities that we face now and will face even more in the years ahead. (click the picture to read the essay)
Modern Banking is An Evil System of Economic Oppression
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The Coming Pension Crisis...
...And what you can do about it. (click the picture)
How To Get Through The Coming Hyperinflation
click the picture to read the 6-part series
Have You Considered Deflation?
Martin Armstrong seems pretty sure of himself (click the sign for details)
The Christian Doctrine of Work
Something's Missing in The 10 Commandmants as it is commonly known. (click the picture)
Scott Nearing's "Horse Chow"
A Four Part Series (click on any of the raisins in the bowl)
Mr. Tesoro's Story
(click the picture)
Blessed is the Man...
Reflections on "tax day." (click the old paper)
Some Thoughts on Christian-Agrarian Community (click the picture)
A Herod Nation
Is that What America Has Become? (click the picture)
How To Remember (And Teach Your Children) The 10 Commandments
click the sad bath
Light in Our Dwellings...
Christianity + Agrarianism = Hope In the midst of a dying industrial culture (click the light)
Have You Seen My Whizbang Gardening Book?
5 stars at Amazon. Click the cover to learn more.
New From Planet Whizbang... The Old-Timer's Poultry Library
A rare and fascinating resource for the poultry lover (click the picture for details)
Take A Short Tour Of My Garden...
Strawberries From My Garden!
Grown the "E.P. Roe Way" (click the picture to learn more)
Rural Americans: Cannon Fodder For The New World Order
Click on Sergeant York to read the story.
Freedom Isn't Free (And Other Propoganda)
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Esther Stermer Was A Conspiracy Theorist!
Obviously the woman was a little crazy.… Right? (click the picture for the story)
How Free Men Become Slaves...
A Contra-Industrial Parable From The Okefenokee Swamp (click the pigs)
I Make Classic American Clothespins
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Have You been to The Agrarian Foundation Article Archives?
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What Would an Agrarian Monetary System Look Like?
Well, for one thing, it would NOT be based on paper money. Click Andy Jackson for some details.
Thomas Jefferson's Warnings About Government Debt (Then and Now)
Read it and weep (click the president)
How Farmers Became Slaves To The Corporate Masters
Click on the mostly forgotton 1937 book by Professor Walter Prescott Webb and learn the sad story
A Christian-Agrarian perspective (click the picture to read the essay)
The Puritan Theology of Suffering...
An excellent treatise on a difficult subject. (click the picture to learn more)
A Missive On The Prosperity-Driven Life
"The desire to be rich, to have an abundance of possessions and money, is the keystone of our modern, neo-Babylonian culture." (click the picture for my perspective)
Prosperity Gospel/ Prosperity Idolatry
Click the picture to hear John Piper's powerful 2.5 minute condemnation of the modern prosperity gospel
... And Me (click the trap)
Another of my online projects (click the picture)
Have You Been To Planet Whizbang?
It's my deliberate agrarian home business. Click the beet and check it out.
NEW…. Whizbang Notes
These delightful little notebooks are a great down-to-earth tool. Click the beet to learn more.
Have You Seen The Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoe I Invented?
Click The Picture For Details about the hoe and the inexpensive wheel hoe kits I sell
I Invite You To Read My Online Gardening Essays
Click on that beautiful handful of sifted compost.
The Wife Of My Youth...
A Blessed Man's Reflections on Young Love (click the happy faces)
Eulogy For Evelyn
She was my mother-in-law. (click the picture)
Ken Badman's Good Example
Actions Speak Louder Than Words. (click the picture)
We make our own maple syrup. Click on the picture for complete how-to details.
Have You Seen Leo Sprauer's Handcrafted Hop Hoe?
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Learn About Whizbang Bucket Irrigation...
(click the trickle valve)
Have You Read Roe?
E.P. Roe, that is. Click on his picture to read some excerpts from this remarkable Christian-agrarian author of the 1800s.
Spring Has Finally Sprung
David brought me crab apple tree blossoms and lilacs. Now that spring is
finally here, summer can't be too far away!
3 years ago
I Invented Granola Bars....
...And I Can Prove It (click on the bar)
Get The Peppermint Zing!
A sinus sauna how-to (click photo for details)
Yeoman Furniture & My New Wood Box
Yeomen don't buy furniture. They make their own. (click the picture)
Yeoman Furniture (Part 2)
Waste Not, Want Not (click the picture for the story)
My Amazing Whizbang Apple Grinder
You can make awesome apple mash, ready for pressing, in no time with this homemade device. Click on the picture to learn more
We Make Apple Cider
You can too (click on the picture to learn how)
Twelve Years Old Today
He's actually 21 now, but my prayer is the same
This is William Kimball (Him An Me Is Kin)
Click on the picture for William's Story
Click on the picture and I'll show you how to butcher a chicken
The Lovely Marlene With A Homemade Whizbang Garden Cart
Anyone can make a Whizbang Garden Cart. Click on the picture to learn how.
My Whizbang Row Cover Hoop System
Finally Online as of 1/29/10 (click the pic)
Have You Seen Jax Hamlin's Chickens?
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This Blog Promotes Personal Responsibility And Traditional Concepts of American Liberty
"If a community, or a section, or a race, or an age, is groaning under industrialism, and well aware that it is an evil dispensation, it must find a way to throw it off. To think that this cannot be done is pusillanimous. And if the whole community, section, race, or age thinks it cannot be done, then... it has doomed itself to impotence."
The Christian-Agrarian Exodus of 1620
The Pligrims did NOT come to America for religious freedom. (click the picture)
Vacuum Bottle Thermos Cooking
Learn how to prepare and cook simple, inexpensive, wholesome meals (click the thermos bottle to read)
The Sermon I'll Never Forget
Pastor West was at Iwo Jima (click Mt. Suribachi)
Planting Potatoes With A Little Girl
"I must admit that four year old girls were once something like aliens to me." (click the pic)
Boys Will Be…. Warriors
Swinging homemade maces at each other can be great fun! (click the warriors)
Benny's Grandfather Was A Ditch Digger
And He Grew Tomatoes (click the Big Boy)
Backyard Poultry Processing With My 11-Year-Old Son
If he can do it, so can you. (click on the smiley face)
Another Summer Evening's Meal
This is the kind of food we dream about in the depths of winter. (click on the picture)
Pickled Garlic Scapes
Click on the silly boy's nose for a pickled scape tutorial
"Every Bean's A Blessing, Boys"
Dried beans present an opportunity to teach important things to my children (click the beans)
I bought my sons hay hooks, and they have gotten a lot of use since I wrote this essay