August 2022 - Thanksgiving Turkeys and Muddy Pigs

August 8, 2022

August 8th 2022

Thanksgiving Turkeys - New Paris, OH

We just received our Thanksgiving turkey poults and we have them growing in the brooder. We are doing 100 this year and hope to sell the majority of them as fresh Thanksgiving turkeys. Since they are small and fragile the brooder keeps them safe and warm. Every day we cut down a bunch of grasses, clovers, chickory and comfrey to drop after adding some fresh wood shavings. It is amazing how much of this they scratch and eat at only 2 days old, it really helps to start building their foraging skills for the time when they are put out to pasture once they feather out.


Putting the Pigs to Work

We finally threw in the towel on the hopes that the ponds would silt in over time and eventually seal. It has been 3 years since our ponds and swales were cut and none of the ponds are even half full. Sometimes you take a gamble and things don't go as planned so we have been thinking about various options that may help seal the ponds. Some folks use bentonite which is a very fine type of clay that swells up when in contact with water, however this would involve draining the ponds and purchasing around 4 tons of bentonite for the recommended application rate. Another thought was to have clay trucked in and spread on the surface and packed into place, again after draining the pond. Since both of these would require a significant financial investment to accomplish we decided to first try the old time farmer method of running pigs around the pond since this is free - we already had the pigs just needed to set up a bit of fence.

The pigs are slowly warming up to the pond, they were very cautious at first. We still haven't spotted any of them full on swimming yet, but they are very much enjoying their mud baths and beginning to root around the corner where we are feeding them. The theory is that their powerful noses combined with their weight and sharp forked hooves will help to compress the soil at the pond banks to help seal it, time will tell if there is any truth to this. In the mean time the pigs are happy to have a mud hole and it is very difficult to tell them apart now. Believe it or not one of these pigs is actually a red pig with black spots, but now they all wear mud coats.

Ben Wagner

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