We got three turkey poults a few weeks ago. We’d been considering mail-ordering some, but happened upon them at a local feed store and decided to just get them there. They were twice the price of mail order ones, but this was convenient. And there is the factor of letting someone else endure the risk and losses associated with shipping, where these birds were already a week or two old, so well on their way. They are growing like mad, of course, that thirty percent protein feed really packs on the pounds!

The feed store had an extraordinary number of baby poultry for sale- ducks, chickens, turkeys and geese. I would guess maybe fifty different water troughs full of birds, each containing multiple breeds. That seems to translate to over a thousand birds, figuring about 25 per trough. (And I will say, I appreciated the fact that they didn’t have troughs crammed full of hundreds of babies, the chicks were all housed with plenty of room and ease of getting to food and water.) They must have had the entire catalog of some hatchery there! 🙂 Their turnover must not be very good when they stock so many birds and varieties, because they had a lot of birds which looked like they’d been there a few weeks, or even longer.

It makes me wonder what the profitability is for doing it this way? Most feed stores seem to aim to get birds in, and get them moved within a few days. And most of them seem to keep their bird stocking timeframe short, with either a single order or just doing it for a month or two. This store has been carrying this huge inventory for months. Their electric bill from ~100 heat lamps must be significant. (Haha, can you imagine the police showing up wondering alright, what are you growing here, we’ve seen your utility bill? Only to see all these birds! Maybe it’s a front! <kidding> :-D) The feed costs must go up, too, if you are sitting on an inventory of rapidly growing birds. But, maybe they make up for it in sales of equipment and food that goes with the birds?

Anyway, we think we got one each of: a regular broad-breasted white, a royal palm, and a bourbon red. But, it’s hard to be sure, because these turkeys were big enough to jump between water troughs, and the breeds were all mixed up. An employee helped us with figuring out which was which, but the differences between the white and the royal palm seemed pretty subtle. Oddly, the white turkey hatchlings have a brown head, and the royal palms, which will later be colored (black and white) are a  purer white.

But that’s ok, we just thought it would be fun to compare three different kinds, and weren’t that picky about what we got this time around. We’ll find out what we have when their adult feathers come in!