Narragansett Turkeys

Whistle Hen is a staple here on the farm, She is a delightful bird, sweet, never moments worry about her around us or visitors. Even in breeding season she is just more friendly, coming to sit at our feet and get petted. The only time she is peeky is when she is sitting on a nest or raising very young ones. Even then when given a choice, she will always choose passive moving away to give space.

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Her mate was just as a good tempered and when we lost him, we just kept her as a single turkey, I mean as the free-range flock, she just joined in with the chickens. She raised me Clutch after Clutch of self-hatched Turkey Pullets and much to my surprise, she hatches and raises chicken chicks very successfully.  Its funny as all get out to watch her three- or four-year-old chicken hens tuck themselves under her big wings in the depth of winter.

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This past week on my facebook memories, it came up that we had gotten the Breeding set 7 years ago and they were 3 years old and proven breeders when I bought them. That makes her 10 years old right now and 11 years in early spring of 2023. She is still laying eggs, still sitting her clutch and still raising  chicks. She has actively free ranged during the day with put up at night for years with no extra help in staying alive when it comes to the odd Fox, Coon, Fisher, Coywolf or Bald Eagle.

Reading up on the breed, they say that they can reach the age of 14. Perhaps Whistle will reach that milestone and go even longer. I have put the word out that I am looking for a new tom and a new hen or some pullets in the spring. I think it might be a very good idea indeed to see if there is any chance at all that she still has viable eggs and to get her genes into future generations for both myself and for other small farmers. 

What is the oldest Heritage Turkey on your small holding or farm? I have successsfully hatched healthy chicks from 8 or 9 year old chicken hens and so fingers crossed that I can get viable eggs in the spring from her, if not at least she can be counted on to raised them.

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2 Responses to Narragansett Turkeys

  1. That is awesome! What a treasure she is. We are raising Bourbon Reds now, but they are all only one year old. They are setting and hatching poults and doing well.
    We have a 10-year-old silkie chicken hen that still sets 2-3 clutches for us a year. She is quite a treasure too. She also adopted store-bought chicks, and has also raised one orphaned turkey chick for us when she hadn’t even been setting. It is so great to have poultry like that. I wish there were more of them around.

    • Those momma hens are worth their weight in gold I tell ya! I find that by age three or four you know for sure who your good sitters and mothers are, my two oldest duck hens are getting up there in age, but they will still sit and hatch up to 3 clutches if we let them each year and they hatch 12 to 16 each time like clockwork. Enjoy your Reds and hope they continue to work well for you.

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