Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Schacht Farm Provides Local Turkeys For Thanksgiving

Mandy Corry of Schacht Farm has been raising turkeys for seven years. Each year brings new challenges, especially in regards to Mother Nature.

900 turkeys at Schacht Farm

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Schacht Farm's 900 turkeys were recently moved to this fresh 2-acre paddock.

For four months of the year, Schacht Farm‘s 5,000 chickens, 130 hogs and 30 cows have to share the 52-acre farm with 900 turkeys. But after next week, the turkeys will be long gone, having been processed for Thanksgiving meals all over south-central Indiana.

Plumping Up

Farm owner Mandy Corry ordered the birds in January, and they arrived in mid-July as one-day-old fluff balls, called poults. Since then, she has been moving them from pasture to pasture. By the time the birds are processed, they will have covered (and decimated) 12 acres of land.

They were recently moved to this fresh two-acre paddock which is surrounded by an electrical fence and protected by the Great Pyrenees Savannah. They will be able to survive on this forage for about ten days — enough time to fill out to their ideal weight of 16-22 pounds.

Weather Worries

“They’re a whole lot of fun but you have to be very open to a lot of possibilities of things that can go right or things that can go wrong,” says Corry.

The weather is the biggest unknown. Today, it’s rainy and chilly. Other than having their feathers matted down, the birds don’t seem to mind.

But the rain and temperature play important roles in the birds’ development. The amount of rain the farm gets determines how well the forage grows, and the temperature determines how much of their food needs to go toward simply keeping them warm as opposed to growing.

Flock Behavior

Corry raises Standard Bronze and Broad-Breasted White turkeys on Schacht Farm. The bronze birds are better foragers, so the white turkeys learn how to forage by mimicking the bronzes’ behavior.

The turkeys are also skilled at mimicking vocalizations. Corry belts out a high-pitched greeting and the birds respond in unison with an equally high-pitched gobble-gobble.

She has been amused by these mischievous and quirky animals for four months, so will she miss them after they’re gone?

Not really.

“As far as emotional attachment goes, there’s not a lot in there to get attached to,” she says.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media