This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: turkeys (Page 1 of 2)

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Surrogate Chicken Mommy to 2nd Round of Turkey Chicks

After we had a turkey mommy accidentally hatch out a chicken chick, we discovered in the barn next to the north footer in the middle a set of turkey eggs being sat on by both a turkey and a chicken. Since the turkey mommy worked well as a surrogate to the chicken chick, I started to wonder if maybe a chicken mommy might make a good surrogate for turkey chicks, especially because a chicken hen is much easier to work with than the larger and stronger turkey hen.

Well, the little things started to hatch, and eventually the chicken mommy ended up near the big door across the barn to the east with the chicks under her, and the turkey mommy kind of hanging out behind her. So, it was round up the youngin’s and the chicken mommy and get them into the summer kitchen (now basically what is a brooder barn).

There were 6 of them, and we initially started them in a cage on the table, which you can see in the video below.

Then not long after, another turkey/chicken mommy group in the barn hatched out 1, and it was walking around on the hay stack next to them, and so we grabbed it and put it in with the brooder barn mommy, hoping she would accept it, and she did!

And then, another 1 from that same 2 mommies in the barn, and so it was off to the brooder barn.

And so now, there are 8 turkey chicks with their chicken mommy in the brooder barn all still doing great! That last one is a little tiny, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to make it, but it’s still going!

And, along with the picture above, here is another picture of them. However, the chicken mommy at this point seems to be losing interest in attending to them as a mommy, and has been jumping out of the caged run area, so we may just let her go soon, although we do like the idea that these mommies being there might protect the young from snakes:

2nd Round of 2022 Turkey Chicks

And here is their video:

We thank the Lord for granting these new little provisions, and for the idea and gracious success of a chicken hen taking care of the young turkey chicks!

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Tasha’s 2021 Turkey Chicks

Following close on the heels of Tanya’s turkey chicks, another one of our turkey hens got broody in the barn also, in one of the goat stalls.

Tanya and hers were still in the brooder barn (aka. the summer kitchen), so we didn’t really have a place for Tasha, and I didn’t want to put her in a small caged area like we do for our chickens.

Well, Tasha’s chicks started hatching, so what we ended up doing was drop down a couple of extra OSB boards we had and stitch together two chicken fence-cages into a longer run like in the brooder barn. We then covered it all with blankets and bent one end down so I could lean over and access the inside, and we set up their water and food.

And then it was time to try to transfer her and the turklets. The youngin’s were already starting to walk away from her and explore a little, so we just started grabbing them and moving them into the caged area, and Tasha thankfully kept calm. And then with her, we put a large fishing net over her, grabbed her from within that, and put her into the caged area. Thankfully, that all went rather smoothly. 8 turkey chicks in all! Wow, and thanks to the Lord!

Sadly, 1 died pretty quickly, but the other 7 kept going and growing.

Quite a few weeks later, when they all were much bigger, one morning, one of the young was getting picked on, so, with them pretty close to big enough where we were planning on letting them go soon anyway, I decided to let them free at that time.

Here they are just before we got them going:

Tasha's 2021 Turkey Chicks
More of Tasha's 2021 Turkey Chicks

Well, that part did not go rather smoothly. I couldn’t get the end of the cage propped up with the blankets on, so I removed some of the blankets, and Tasha, who is skittish anyway, just seemed to panic and flew up and out of the caged area and out the north door. Arg! So, we tried to shoo out the turklets so they would stay with her, and they started doing the same thing, flying up and off walls, going all over the barn, etc.

Soon, we were able to get them all out the north door. Mommy was kind of running up the walk path up to the goat fields with a couple of turklets behind her, so we tried to get the other ones to follow, and everyone started scattering. It was quite a mess. We were trying to get all the yougin’s to stay with mama, but looking back, we probably should have just let them be in the cage, as shooing them out caused a lot of trouble.

Throughout the day, 2 of the turklets made it back, hanging around the other turklet group or wherever, and Tasha came back too. And by the end of the day, only those 2 were to be found. Sigh.

In the evening, one I believe went into the barn, the other sat down next to the generator box, and so we got it and put it in the barn. We were praying God might grant more come back, or that we would find them, or that He might grant their safety over night.

Later, as Sue was walking Brodey our dog, she had an inkling to take a bit of a different path, and lo and behold, she discovered 3 sat down next to the orchard gate! Wow, what a gift from God! So, we used a fishing net with them, and got them into the barn. So now, 5 were in the barn, and 2 still missing. And that was it for that day.

The next day, I was walking around, looking around for the missing ones, and walked by the hill of dirt that was the dirt dug out for the root cellar, and lo and behold, God granted I just happen to walk by one and see it sat down in the grass! Wow, another gift out of nowhere! So, we netted it and put it in the barn in the goat stall area where the other 5 were still hanging out.

And in the Lord’s perfect will, #7 never came back. We don’t know if it just crouched down and died, or just ran off, but that was it. But, God didn’t have to grant any of them to come back, and we thank Him for what He did grant, and His answers to prayer!

Today, the 6 are still going strong, and spending their days out and roaming the homestead. Mama never rejoined them at all, and within the last couple of days, she had gone missing. She had slightly injured her wing when she tried to fly out on that mayhem day a couple of weeks ago, but I had a hard time believing it killed her now. However, last night she made an appearance to take a dirt bath and eat some, so we know she’s still alive, and it looks like she might be nesting again. We do pray God grant her safety out there, if He might. Maybe we’ll be able to find her and migrate her into the brooder barn.

And now, without further ado, here’s their video, which includes the release day, and the followups with finding turklets, and the 6 eventually starting to venture out of the barn:

We recognize that nothing we have is our own, and that all things are the Lord’s to do with as He pleases. We thank Him for graciously granting the turkey chicks He has, and we pray we never murmur, and that He glorify Himself through them in some way, and always through us in some way.

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Tanya’s Octuplet Turkey Chicks of 2021

The Lord granted one of our hatchlings from last year get broody this year, and thankfully she did so in the barn, so she wasn’t out in a forest somewhere, susceptible to ending up being dinner for a predator.

Our strategy was to wait until they hatched, if any did, and move her and them into our brooder barn (formerly what was going to be a summer kitchen), where we have a cage run that has worked well with new turkeys in the past.

Well, as God would graciously grant, she did hatch out her chicks (I call them “turklets”, like “chicklets” but for turkeys ๐Ÿ˜€ ), and so we grabbed her, and put her turklets in a bucket, and carried them all into the brooder barn, and set them all in there.

Thankfully again, I don’t believe she squooshed any in the mayhem of grabbing her (turkeys are quite strong and much bigger than chickens), and in the final count, she had hatched out 8 youngins’! Wow, that’s I think our biggest haul yet!

But, these things are pretty fragile as we have found out in the past. However, the Lord has granted to see them all through, and all 8 are still going today, and going strong!

I did end up waiting until the day we felt it was time to shoo them out of the brooder barn to freedom to start taking pictures and videos, and here they are:

First 2021 Turkey Chicks
More First 2021 Turkey Chicks

Here’s mama, who after they had grown so big, started sitting on the eggs that were still there:

Tanya the Turkey Sitting on Eggs

And here is their video adventure on their first and second days out!

We are very thankful to the Lord for His provisions and seeing all these 8 through to semi-maturity!

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Tasha’s Quint-essential 2020 Turkey Chicks

Well, it was that time of year again, where our heritage turkey hens get broody. Tasha, our star mommy, got broody in a little nook in a pile of “stuff” in our barn. So, I decided to move her and the eggs into our brooder barn (formerly the summer kitchen), with a nice nest, and private, but after a couple of days, she wouldn’t sit on them. So, back went the eggs into the nook nest, and her free, and lo and behold, she started sitting on them again. Then, the strategy became, let her hatch them out, and hopefully we can gather her and the chicks and put them in the brooder barn.

Well, 28 days or so later, sure enough, little turkey chicks (I call them “turklets”, like “chicklets” ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) started showing. We wanted to let her finish hatching, but didn’t want to wait long because of our cats potentially getting them. But then, we came home one day, and things were in some chaos, so something had happened, and so we tried to round up the chicks and her, and get them in the brooder barn. It went ok, although I believe we lost one in the process. Still, she had been sitting on quite a few eggs, and we were able to get her and five live turklets inside.

These chicks have always seemed fragile over the years, and so we had no idea what to expect. In fact, another turkey hen or ours, Olivia, recently started sitting, and they started to hatch out, all three or four were basically out of the shell, but dead when I found them. Always so sad. But, by God’s graces, Tasha’s grew, and continued to.

Here they are fairly young, maybe a couple of weeks after hatching:

New 2020 Turkey Chicks

More New 2020 Turkey Chicks

And then perched with mommy for the night. She’s very protective, so any resupplying of water and food had to be done at night, or she might go crazy and try to fly out the window, which she has done ๐Ÿ™‚ :

Turkey Chicks Perched for the Night on Fencing

More Turkey Chicks Perched for the Night on Fencing

Last year, after shortly letting out Tasha and her two turkets, something happened one night in the barn, and then next morning, one had disappeared, and the other was terminally injured, so we lost both of them. They weren’t tiny when we let them out, but I wondered if perhaps that was part of the cause of their loss. And so, this year, I wanted to keep them in the brooder barn longer.

And here is their video, from when they were younger, to the perch night, to freedom day, and a little beyond! (I do mention these are the only ones she hatched out, but that wasn’t correct, as noted above.)


And finally here they are recently hanging out up in the tree:

Turkey Chicks Perched for the Tree

We are grateful to the Lord for these new provisions, and we pray they continue in health, in accordance with His perfectly wise and good will!

— David

Providence’s Prerogatives: Tasha’s Two 2019 Turkey Chicks & Tragedy

Those who follow our blog might notice the difference in the title. Usually for these types of blog posts about God providing perpetuation provisions, we include that exactly in the title. However, this situation sadly ended up a little different than normal…

Tasha, one of the offspring from the heritage breed Black Turkey that showed up on our homestead one day, and the Tom we got as her mate, got broody, sitting outside somewhere, and I was thankfully able to grab her and the eggs and get her into what has become our brooder building (formerly known as our summer kitchen…it’s just worked out that way ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

And in due time, she hatched out 4 turkey chicks! (I call them “turklets”, like “chicklets” ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

But, through experience, we have come to understand that these turklets are quite fragile, or they get eaten by a snake (I’ve done some filling of the wall gaps in the brooder building to try to help with that, and we put a lantern in there at night so the mommy can see and perhaps fight off the snake), and for any of them to make it seems something extraordinary. 2 indeed did die, but 2 continued to make it.

Here’s one early on. You can see how tiny they are:

2019 Tiny Heritage Breed Turkey Chick

And then both a little older with their mommy:

2019 Young Heritage Breed Turkey Chicks

When they got to be about the size we usually let them out, it was time to do so. And we did, and they began their adventure in God’s creation, where they should be. And at night, we’d make sure they were in the barn for hopeful safety.

But that has sadly not always turned out to be the case (see the loss of Gigi our goose). A few days later, I went into the barn in the morning to let all the animals out, and I discovered one of the turklets was on the ground with its little head weaving back and forth across its back, which is a sign of something severely wrong; and the other turklet was nowhere to be found. I rushed the injured one into the brooder building, and tried to care for it as best I could, but indeed whatever happened to it was serious, and it died I believe by the next day. And we never found the body of the other turklet, although there was the smell of death near the front walk-in door (that’s real life on a farm), but after searching extensively, still never found anything.

We still don’t know what happened. But it was a shock, and very sad.

But here is the important point:

The God of all creation owns it all as such, and it is His for Him to disperse and dispense with as He wills. I would encouurage you to read all of Job 1, which some would say is the first book of the Bible actually written. Satan asks God’s permission to tempt Job (notice even the devil must take leave of God before acting), the Lord grants it with limitations, and almost everything Job had was taken from him — his animals, servants, and even his children. Not quite like losing a couple of turkey chicks, but with those much greater losses, what was Job’s response:

Job 1:20-22 – “20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

And there you go. He was sad, but submitted to God’s sovereign providences willingly, not murmuring, and even worshipping the Lord in it.

May this be our response to the hand of God in like situations. And may we recognize His mercies in these things too — He could have taken the whole flock but didn’t. And may the Lord grant us a true faith to trust Him in His perfect, wise, good, loving, and sovereign will under all circumstances.

And even though the little turklets aren’t with us anymore, I still wanted to share the 2 little gifts God granted for a while, which, since He is all wise and good, we pray He has graciously granted some good to our souls through the losses of them.

It’s always amazing to me how a little creature can be stuffed into that little egg-chamber (if you’ve ever seen them in there, they’re very scrunched up) and make it’s way out. And then to watch them grow…all these miracles of Providence along the way.

But without anything further, here they are on the day we let them out of the brooder building for the first time:

2019 Young Heritage Breed Turkeys

More 2019 Young Heritage Breed Turkey

Still More 2019 Young Heritage Breed Turkey

And then here’s their video:


Again, we thank the Lord for His many gifts, and thank Him for His graces and mercies in all things, especially to those He grants for our spiritual benefit, most of all the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, the greatest gifts ever!

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Olivia’s 2018 Turkey Chick

With us not really having a great way to manage the turkey flock we have now, after a rogue Black Turkey heritage breed hen just showed up at our homestead one day, it becomes difficult when the females start getting broody. They often find quite remote places to nest, and sometimes just hide in the grass somewhere in a field. Although we have lost one to that situation, the Lord’s been gracious to allow us to usually track them down as they perhaps come back in the morning to eat or drink or what have you before returning to their nest, and then we can follow them.

Now though, we try to make sure to collect any turkey eggs we find, and then, if we find a turkey on a nest, haul her in and any eggs in the nest, and put them in the summer kitchen, and add any other eggs we have.

Well, we did that this year with Olivia, the female from last year’s hatching, who had quite a few of her own eggs.

And while she had 5-6 under her, only one hatched out, but by God’s graciousness, this little turklet (I call them “turklets”, like “chicklets”) ๐Ÿ˜‰ made it all along, is still going today, and is almost adult size! We believe now it is a “she” turkey, and she is our first grand-turklet!

Here she is with her mommy back in August, obviously a little older than just a hatchling by this time:

Olivia & Her 2018 Turkey Chick

As you can see, the turklet liked to walk all over Olivia ๐Ÿ™‚ :

Another of Olivia & Her 2018 Turkey Chick

One sad note: we did the same “grab and put in the summer kitchen” with one of our other hens, Tasha, and she hatched out 2 turklets, but not long after they were born, each disappeared. We assume a snake got them, but I never found the culprit in there, and often we do. It’s still a mystery, but it was not the Lord’s will they continue, and we agree whole-heartedly with Him in His sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness!

Tasha & a 2018 Turkey Chick

And here is the video of Olivia and her hatchling, which progresses from the pictures above to when we permanently let them out of the summer kitchen to just this week! The video does include the other mama and one tiny little turklet that was left at the time:


And as always, we are very thankful to the Lord for His graces and mercies and the perpetuation of the animals!

— David

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