(continued) “My attention now needed to be turned to helping the three in the brooder grow to the point of being released back into the wild. My daughter decided that little project belonged to her, and named them all Bernice.”
Would the three Bernices eat? That was the most critical question. Not having immediate turkey feed available, we used chick feed granules, soaked in water. They were not interested in the least. At 3:00 a.m., my daughter, Roni, woke me up concerned that they hadn’t eaten or drank…time for a little forced nutrition. Using a syringe, no needle, we worked together getting a soupy mixture into their mouths….waited for them to swallow, and added more. The next day, I stopped at the feed store and picked up flock raiser feed for turkeys.
Not completely soupy yet…but you get the picture.
The littlest poult, the first one we found after mama turkey had returned, was still quiet, but swallowed the food as the others. This little Bernice seemed to need a little extra attention, and was very happy to snuggle under a towel in Roni’s arms. The other two Bernices were less receptive to cuddle time, and were huge wiggle worms.
Littlest poult Bernice. Believe it or not, she is fast asleep here…she loved to cuddle in Roni’s hands.
One of the other Bernices…fat and sassy!
Every 2 – 3 hours we went through this feeding routine, taking shifts to support our differing schedules. Roni liked to take the poults outside to feed them. They seemed to perk up when taken outside. One of the three has a wing (or wing feathers) that sticks out away from its body. This may be the little one that Penni picked up by its wing when she originally found them. Hopefully, it is just a feather, cosmetic issue…it seems like it.
Two of the three Bernices
On the second night, Roni again woke me up afraid that the littlest Bernice was dying…it looked like she was. Her head was floppy, and she had no significant strength to her legs. I thought about my little rooster, Austin Healey, and how sugar water helped him to bounce back and ignite his appetite…it was worth a shot. The littlest Bernice readily swallowed the sugar water from the syringe…and we waited. A couple of hours later we fed her turkey feed softened with the sugar water. By morning, she was much stronger! She looked like she had turned the corner…one more meal, and I went off to work…by noon time, the littlest Bernice had died. 😦 It was very sad. She just never was as strong as the other two.
Still sleeping…her tummy was full, she was warm and safe. Notice the food crumbles on her beak.
The other two Bernices gained in strength, and within a day of each other started eating and drinking on their own…YAY!! They are definitely wild birds, and do not look forward to human interaction…this is great news for their eventual release. We’ve had a couple of escapes…twice outside, once in the garage…and they immediately run and burrow under whatever they can find..it’s not easy to retrieve them.
Bernice and Bernice
One’s a blur, the other showing off her long neck and legs. Notice that wing, it should be tucked tight against her body.
Within this first week, their legs are longer, and their necks are stretching. They are able to jump out of their brooder if the top is off, so feeding has become a bit of a challenge….but, today…they have graduated to eating turkey feed granules…no more soaking!!!
It’s a new, fun challenge…like many we are experiencing out here in the forest and on the farm….but wait, there is more….
Can’t wait to tell you of the early, morning wake-up we had a couple of days ago, opening up a new chapter to this year’s spring – summer management on the farm. Never a dull moment!!
Hope you all have a wonderful day….see you tomorrow as we walk through the forest.