When you close your eyes and think of a farm (and who doesn’t just close their eyes and think about farms?) we’d bet francs to fowl that the farm you see is set in a lush, green pasture. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and there’s a big, red barn somewhere in the distance.
Are we wrong?
But farming, like just about anything but The Bachelor, exists in the real world. That means (avert your eyes and cover your ears, children) that idyllic farmscape you just dreamt up is a lot less predictable.
So what does turkey farming look like in the frigid winter months? That answer depends on what we start doing in October.
Winter and spring in Sonora, California, can come with their fair share of fluctuation. One day might be sun-soaked and warm, and the next might be cold and soaking wet. So a lot of our work around the farm come fall is to prepare for whatever mean ol’ mama nature might throw our way when she gets nasty.
When you’re raising birds without antibiotics (like every one of our birds is), temperature fluctuation poses a much higher risk to the health of the flock. A well-regulated barn is crucial. At Diestel Family Ranch, we take all sorts of steps to ensure that our birds stay happy and healthy all winter long.
Some of those steps are simple, everyday things—like making sure that all of the roofing and siding is in good shape. Before the mercury starts to drop, we’re tightening screws and replacing metal sheeting where it’s needed to make sure that water stays where it’s supposed to be: outside of our barns.
Another of those steps is to make sure that the curtains that keep drafts from ripping through the barns are free from tears and holes. A few millimeters of fabric between our birds and the elements may not sound like much, but it makes a big difference. Why not just close in the barns? Because fresh air is crucial to our birds’ health and happiness.
Inside the barn, we’re taking great strides, too. Fans help to keep things moving, circulating cool air from the outdoors. Heaters provide heat when necessary, as well as helping to keep moisture down. Additionally, fresh pine shavings further help to control moisture (in addition to being plush AF).
Together, all those steps in the fall (if only our FitBits could count ‘em…) help to ensure that our birds are healthy, happy, and hearty all winter long.
So what’s farming in winter? It’s a lot like living in winter: hunkering down, keeping cozy, and getting ready to live it up come springtime.