Talkin’ Turkey

Talkin’ Turkey 

By Ron Eichner 

      Hi folks, fall is a busy season of enjoyment each year. October finishes up with Halloween and pumpkins of many sizes and trick-or-treating. Then November has Thanksgiving which takes place on the fourth Thursday. It is a national holiday that brings together family and friends who celebrate the year’s harvest and other blessings from the past year. 

     Turkeys are the focus this month, and most people feel it all starts with picking a turkey up frozen from a local store and then preparing it for the holiday. As a family farm, my grandfather started to raise turkeys back in the 1930s, and every year since then, we begin with day-old poults, raising them for five months. The two-day help from friends and family members, gives us the team for processing the turkeys at our farm. Fortunately, this allows us the opportunity to offer fresh turkeys for our valued year-round customers every year. 

      Each fall season starts with us getting ready our two heated nurseries for when the day-old poults arrive, each one receives three swallows of a vitamin and electrolyte fortified water. This process continues for the first three weeks of drinking, and then fresh water is available. This is a natural vegetable-based three-step program; starter, grower, and finisher with pre and probiotics, and essential oils, antibiotic-free support the health of our turkeys. The turkeys are happiest when they have a simple triangle—feed, water, and a place to roost, like a couch potato. They are active in large open pens as a controlled-free range. 

     Allowing turkeys to roam free-range outside would give them a 24-hour threat to predators like coyotes, foxes, fishers, raccoons, hawks, domesticated dogs, and cats, all looking for their next meal. In the eastern states, the bald eagle is the number one predator for free-range poultry like chickens and turkeys. 

     In recent times, we have been harassed by a few people using social media saying how we “cruelly raise and process” our turkeys. The Humane Society of Pittsburgh has visited our farm to investigate the only complaint each year, the Friday before Thanksgiving. The Humane Society and Animal Friends agents have found no violations and were pleased with our humane practices. 

     People say it probably is PETA and vegans who have their agendas to push, and the traditional turkeys are absent from their tables. So instead, they substitute the popular holiday with “Thanks Vegan,” and dishes are made vegan-style, including meatless roasts, dairy-free mashed potatoes, and no egg desserts. 

     God gives us all free-will to choose, and if people want humanely treated livestock, we may be Wexford’s best-kept secret. We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! You are welcome to stop by Eichner’s Whole Farm & Greenhouses if you are seeking your trimmings for a traditional Thanksgiving at 285 Richard Road in Wexford and get “the rest of the story.”