Join us on a virtual field to an East Central Minnesota turkey farm! We will meet Samantha Gessell and see what a day in the life of turkey farmer is like. On the day of our virtual field trip, the farm will have just received poults (baby turkeys) so we will see them up close and ask questions about how turkey farmers care for their birds! This 30 minute virtual field trip is targeted for K-5 students.
About the Badger Creek Thirteen Acres
Minnesota is the number 1 producer in the United States with over 40 million turkey ever year! One of the Minnesota farms that contribute to this is Badger Creek farms. Samantha is a fourth generation turkey farming starting with her great-great grandfather. She worked as a nurse for a few years and then came back to the farm.
Badger Creek - 13 Acres consists of three farm sites. Each year 613,000 turkeys on average go to Jennie-O. They have eight different barns that house all these turkeys.
Biosecurity on a Turkey Farm
This is how the turkeys are kept safe. There is a dip pan before you enter the barn where dunk your shoes in to ensure they are clean. Boot bags are put on the shoes for extra protection. Hands also need to be sanitized before entering the turkey barns.
Preparing for Birds to Arrive
The barn is cleaned entirely before turkeys come. Everything is cleaned and washed including the feeders, windows, fans, doors and more. The turkey manure is then hauled out of the barns and spread out onto farmers fields as a fertilizer for their crops. Before the turkeys come, the barns are spread with sunflower seed hauls. Then pens are set up for the poults.
About 35,000 turkeys arrived the morning of the virtual field trip. When new birds (poults) arrive to the farm, they are about one day old. The barns are kept at 85-90 degrees when they first come to keep them warm and healthy.
There are pads inside each of the pens that we put feed on. The Ziggity waters provides water when a turkey touches the green cup it applies pressure and allows the water to come out. There are four feeding trays in each pen that are hand filled for the first four days or so after their arrival. Each barn has 32 pens. On the Badger Creek farm, there are two finishing barns.
Once they are about five weeks old, they are moved to the finishing barn. This allows them more space to grow up. They will be in finishing barn for another seven weeks before Jennie-O will pick them up to bring them to marketing. It takes about 12 weeks to go from a day old poult to a market ready turkey. Typically turkeys weigh about 13.5-14 pounds on average when brought to market.
To learn more about our visit to the Badger Creek Thirteen Acres farm, watch our virtual field trip video in the link above.