"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Turkey Trade

Over the years, we've benefitted greatly from trading goods and services with our neighbors (and also with the random people who read the barter section of Craigslist). The trade network has had its up times and down times, but in general, I feel confident in asserting that trade is a big boon to us. Probably as much food has come our way via the trade network as we actually produce ourselves here on the farm.

For the most part, I trade my animal products (cheese, eggs, meat) for other people's vegetable products, since I am a pretty poor gardener. I also offer up my husband's services as a mechanic (sometimes without his prior knowledge; I gotta quit doing that) in exchange for other professional services. That's how we got our roof fixed last year. I've been lucky enough to find and maintain a few long term trading partners - Veggie/Oil man and the Kale Fairy come to mind - but I lost those contacts over the year we were in Mexico.

Luckily, the trade network shows signs of revival. We're off to a good start I think. Talking to a friend at church, I mentioned that I needed to find some chickens, as I had given all mine away when we left last year. This led to a conversation and ultimately to a trade with her son-in-law. He got a bunch of old beekeeping equipment that we were certainly not going to use again, and we got nine healthy laying hens.

Some neighbors of ours wanted a goat for butchering. We have two young, plump goats that are just about ready to eat, and I offered to sell them one for $75 and let them do the work here at our place, since they don't have a suitable space for butchering. They countered with an offer of four turkeys for one goat. I've never raised turkeys before, but that seemed like a heck of a deal, so now we have turkeys. And nasty, obnoxious creatures they are, too. They look like dinosaurs, and charge at me whenever I go out to feed them. It's a bit frightening, having a twelve pound bird hurtle toward you at the speed of a velociraptor. Thanksgiving will be at our house this year.

Just today I set up a new trade, albeit a short-term one. I was buying pickling cucumbers at a vegetable stand downtown. I bought a lot of them because I'm selling them at $5 a quart and there seem to be a fair number of people who want to buy them. The proprietor and I got to talking, and he said if I brought down a few jars of pickles, he'd trade me fresh produce for them. I see tomatoes in my future.

Do you trade ? What do you like to trade? Does trade have a significant impact on your household budget? Below, find several links to stories about some of the more interesting trades I've made over the past few years.

Trade Network 2012 (Craigslist Chronicles)

On Trading and Canning

Mushroom Mistake (Win Some, Lose Some)

State of the Trade Network 2010 (What's Your Perspective?)


Laura said...

I raise turkeys - currently have 4 adult birds, and 15 "peeps". Mine have never been aggressive, even at feeding time. Sounds like you got the juvenile delinquent turkeys! Get a short (8-10 ft) piece of 1/2 to 3/4" pvc, and use it to direct them out of your way. You can whack them with it too - it won't hurt them, but will make them respect you.

You will love home-raised turkey. there is nothing like it in the world!!

Olive said...

Hi Aimee, remember me? I have been tad slack reading blogger for the last few months, but, like a bad penny I turn up to haunt you when you least expect it !! (lol)

In the past we have raised hundreds of turkeys here on our small holding in the Adelaide hills (boy !! am I glad we don't do that now) They were always allowed to roam in the paddocks during the daylight hours and they ALWAYS found a way into my garden where the dogs had their freedom. I still remember having to pickup every last piece of turkey and the feathers from the surrounds of the house before my husband arrived home from work and he could spot a turkey feather from 100 yards !!
They can fly over the fence but do you think they would ever fly back?? I spent many hours herding them (all 150 of them) along the fence line toward the open gate only to have them stop a metre short of the opening and run back in the opposite direction. My old legs are no longer able to run.

Enough of that....I notice that you have your hens and turkeys penned together....they should be raised separately, Turkeys pick up any small disease from hens (that in a hen is not a problem) and it becomes a major problem in a turkey. It will affect the liver and the turkey will become very ill. It is called BLACKHEAD disease (nothing to do with the colour of the birds head) It ia treatable. Here in OZ the medication must be sourced from a Vet. Then again maybe where you are it may not be such a problem

Aimee said...

Olive - thank you for the information! I was thinking I ought to separate them because the turkeys pick on the hens and they are not laying as well as they were before we got the turkeys. Now I have another reason. Okay!

It's wonderful to hear from you, hope things are going well for you down in Oz.

Meagan McGovern said...

Oh, I can't wait to meet you. I moved in to town while you were gone -- I'm a new neighbor, around the corner in Ferndale.
You and I are kindred spirits.
My blog, which I think you'll find amusing, because we have so many similarities (well, except the trip to Mexico:
Also? Check out the Whatcom Farmer's Trading Post group on Facebook. I have now traded with people on Vista Drive and Aldergrove (both right around the corner from me,) for turkeys, pork, apples, plums, milk and chickens!
I hope we can cross paths soon!