OCR Interpretation

Montana farmer-stockman. [volume] (Great Falls, Mont.) 1947-1993, November 15, 1949, Image 1

Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86075096/1949-11-15/ed-1/seq-1/

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°^%n L *'o
No*. 15,
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4. II
£Sl; :
with it the annual question for the turkey
grower: "To kill or not to kill." One gets jit-
tery—"The blamed birds are eating their
heads off. Besides, the price may drop be
fore Christmas."
I know just how you feel, ".t seems like
pouring money down a rathole. Yet the
sound advice is: "Don't kill until the birds
are prime."
A bird is prime when you can answer each
question with the word WELL. The prime
bird is well fleshed, well fatted, well fin
ished (that is, the pin feathers are grown
out), well bled and well dressed. If any of
these items only come up to fairly well, the
bird is not prime and should be fed some
Yet, on the other hand, birds should not
be held after they are finished. Each week
you keep them after finishing costs you
more and more money to put on a pound
of gain. If the birds have been properly
handled, they should be ready for slaughter
at about 26 to 28 weeks of age.
Indicators of Finish
There are several indicators of finish.
When parting the feathers over the breast
and hips, you will find the finished bird
has fatted triangles that nearly meet. Fur
thermore, the hip bones no longer look like
boiler plates minus flesh.
Usually the finished bird will have not
more than two green or undeveloped tail
feathers on either side of the tail. Some feel
of the fat at the nape of the neck. The fin
ished bird gets a roll of fat where the old cat
picks up her kitten.
All right, so the bird isn't finished. What
can you do? Feed it. Feed it what? Well,
the frame is grown. The
greatest need for protein
is to grow those feathers.
Many make the mistake
of cutting out all mash,
feeding only grains,
thinking fattening is the
only job.
A bird has to have
some protein to grow out
the pins. Of course, if you
have an unlimited sup
ply of skim milk or but
termilk, that will do the
trick. But lacking milk,
you'd better continue
mash feeding.
As to the grains you
should feed, use the
cheapest available. Fre
quently barley is the
cheapest. Many growers
have splendid luck in
soaking barley over night
in skim milk. Then the next morning
enough green alfalfa leaves are added to
soak up the surplus milk.
This soaking does not increase the digesti
bility of the grain one iota, but it does make
it more palatable. The birds eat more hence
finish quicker.
The alfalfa is especially important to pro
vide the vitamin A. Vitamin A protects
against disease, especially roup and colds.
It's not pleasant to have birds just about
ready for market, then have them come
down with a regular epidemic of "swelled
heads." Usually the sinus trouble is not
from exposure or bad weather, but merely
from vitamin A deficiency.
If you have a lot of cheap yellow corn—
Hold That Bird
1/niiJ If Is Finished
^4 Prime Bird Is
TTeH Fleshed
Well Fatted
TFdl Finished
Well Dressed
omi, ITA«. Well Done
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I can hear you say,
was such an animal"—what I mean is, if
you have grown some and you feel market
ing through the turkeys is a wise use, then
don't give too much alfalfa unless you want
a yellow-skinned bird.
Reputation to Live Up To
Your private customers may not object
to a yellow skinned bird, but if shipping
east, don't make more than one-third of
the ration corn. Montana has a reputation
of top grade white meated birds to live up to.
There are quite a few people wondering
what they are going to do about dressing.
The professional sticker and dry picker at
two-bits a bird seems to have gone out with
the Model T. So (Please turn to page 21)
'I didn't know there

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