by | Nov 1, 2016 | Farm Updates

Behind The Scenes: Raising Turkeys

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As you are thinking about turkey, we thought you might like to see a bit behind the scenes of our turkeys being raised.

Turkeys love to forage. That means they love to peck and eat blades of grass, bugs, seeds and anything else that catches their eye. Turkeys can get around 20% of their diet from things they find on pasture. Having this variety in their diet makes their meat more flavorful, and also much more nutritious.

Before the turkeys are ready to go out on pasture, they are housed inside a building called a “brooder.” This building is kept at about 90 degrees using heat lamps (red colored light in photo above), and propane heaters. The poults are free to scratch and peck in the bedding, and are served finely ground grain and fresh water. Sometimes they even receive raw milk for probiotics.

Chores for the turkeys is done about twice a day. They love to follow the person with the bucket and often eat right from the pail!

Butchering is done using a scalding hot water loosen the feathers from the skin. Then the birds are spun inside a drum with rubber fingers to pluck the feathers from the carcass. Once complete, the birds are eviscerated by hand and chilled in cold water before inspecting for quality control and shrink wrapping.

Watch the video to see how the feather plucker works (chickens being plucked in this case, but works the same for turkeys).

There are many recipes out there for roasting pastured turkey. We will be posting a few as we get closer to Thanksgiving. For now, here’s a recipe for 5-minute bone broth gravy:

Do you have any comments or questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by:

Bartlett Farms

Not only are we passionate about growing the best foods, but our mission is to educate and inspire so that together we can create healthier families and thriving homes that impact generations to come.


  1. Emmy Tolbert

    Thanks for that excellent blog post!

    • Bartlett Farms

      You’re welcome, Emmy!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep Reading

Celebrating 15 Years At Bartlett Farms!

Celebrating 15 Years At Bartlett Farms!

You probably wouldn't believe us if we told you our "plans" when we started back in 2004. No farming in our background, no knowledge of animals, no business experience, no house, no electricity, and no water. Just bare land and a dad and mom with four energetic young...

read more
Do Cows Have Emotions?

Do Cows Have Emotions?

Happy March! Earlier this week I met Dr. Temple Grandin, a low-stress and humane livestock handling expert that is known around the world for making animals lives better. You may already know who she is! Temple has suffered from autism since her childhood, and because...

read more
The 2018 Bismarck Baby Expo Recap

The 2018 Bismarck Baby Expo Recap

Hey friends, Last weekend we had an amazing time at the Bismarck Baby Expo! Hundreds of young families learning to raise their families in a way that makes them healthy and robust. As a farm, we represent the real food movement helping people suffering from food...

read more




Other Products