Family benefitted from raising turkeys

From our March 2013 issue

By Clara Schur – Endeavour, Sask.

In the spring, mother and her youngsters went combing the woods for turkey nests.

The turkeys were free roaming and the nests were hard to find, especially in the neighbours’ bush. The eggs would be confiscated and brought to the incubator at the house.

The incubator was set up in the living room and heated by kerosene lamps. I always thought that there must have been a better place for the incubator.

Each day the trays of eggs would be allowed to cool, and the eggs would be turned over. When the eggs hatched the baby poults where given back to the turkey hens to raise.

It was almost impossible to herd them into the henhouse if a storm was brewing.

In the fall they would roost on the fence and if the weather was cold, they might have frozen eyelids. Many evenings were spent picking up the turkeys from the fence and carrying them to the henhouse.

The next job would be the slaughtering of the turkeys. The de-feathering followed and pin feathers would have to be removed.

No one enjoyed the eviscerating but it was a necessary chore to ready the birds for roasting for Thanksgiving dinner.

The rewards of raising turkeys were many. Some of the birds were sold and supplied extra cash for Christmas.

Quite often, new Christmas outfits were bought from the sale of the turkeys. We also enjoyed a delicious roast turkey for Christmas dinner.

Alice and Eric Gabrielson and their free roaming turkeys in 1946.