As you can tell by the photo Mr. T is a free range turkey. If you look carefully in the background you can see one of his girlfriends she is laying down in the brush. Turkeys are more like a harem. Mr. T had 6, he was very busy! He is dancing for me in this photo he had a crush on me who was his human care takers. This is how he courts his ladies. Sometimes the male turkey can dance for up to 20 minutes.
I have a special place in my heart for turkeys and their added benefit to any personal backyard, urban farm, community (CSA oriented) peri-urban farm or large scale farm.
This is a link to a documentary that shows what can go wrong in factory animal farming:
It may shock you to hear the farm animals do not have any rights and have no legal protection under the domestic animal laws. This means that they can be treated in harshest and most abusive ways possible. In the past I have helped to educate people about the outright inhumane treatment of farm animals the shock to them so severe that in less than one day have become 100 percent vegetarians and vegans. Though it is not the only step we can take in changing out diets radically by stopping our meat consumption to stop the monstrous behavior by factory farmers. We also need to support those farmers who are raising animals with a sense of sustainability and natural partnership to make real change. Put your money where your dinner plate is!
Factory Farm: a large industrialized farm; especially: a farm on which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at minimal cost.
I always ask the question, same question to people I know and meet who live in a sustainable manner what their definition of sustainable is? In my own attempt to find what I believe the word really means. What I can tell you today is that for me sustainable means: to relearn something that is within me already, becoming a natural self, living in a natural way, being a authentic natural being living with nature. As nature lives so do I and there should be no separation where in myself and nature, that is sustainability. Nature knows who to do everything; it is a perfect system of thrival, thriving, prosperity, abundance with all needs being met by everyone for everyone. We once knew how to work with nature, we once worshiped her and she has had many names including: Demeter goddess of all life or nature. In her mythology she once withheld life, growth from the people of earth to see her daughter again. The ruler of the dark underworld Hades kid napped Demeter’s daughter for his wife. Demeter or nature stopped in a reaction of upset. Hades had to make a deal so that nature would again start living again for the people of earth. A deal was made and so in what is called winter her daughter stayed with Hades and when she was released to Demeter then summer began. It continues on to this day.
Most of us do not know what has happened to the food we eat and I truly believe that if you knew, you would make a serious effort to change it. Factory, industrial, commercial whatever you choose to call it is not only bad for the people who eat these animals produced from these farms, it is bad for the farmers who have been forced into this way of life as a way to stay in business to hold onto their families farm lands and mostly importantly it is the most horrific possibility for the animals that end up on them. There is just no way you can handle, maintain or take care of a massive amount of animals in a very small area in any natural/sustainable way. 17,000 chickens in a building with no proper air quality, no sunlight and the people that work in them wear respirators because the conditions are so bad. You could not just all of a sudden let 17,000 birds or chickens outside to be sustainable. There is not enough food for them to eat, what about the people who live around you, releasing diseases into the environment and the bottom line these chickens have spent all their lives in this fake environment created by humans. These chickens would not be able to survive in a natural setting as all of their basic instincts have been forced and abused out of them. Not to mention the astronomical amount of antibiotics that these factory animals are feed and injected with to keep them alive in conditions that cause unavoidable diseases. I am not just talking about birds it is affecting all farm animals across the board. How does flu from a bird or a swine flu from a pig come into existence? That transfers from animal making a human so sick they die, well here it is folks it may be linked to how the animals are treated on factory farms.
If the factory farm collapses like in the documentary Turlock that I have provided a link to there is no options for the animals but to let them die. There are several reasons this can happen: when the farmer is tired, when he emotionally cannot handle the type of high maintenance farm a factory farm is, when he may no longer be able afford to feed the animals, when the farmer gets sick and can no longer manage his farm. So many reasons come to mind about why a monoculture kind of farming will fail at some point.
Let’s look at homesteading, organic, biodynamic, community and urban farming. You only have as many animals as you have land and natural food for them. The animals naturally become free range which allows them to move around in open spaces; getting a large amount of sunlight which naturally is a disinfectant, antibacterial as well as vitamin D. this free range allows them to find with their own natural abilities the best food possible. The animals have a inherent skill and know to graze away from the poisonous weeds that also grow in pastures. Unlike animals that do not graze and are strictly feed dry alfalfa where these weeds are harvested along with it and the animal cannot separate the weeds from its food supply. Causing long term liver damage to animals that are strictly feed it year around. I also work on animals and I get many calls about health issues in horses and their back ends dragging. Always comes back to the food, the liver meridian and the toxic levels of horses that live in desert climates, with no pasture and only feed low grade that usually have highs amounts of the weeds per volume it is usually chemically treated as well. Currently there are farmers who are growing certified weed free alfalfa.
Grazing has numerous benefits; it is the full circle of life and continuation of life in a natural way for those animals living on that land. Animals eat the pasture grasses, they fertilize it as they eat, with the hooves mash the fertilizer tilling it into the soil, the microbes get a hold of it breaking it down further in nutrient ready for the grasses and over time the soil becomes darker and richer providing a natural state in which nutrient dense grasses grow for the animals to eat. Perfectly natural process, there is no work needed and the cycle can go on endlessly without effort. Maybe the only necessary work is to irrigate the pasture from time to time if rain is not available and to bring the animals in at night (most of them come in on their own at dark as long as their pins are open) and in the am reopening the pins so they can head out for work on their own.
One of the best natural method/s of pest controls is to be found with the birds. They are most efficient masters of eating bugs. Bugs are bird’s number one favorite food. Farming varieties of birds included are: chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese when allowed to free range will clean up over time most out of control bugs. Remember that these birds also love good home grown produce. You may want to put in place barriers around garden areas that have current produce in them. When the season is over, let the birds into those areas to eat up what is left, scratch up the soil and eat bugs! I build home family food production systems called urban farms the farm implies an animal of some sort. Usually for pest controls, natural fertilizer and food. Everyone is different in the choice of what animals they choose for the back yards or urban farm. Animals that are best fit are: chickens for laying eggs, chickens for meat called fryers and rabbits. Most local butchers teach classes on how to slaughter and if you are in with a good local farmer he can show you to. If you do not have the stomach for it then laying hens are up your alley. It is always good to educate yourself on the proper care of any animals you choose to have for whatever reason. There are many methods of care or lack of out there and my advice would be to follow the thoughts, ideas and philosophies that treat animals with love and respect following the principles of nature as close as you can.
I want to leave a small thought about nutrition which is one of many you are dealing with when considering your choices in farming products and where they come from. Most factory or commercial farms for cows as meat do not let the animals move around and are kept in filthy small pens. The cows on these farms are feed very little alfalfa, no natural grasses and large amounts of GMO corn, GMO soy beans and litter. Litter is what comes out of factory (chicken fryers, laying hens, turkeys) buildings, it is ground up and given to cows to eat. The litter contains: droppings, feathers, dead animals, decaying animal parts, dander, chicken feed and who really knows what else. Cows are only grass eaters, they only eat grass, the cow was not designed to eat anything other than green beautiful pasture, that is why is has 4 guts. I have read that in the main stream or factory cattle farms cows are literally in the processes of death and are “dying” when they are slaughtered. The diet they give the cows is the cause. Similarity in humans as our diets are not what we are eating either. We are suppose to eat little meat, lots of veggies, grains, fruits but very rarely do so and instead eat the main stream diet of fast food which is something humans are not meant to eat. We get fat, sick, tired and usually die young from one of the numerous diseases that come from eating the main stream diet. Last fact, silica is a mineral that is considered the fountain of youth. It is important for many reasons to the body processes and systems for anti aging and longevity. We get much of our silica in high amounts from eating animals that eat lots of green, soil rich grasses. Apparently silica is found in high amounts in grasses of microbial rich soil. Even chickens in a free range lifestyle eat massive amounts of grasses daily. Eating factory farmed meat contains zero silica the bottom is that you are missing out on a natural mineral eaten by animals in a nature raised way. How many other nutrients are you losing out on by buy factory farmed meat? I know what you are getting instead: pesticides, gmo/s, antibiotics, hormones, steroids and whatever else I do not know about.
Know your farmer: get out, tour farms that are organic and use natural process like free range, ask the farmers what they feed the animals; small farms are popping up everywhere, purchase meat/s from farmers who care, are sustainable and are moral.
Buy organic meat/s: buy organic meat that is labeled from the place, farm that it was raised on. If the store, butch does not know or is vague do not buy the meat. Honest is of real value in the search for real meat for your table.
Build your own urban farm: you can build a year around food production in your own yard, patio or kitchen. When consulting for urban farm builds I focus on at least 20 percent of the food they are eating and feeding their animals come from their back yards. When all is said and done off a ¼ acre in the summer months you can usually get 95 percent. Then you know what your animals are eating, what you are eating and you have control over it.
If you are a meat eater please take responsibility for what you choose to consume. Farm animals deserve better treatment from us we are the stewards of all living things on earth. There are many documentaries out there on the dangers of factory farming so please educate yourself so that you fully understand the lies, deception and propaganda out there. If we are willing to pay more for better quality food then I believe the factory farmers would change they are being held as prisoners in the economy just like the rest of us are. No one wants to be cruel to animals, every farmer would much rather see their animals grazing on their lands in the sun shine. It is up to the consumer, we make the choices for all life on earth including our own.
I give the gift of sustainable farming during the holiday season and my favorite gift is the hive of bees. With so much going on that is killing our bee populations I feel that it is a much needed gift to give. We cannot have sustainability without our bee friends. To gift sustainability please go to: http://www.heifer.org/ and find your level of giving.
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!