Turkeys and Trashing a Trashy Trailer

Cue the drumroll…  Announcing that we’ll be raising turkeys this summer!  We hope to have turkeys available for Thanksgiving, and if all goes well, to also offer turkey breasts, legs, and ground turkey.  We’ll be getting a slow start, just 200 turkeys (100 for us, 100 for another farm).  The numbers are big enough to make it worth our time, but small enough that it should allow us to reuse a lot of our chicken equipment without requiring an entirely new set of brooders, intermediate field shelters, and feeders for the turkeys.

However one piece of equipment we’ll need is a big portable range coop suited to the turkeys after they are about eight weeks old.  I’ve been watching Craigslist for a while for the right deal to come along, and this week I think I found it.  We paid $100 for this nasty 35 foot camper trailer with a collapsed roof.

Wilderness Trailer

Classic 1991 color scheme, albeit a little worse for wear.

Thanks to an intrepid friend providing some roadside assistance and moral support (thanks Nate!), we were able to tug this trailer fifty miles back home.  About five miles from the house one of the dry-rotted tires blew up, but we were able to limp the rest of the way home on three wheels.  I’ll check with the tire shops in town for some bald used tires and a set of inner tubes to replace these.

Shredded Tire

This little tire went thumpa-thumpa-thump all the way home.

The scrapyard value of the aluminum skin should offset the cost of the disposal fees for all the wet furniture, wood, and insulation we remove, but the primary value for us is in the frame.  This will become a low-cost and relatively lightweight shelter for the turkeys.  We’ll attach roosting poles every two feet along the frame and install some shade tarps over it.  I’m thinking about welding a four foot extension to the rear so we can use a standard 40 foot recycled billboard tarp for shade.


The kitchenette.  Can you spot the black cat exploring?  This is a cat’s delight, full of mouse nests.

The first task is to tear it down, and then we’ll build it back up.   I’ll post more pictures of our progress when we actually start making some progress.

Tape Deck

But hey, it comes with a cassette deck.

8 Comments on “Turkeys and Trashing a Trashy Trailer

  1. This is just great! That’s so gross, great story. Can’t wait to meet the turkeys.

    • Yes, it is a mess. But the frame itself should be serviceable. By the time you come back this summer, we’ll probably have about 3x as many birds on the farm as last year.

    • Thanks Maryerin. Brave or foolish, sometimes we find there’s just a hair’s breadth of difference between the two. But I think this construction project will turn out well.

  2. Hi Dave
    That’s the best recycling story I’ve heard in years! For the love of animal welfare I’ll be buying 4 turkeys as soon as they are available.

    • Looking at the trailer, we found a few other items in it that might some recycled uses, including the 12 volt water pump. We’ll be able to use that on our solar panels to pump water from the pond for the cattle.

  3. This is funny, because during the Great Depression in the 1930s and beyond, many chicken houses were converted into living spaces for people out of necessity. I have seen examples of two, one in Wisconsin and one in Illinois. People do what they need to. Look forward to seeing what you come up with for the turkeys. I loved raising turkeys last year.

    • Thanks. Part of the excitement of this time of year is that we’ve been making plans for this since last summer, but we’re finally starting to put the pieces together.

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