Squaw Creek Farm

Although hubby comes from a long line of farmers (at least 5 generations) I never thought he would become one!  When we met, I knew that he had grown up on a farm, was majoring in something agriculture related, but wasn’t planning on actually becoming a farmer.  I had grown up in the country, but NOT on a farm.  I knew nothing about farming.  I didn’t even know there were turkey farms in Iowa.

Now, 9 years later, farming is our life.

How did we get here?  I often ask myself the same question. :)  It’s a long, complicated story, so I’m going to try to keep it as simple as possible.  But this is the most important thing:

We are farming because we were blessed with an amazing opportunity.

We farm because we want to carry on a family tradition.
We farm because we want our boys to work alongside their Dad whenever possible.
We farm because we want to model hard work and personal responsibility to our children.
We farm because we want to build a legacy - something to be proud of in our retirement and something to leave for the next generation.

When I take time to remember all these things, I know that we made the right decision.  Even when things are tough – turkeys die, husband’s working 14 hours days, and we have to travel to family weddings without him – I KNOW that this lifestyle is right for us.

A Glimpse into our Farm Life

Here are some of my blog posts about our farm.  (Or scroll down to get a quick run down on how it all works.)

Our Turkey Farm: How it Works

Twenty thousand (20,000) male baby turkeys (poults) come to us when they are 1 day old.  We unload them into a big, toasty, 90 degree barn called the “brooder.”  They live there until they are about 5 weeks old.  Inside the barn, there are automated feeders and waterers, which are triggered by the turkeys, so they have unlimited access to these.  The temperature in the barn is controlled by a thermostat, and there are vents that open and close automatically to help adjust it if needed.  The turkeys are not in cages – instead they are on sawdust bedding from a local sawmill.  For the first two weeks, chores take a few hours each morning, because of the supplemental feeders and waterers that we fill by hand.  We also chore the poults at night, but this is usually a quick walk through to make sure all equipment is running smoothly and that the turkeys seem comfortable.


Around 5 weeks of age, we move the turkeys to one of our two finisher sites.  The finisher sites have two 528 foot buildings, so the turkeys have plenty of room to spread out as they grow.  These barns also have automated feeders and waterers and again, the temperature is controlled for the turkeys’ comfort.  Our finishers are tunnel ventilated, meaning that there are huge fans at one end that suck air through, creating up to a 10 mph breeze in the barns when necessary. (Most livestock barns have curtains instead and rely on the natural breezes to cool animals.) We also have misters that cool the birds in the summer.


The west finishers are on the left, the brooder in the middle, and the east finishers are on the right.  Our 100 year old farmhouse is near the brooder, closer to the gravel road.  The trees are surrounding Squaw Creek.


The turkeys stay in the finishers until they are ready for market at 19 1/2 weeks.  Until then, my husband chores them twice a day, walking through to check equipment, pick up dead, and look for any signs of distress or disease.  At the time they go to market, they average about 41 pounds.  These are not your Thanksgiving birds!  Our birds are processed for lunch meat and ground meat.  In fact, the processing plant we use supplies turkey to all the Subways west of the Mississippi River!


In the meantime, we would have already started a new flock in the brooder.  At 5 weeks, they would move to the OTHER finisher site.  In between flocks, there is about 4 weeks to clean and disinfect, and that is actually the busiest time for us.  So, every 9 weeks, we get a new flock of 20,000, and there is no break in between!  We raise almost 6 flocks, or 120,000 turkeys, in one year!