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Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013
Mystery Solved: Turkey FarmPosted Thursday, November 25, 2010, at 8:30 PM
Sedgewickville Grows Turkeys
Turkey Day, plus all its attractive foods, is just hours away and as people sit down to the burdened festive board, hardly ever is a thought given as to where all this delicious turkey meat comes from and how it is processed.
There are huge turkey ranches and lesser producers all over the country, and one of the important producers is right here within 35 miles of Cape Girardeau. Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur L. Barks, in the turkey production business for 12 years, are now shipping out the bulk of their 5000-bird flock from their farm just west of Sedgewickville.
These are big toms, the bronze Keithly variety and their numbers virtually cover the landscape. All of the birds, and they average 31 to 34 pounds per bird as they are loaded out, go to the St. Louis markets and from there find their way to tables everywhere. Some of the flock has been shipped out for Thanksgiving and the remainder will go out for Christmas.
It takes 25 weeks to produce a big, marketable tom from the time he is received as a few-hours-old poult. In that time the hens, under a menu of cracked corn and supplementary ration, expand to around 18 pounds and the toms to between 30 and 35 pounds. The Barks order their poults from hatcheries.
Shown here is a portion of the huge Bollinger County flock on a hillside just opposite the old Dulles mill on Whitewater Creek.
It was up to Tammy Barks, 3, to select one for the Barks family table, but there were so many birds it was a tough decision for a little girl.
And, do these birds eat. The flock, at maturity, consumes two tons of food daily.
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Fred Lynch has captured images for the Southeast Missourian since 1975, in that time moving from black-and-white to color, from film to digital and to video. The blog title is a nod to an earlier era of news photography and the 4x5 Speed Graphic: It's more important to be there for the shot than to worry about technical details.