From farm to table, the path of getting turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner starts early on for one local farmer on the Central Coast, but this year she is facing obstacles ahead of the holiday season.
Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, Erin Krier learned how to process chickens. Babe’s Bird Farm was later born and has been in operation going on 10 years.
This year, however, her flock only has five turkeys. Normally Krier said she likes to have 30 turkeys.
“We’ve had a lot of coyote pressure more than usual. That’s always an issue but this year has been more pronounced, and I sort of attribute that to the drought," said Krier.
Most of the year the turkeys spend the majority of their time eating and roaming freely, but even that has become an obstacle for Krier.
“Just the drought itself because they’re pastured birds and so pastured birds need pasture and there’s nothing growing so that means I have to supplement their feed so that adds to the input cost for running the operation," explained Krier.
Krier said demand for locally raised and processed turkeys is high.
“This time of the year normally, I would be moving turkeys up to the top of the hill where they would be processed," said Krier.
This year community members will have to look elsewhere. The five turkeys left will be her breeding flock for next year.
Krier said while she's sad to turn away customers this year she hopes next year will bring a better hatch.