Follow us:

The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

November 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

For backyard-farm family, a rare bird

lisa-m.jpg
Sketched Nov. 11, 2011
miles-m.jpgSeven months ago, Lisa Sheffield’s turkeys were so little her 21/2-year-old could hold them in his hands. Now they are nearly 15 pounds each, and although they’ll survive this Thanksgiving, Sheffield plans to serve them on the family’s dinner table before the end of the year.

Sheffield, a biologist from Oregon who moved into her Northgate home two years ago, doesn’t know anyone else in Seattle raising backyard turkeys for meat. She said urban farmers are more likely to raise chickens for eggs and as pets. Turkeys may not have caught on, she added, because they need more space and bark like dogs. They also peck at sketchbooks, I learned.
Sheffield and her husband, Troy Guy, also a biologist, believe in a sustainable backyard economy, and that it’s important for their son, Miles, to grow up knowing where food comes from.
Little Miles, who also enjoys playing with the family’s seven chickens, has learned the lesson. “Turkeys … we eat them all up.”
troy-m.jpg
Guy said the turkeys are very low-maintainance. They get by on water, kitchen scraps and grain pellets. The manure from the turkeys and chickens makes great fertilizer for the family’s garden and fruit trees.
turkey-m.jpg
Sheffield admitted that it has been hard not to grow attached to the birds after spending all this time with them. Knowing they were raising them for meat, she purposedly didn’t give them names. “I’m going to be crying my eyes out when we have to kill those birds,” she said.
Links
For those interested in urban farming, Lisa and Troy recommended these links:
FAQs about city chickensfrom Seattle Tilth

Seattle Farm Co-op

Backyard chickens

What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!

Comments | More in Animals, Portraits

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►