The Bullitt County History Museum

Raymond Nute's "Big Kentucky Flock"

Raymond Nute's remarkable orchard and turkey farm was written about in the following article which is transcribed from a 1935 issue of The Southland, a railroad magazine. The original article was kept in a scrapbook by Alice Nute, but the publication information is missing.

Big Kentucky Flock

In Bullitt County, Kentucky, one of the largest turkey flocks in the Ohio Valley or the Central South is raised annually by R. A. Nute, of the Kentucky Orchards. Mr. Nute came from Massachusetts about 14 years ago to take charge of the Kentucky Orchards, which at the present time cover over 100 acres of apple and peach trees. Eight years ago he acquired a tom and two hens to raise turkeys for his own use, and from that start became interested in turkeys. In 1928 he began to keep his flock under fence, raising about 125 that year, somewhat more the second year, and 300 the third year. In 1933 the output was 3,000 birds, while in 1934 about 5,000 were raised. If market conditions are favorable, many more will be bred this year. Practically all the turkeys are sold in Louisville, mainly to clubs, restaurants and hotels. He is able to market his birds practically throughout the year. Prices are usually better after the holiday season is over than before.

One reason for the establishment of the turkey flock was to lower the cost of keeping up the orchard. Confined by movable fences, with frequent changes in fields, the turkeys practically cover the whole orchard, furnish the supply of nitrate needed, and keep the orchard clean.

Mr. Nute believes the main value to the orchard trees is from the droppings, which increase the fertility of the soil and the yield of the fruit. One variety of apples which usually has borne fruit only every other year has produced fruit for three years in succession since he began running turkeys in the orchard. The size of his apples has also been increased. he is quoted by J. E. Humphrey, of the College of Agriculture, in an article in the "Progressive Farmer": "It is my belief that $2,000 worth of nitrogenous fertilizer, such as nitrate of soda or sulphate of ammonia, would not accomplish the results we have obtained by having the 5,000 turkeys in our orchards this year.

"Another benefit comes from the turkeys grazing over the land and killing out weeds, briars and other undesirable undergrowth. Mt. Nute contends that turkeys are better than sheep or goats for this purpose."

The mash Mr. Nute uses is composed of the following: Ground yellow corn, 200 pounds; bran, 100 pounds; shorts, 100 pounds; ground oats, 100 pounds; gluten feed, 100 pounnds; meat scrap, 100 pounds; dried skim milk, 50 pounds; alfalfa leaf meal, 50 pounds; bone meal, 16 pounds; salt, 4 1/2 pounds; and cod liver oil concentrate, 1 quart.

He does not feed the breeders grain during the summer months. The young stock receives the above mash from the first day until marketed. They do not get any grain until he starts feeding them for the fall market.

Mr. Nute has a mill on the place, which grinds the corn and cob and the green feed, which his alfalfa and sweet clover. In addition he fed bran purchased, skim milk and meat scraps. With his mill he plans in future to make his own bran, and will buy next season 1,000 bushels of wheat.

Follow this link to the main Raymond Nute article.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 27 Jan 2021 . Page URL: