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New to Turkeys - Two Questions....

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm new to turkey raising.  I have two 27 weeks old girls.  One has started laying eggs already! In November... I've gotten 4 eggs in the last 5 days.  Is this usual?

 

And are they too old now to kill for Christmas dinner? I bought them (Oh yeah, they are BBB's) in hopes to have Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey.  I'll probably keep the egg layer, she's so sweet now. But the other is more aggressive towards my chickens and I wouldn't have a problem inviting her to the Christmas table LOL :) Will she be too big or tough by then?

 

I'm sure it sounds like a newbie question, but I AM a newbie with turkeys.

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdstrong14 View Post

I'm new to turkey raising.  I have two 27 weeks old girls.  One has started laying eggs already! In November... I've gotten 4 eggs in the last 5 days.  Is this usual?

And are they too old now to kill for Christmas dinner? I bought them (Oh yeah, they are BBB's) in hopes to have Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey.  I'll probably keep the egg layer, she's so sweet now. But the other is more aggressive towards my chickens and I wouldn't have a problem inviting her to the Christmas table LOL smile.png Will she be too big or tough by then?

I'm sure it sounds like a newbie question, but I AM a newbie with turkeys.

Turkeys tend to lay a bunch of eggs in a row then stop for a month or two. My hens have probably had three or four periods of laying this year and produced maybe 15 eggs each during the period. They just started laying again after a long brood.

They're still young enough. Around 4-6 months is the best age but they're tender up into 1 year of age, sometimes longer.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #3 of 7
Along these same lines: my Rio Grandes, 5 toms and 2 hens, are just barely 6 months. The boys are strutting, but not fussing with each other and I haven't seen them go after the girls yet. So....if the hens start laying, there's a good chance they won't be fertile? I'm out with the critters quite a bit so don't think I've missed it. At what age will the boys start gong after the girls?
post #4 of 7
I have one male Ike & one female Tina, Ike was all over her the entire month of September. Tina started laying eggs k n October, a total of 24! She still lays eggs in November so this may not be usual, although like u i'm new to raising turkey's.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by BOrion View Post

Along these same lines: my Rio Grandes, 5 toms and 2 hens, are just barely 6 months. The boys are strutting, but not fussing with each other and I haven't seen them go after the girls yet. So....if the hens start laying, there's a good chance they won't be fertile? I'm out with the critters quite a bit so don't think I've missed it. At what age will the boys start gong after the girls?

It really depends on the male. My males usually start mating around 8-9 months, sometimes older. It often seems they start mating in spring rather than fall. They also usually do not chase hens like chickens or ducks will do; the only times I have seen mine mate is when the female walked over and plopped herself down in front of the boys. When males are trying to entice females they will stand in place and move from foot to foot. They are very shy about their mating habits; I have had them for about 2 years now, and have seen them mate maybe twice in that time, but have had 100% fertility rates from what I've seen.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #6 of 7

Last year our BBB females started laying eggs at about that age as well. Not too old to process. Like stated above they are usually pretty tender even up to a year. I also make sure to age my turkeys in the fridge for 2-4 days prior to cooking or freezing them to let the enzymes work on tenderizing the meat. There is a big difference between aged and not that we have noticed.

Keep in mind that with the BBB you may not get to keep the layer too long, they can often have health problems related to their fast growth. You could save her from slaughter only to have her die of heart problems a couple of months later. (Not that she couldn't last a lot longer). I would just be hesitant to save one. If anything I would raise a heritage breed to keep around. Although I understand the attachment factor when they are sweet birds. :) Biggest thing if you are going to try to keep her is keep her from getting too heavy and put her on a layer ration.

 

I know you don't have boys, but the biggest problem we have experienced with keeping them a little longer is the males will injure the girls when trying to mate due to their size. Last years girls ended up with tears on both sides of their back from the males claws. I felt so bad for them, we didn't even notice the wounds until we plucked them! Live and learn I guess. 

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Great info. Guess it's fresh turkey for Christmas lol
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