Poults with chicks
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I always raise my turkeys and chicks together.
A: it's stupid to run 2+ brooders for the sake of keeping them separate
B: my turkeys imprint on the chicken chicks as well as myself, which means adults who stay home with their flock rather than wander
I have NEVER had a problem combining them. The chemistry between the species is always funny! Some folks will say you can't keep turkeys and chickens together because of black head- but you have to actually have the disease in your soil to begin with. And if you have adults already and no one is dead, you probable don't have the disease around. My flock has been a mix of poultry for several years now and no problems. Having my turkeys with my chickens is fabulous, and my tom protects the whole flock every night; he roosts on the coop and keeps watch. He'll sure let me know if I need to come out with the rifle!
Make sure you have a coop large enough to accommodate all your poultry. I have a combined flock that are allowed to free range but the turkeys are kept in a separate pen at night. If you have BBB they will not be able to climb the roosting pole once they get older as they will get too heavy. If your turkeys are heritage, they will fly and try to roost on the roof of the coop or up in the trees (assuming they free range). Once the males are older they will fight to establish dominance and priority to mate with the females. My toms mate with the turkey hens but also strut around the chickens and try to mate with them. If you have roosters, they will fight with them, this is to establish the pecking order. I have never had issues with black heads as some people said they have and don't recommend to mix flocks. Good luck with your flock.
^ Good point on the broad breasted. I was assuming heritage. You might have a growth/size issue if you have the meat turkeys. You don't want them out-pacing and squashing the chicken chicks!
My heritage hens that were raised with my chickens roost with the rest of the flock. My tom roosts on the coop and keeps watch.
He tried to breed the chicken hens only briefly when he was about 9 months old and the same size as them- the turkey hens hadn't quite matured. But even with just 2 girls he never goes after the chicken hens- though I recently got him 2 more hens, so now he's extra happy (and to be fair so are they!).
My tom doesn't fight with my roosters. My flock dynamics are very laid back and peaceable. I brought a new rooster in last fall and witnessed the most hilarious turkey intervention- my subordinate roo and the nee roo were kicking and hackling up, just duking out where they stand with eachother since he's a new comer. My tom approaches, places himself right inbetween the two hackling roosters, stands tall and puffs up, throws his wings out, and slaps both of them upside the head, toppling them over. He let out a big ole gobble and strutted away. The roosters sheepishly went their separate ways. Pip is the king of the roost, everyone knows it, no one challenges it. I have 3 roosters with him and there is no lack of peace between them.
I think a lot of keeping a tom, just like a rooster, depends on his disposition. If he's anything less than pleasant, why keep him around?
Edited by Jrose - 5/9/16 at 9:05am
I've never had a burbon red turkey, but I hear odd stories about them, their temperaments, and their lack of instincts :P
Turkey poults are wonderful! So contemplative and gentle! And they grow so quickly! Mine from February are like miniature turkeys wandering around the flock <3