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Give me the dirt on turkeys - Page 17

post #161 of 319

Um, from my experience, if the turkeys you obtain are not hatched or raised on your property, then they will go off with the wild ones.  They will have to be kept in a covered pen at all times.
Good luck with your turkey friends, I'm a sad one in Maine.

Northern New England Bird Fanciers Association      http://northernnewenglandbirdfanciers.webs.com/
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Northern New England Bird Fanciers Association      http://northernnewenglandbirdfanciers.webs.com/
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post #162 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowcountrypoultry 

Okay, I am thinking about getting turkeys... but I have a few questions.. (I don't know if these questions have been asked before since I only read up to page 5, sorry!)

How long do turkeys take to mature?

When do they start to breed and lay eggs? (What time of year)

How much does an Adult turkey sell for?


Thanks!

-Austin


One main question to ask first is whether you want Heritage turkeys or Commercial turkeys (Broad-Breasted Whites). You can read this thread to find out the difference.

BBWs don't breed, so if that's what you're looking for, pick one of the heritage types. The prices I've seen have ranged as low as $25 to as high as $125 depending on the breed, weight, time of year, etc.

Heritage turkeys start laying eggs in the very early spring (March) and mine laid all summer until Oct/Nov.

Heritage turkeys mature at 6-7 months. some sell them at 12-18 months if they want a really heavy turkey.
Commercial turkeys mature at 4-5 months.

Happy owner of 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 guineas, 3 Black Langshan bantams, 6 Buff crosses, 1 OEG cross, 1 Maine Coon cat, and 4 Bourbon Red turkeys!
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Happy owner of 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 guineas, 3 Black Langshan bantams, 6 Buff crosses, 1 OEG cross, 1 Maine Coon cat, and 4 Bourbon Red turkeys!
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post #163 of 319

If you get an adult turkey you need to "Home" the turkeys a little before free ranging them. That is keep them penned up for several weeks.  That way the get to know where the food is and where there roost are. Most Turkeys have a tendancy to return to the same roost at night.  You also need to check your local game and ag laws. as in some states you can't have domestic  animals get into the wild, so you have to take extra measure to insure they don't go wild on you.

Generally if you raise them from pullets or chicks they learn this along the way and you don't need to "Home" them. A very rare problem is 1 out of 3,000,000 Turkey's will just decide they would rather live with the wild ones.  In that case you will need covered pens.

Since we don't do large flocks of turkey's we use smaller turkey coops and covered fly ways to make sure they stay around.

As far as  getting one back, good luck on that one if you try to just chase them.  You need to herd them like cattle, with you hand up and spread out. or a small stick to put in front of them.

Our Red Burboun Hen started to lay in January of this year, we got the pullets about April of last year, for us it was problem as the eggs would freeze.  As Steve said it generally depends on the sub species or "breed" of the Turkey when they most likely will start to lay.  But once they hit maturity it could be just about any time the first year.

Just because you have a Tom and Hen does not mean that you will have fertile eggs or will get fertile eggs. You need to check. Either by breaking one open, candling them, or letting them hatch.

Before we lost our one hen from last year, we did not get one fertile egg. We did not have the Tom checked for fertility,  but he's not the swiftest Tom I have ever been around. We let them mate naturally.

The more I pondered the question about "What kind should I get?" The more I think it depends on what size of turkey you want to cook. Why raise a 50 Lbs monster when you only want or need a 20 lbs turkey at the most.

A Blue Slate or Red Bourbon Tom will be about 18 to 20 lbs turkey dressed at 30 weeks, a hen about 5 to 8 pounds less. When I thought about it we have never bought a turkey from the store larger then 18 lbs.

Tom

post #164 of 319

Thanks to everyone for answering all these questions!! I gotta tell you--I simply found this thread to help research turkeys for my husband, not really excited about getting them. After reading this WHOLE thread, I am so excited about getting some turkeys and want to pick out a couple breeds of my own!

When we first got chickens, we got about 4 different breeds. They did fine. Is there any concern about mixing turkey breeds? Do "mutt" turkeys do fine for meat and brooding, assuming I start with all heritage breeds?

me&thegals


Edited by me&thegals - 3/23/09 at 7:14am
post #165 of 319

Mutt turkeys are just like mutt chickens for meat and brooding. In a way getting a "mixed bag" is a good idea if you are new to turkeys since it allows you to raise them side by side and compare them. The different breeds do act different - some are more curious, some standoffish, etc etc. If you are looking for a meat bird you can see how they dress out and there is a flavor difference as well.

Steve in NC

 Midget White, Standard Bronze turkeys, Muscovy ducks, India Blue, White & Spaulding peafowl, Buff Orpington, Copper Black Marans Chickens, Corturnix quail and Ringneck Pheasants

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 Midget White, Standard Bronze turkeys, Muscovy ducks, India Blue, White & Spaulding peafowl, Buff Orpington, Copper Black Marans Chickens, Corturnix quail and Ringneck Pheasants

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post #166 of 319

What a WONDERFUL thread!  So full of info.  We are planning to get a couple turkey poults (BR)  the end of april when we get our 1st chicken chicks.  (40 BO, 10 EE)Are we biting off more than "I" can chew?  We want the turkeys for food, but I'm now thinking I want to hatch some too.  fl  DH rolled his eyes and said NO.  I'm so addicted!!!!!!!!! droolin  My addiction buzz is  making me ramble.  duc  Thanks for all your info.


Edited by boxermom - 3/23/09 at 7:11pm
Wife of most awesome DH, 2 DD, 1 Springer Spaniel, 1 boxer, 1 house cat and 4 barn cats. 1 pregnant flemish giant bunn, 2 nubian dairy goats and SO many chickens and turkeys    Fun on the Farm 
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Wife of most awesome DH, 2 DD, 1 Springer Spaniel, 1 boxer, 1 house cat and 4 barn cats. 1 pregnant flemish giant bunn, 2 nubian dairy goats and SO many chickens and turkeys    Fun on the Farm 
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post #167 of 319

Wanting to get some turkeys for our ranch to help keep down rattlesnakes. Someone told us they will keep rattlesnake population down is that true ?

Can you buy wild turkys ?

This Montana girl is looking for Silkies !!!!!!!!!                 

I love to quilt,garden,care for my hens and it is all possible through Jesus
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This Montana girl is looking for Silkies !!!!!!!!!                 

I love to quilt,garden,care for my hens and it is all possible through Jesus
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post #168 of 319

Never heard of that one before, we live in "down east" NC, lots of swamps and thick brush for miles, the state bird is the mosquito. Needless to say in the warmer weather we are usually ankle deep in snakes, I have never seen our turkeys pay them any mind. However the guineas will chase them.

Steve in NC

 Midget White, Standard Bronze turkeys, Muscovy ducks, India Blue, White & Spaulding peafowl, Buff Orpington, Copper Black Marans Chickens, Corturnix quail and Ringneck Pheasants

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 Midget White, Standard Bronze turkeys, Muscovy ducks, India Blue, White & Spaulding peafowl, Buff Orpington, Copper Black Marans Chickens, Corturnix quail and Ringneck Pheasants

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post #169 of 319

I have a turkey question for anyone out there...
I had two Royal Palm turkeys (a tom and a hen) that just disappeared two days ago!! They hatched out around Aug. 2008 and they have been free-ranging with our hens and guineas around our property since around Nov 2008. They have always stayed within our property and roosted in the same area (in the trees) every night. We live on about 20 acres in a somewhat secluded area mostly surrounded by other farms (no nearby hunting zones).

Here is how it happened: Several days ago when I went to tuck in my hens in their chicken house, only the male RP was roosting in the trees... the female was nowhere to be seen. However, in the morning she was with the male waiting outside the chicken house for me to let the rest of the birds out as they do every morning. The next night, it was the same scenario.. only the male was in the tree but in the morning neither one of them were waiting at the chicken house! I have searched the woods where they like to roam looking for feathers thinking a predator got them or something but appears there has been no fowl play (no pun intended!). Sorry for the long story but do turkeys just "run away" or find new homes?? I want my turkeys back! Has anyone had this happen?? Thank you in advance!

Wife and a mommy to: two precious boys, three dogs (a mutt and two Great Pryenees), a cat, Guinea fowl, a variety of chickens, goats, and a sweet pot bellied pig.  <><   

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE EGGS!
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Wife and a mommy to: two precious boys, three dogs (a mutt and two Great Pryenees), a cat, Guinea fowl, a variety of chickens, goats, and a sweet pot bellied pig.  <><   

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE EGGS!
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post #170 of 319

I would have 2 guesses:

1. A fox got them both.

2. More likely is that because this is nesting season, this is the perfect time for her to start sitting on her nest.  I bet Miss Hen was laying a nest full of eggs hidden away somewhere that you didn't know about (they can be very very sneaky about this).  She probably began sitting on it and then Mr. Tom has now followed her and is just hanging around with her nearby her nest (she probably wishes he'd go away since he's giving away her spot to all the potential predators).  You could wait 28 days and see if she returns with poults. However, my advice would be to go on a search, find her and take all her eggs and put them in a turkey-sized nestbox in a pen (without Mr. Tom) and put her in there alone and let her sit on them in that pen. Just make it an appealing, dark, protected nestbox. Otherwise, if you let her sit on her nest out in the wild, she's likely to get killed by a dog or fox and if she hatches poults in the wild she's very vulnerable and it's likely they'll get attacked and killed by a hawk or a fox.

My advice: I would go look for her -- along any wind-rows, in tall grass or brush (preferred by turkeys), in a low pile of sticks, in a dark corner of a barn, on any little spot hidden away that she liked, etc. Also, if you are near woods, hens like to have soft leaves for their nests and will cover them up with bits of leaves and grass. When I found nests they were completely covered except always one half of one egg would be visible (I guess to find the nest again!).
From experience, I know these broody turkey hens will sit perfectly still even if you're 6 inches away, trying to blend into the background. You could be right on top of her and she wouldn't move. Fortunately you have Mr. Tom to give her away. If she came back to eat she's probably not more than several hundred feet away. I don't think she'd be more than 6-700 feet away so that might help you know where to look. Also, mine hens usually jumped off the nest in the morning and ran around desparate for food and water for a few minutes each day before running back to the nest.

Let us know what happens!


Edited by chickenannie - 3/23/09 at 6:12pm
Happy owner of 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 guineas, 3 Black Langshan bantams, 6 Buff crosses, 1 OEG cross, 1 Maine Coon cat, and 4 Bourbon Red turkeys!
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Happy owner of 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 guineas, 3 Black Langshan bantams, 6 Buff crosses, 1 OEG cross, 1 Maine Coon cat, and 4 Bourbon Red turkeys!
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