A question about turkeys, poop, and winter shelter

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by moenmitz, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I have read, turkeys handle cold weather pretty well, and prefer to sit outside as opposed to a warm coop. Now, I have, and will certainly USE if necessary, a warm barn pen or them this winter. BUT, I also have a three sided shelter next to the barn that I am considering for their winter home. I would like to close up the open side with hardware cloth. Shelter is large-ish- probably 20 feet long and 10 feet wide-about 8 foot tall. I will have 12 turkeys going through the winter (Bourbon Red, Standard Bronze and Narrangasset) and I was thinking that a 3 -sided shelter would allow for more airflow obviosuly, and thus less...aroma..

    So first, is this sufficient? We are in Iowa, and winter gets really, really cold here.

    Second, what do I do about the poop in winter? I am assuming it will freeze rock solid for the most part if I use the outside coop, so do I just keep piling on fresh litter until spring? The shelter is on dirt, so deep litter composting is theoretically possible...except can that even work at such low temperatures?

    I just want to know the healthiest, happiest, least stinky way to get these guys through the winter months-any thoughts are appreciated!
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You will need to rake it out or shovel it every few days. Turkeys make big poops and it doesn't disappear in deep litter like chicken poop.

    Think about the biggest chicken poop you have ever seen then multiply it by 10 then triple it. Big poops.

    I use pineshavings on the roost and have a long handled small shovel to remove the piles every few days.

    Turkeys are not waterfowl - obviously - but they do tend to gather around the water. While not messy like geese and ducks they do make a mess with it as well.
     
  3. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh I know how big the poop is, had five of them plopping all over my porch until recently. But, how do I rake it out if it is frozen solid? See, that is my question...in an outdoor shelter, I cant see the bedding becoming anything but a solid frozen rock hard mass, specially if it gets snow and ice on it, which it of course will. So am I better off keeping them in the barn, where it should stay warm enough to amke it possible to rake it out often, and just endure the stench all winter?
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Can you open your barn and let them come and go at will? Turkeys like being outside and will spend time out even with it is frozen solid. By having been locked in the barn they will know where to come back to for food, fresh water and to get out of the elements.

    When the poop freezes you should be able to shovel the piles without too much effort. With them being able to wander in and out at will there will be more poop spread over a larger area and you won't notice it as much.
     
  5. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I can....but I have these moronic cats who live in the barn and who LOVE to use the bedding as a litter box, especially in winter when they lack dirt to dig in-so leaving th epen open just invites trouble in that area. Granted, they HAVE a litter box, but I cant seem to convince them that it is preferable to any other nice soft digging surface they find, (like my garden, which is why I had to fence IT off.) Of course, the turkeys are forever trying to get in the litter box, (it is covered so they cant, but that doesnt stop them from trying. Apparently cat poop just smells...yummy.) So, I am sure if the cats use their pen as one, they will be picking at it...and oh yuck. So not impossible to let them come and go form the barn as they please, but not real practical either. The 3-sided shelter has a cat-proof pen attached to it, one I am also hoping to make turkey proof as I lost 4 nearly grown turkeys last week when they hopped the five foot fence and went wandering to coyote-ville. [​IMG] I have 4 week old poults right now who are still in a barn pen. My thinking was they would be able to run around the acre pen for exercise (not as much as I would like them to have, but I can't trust them running the whole place anymore obviously, and can't manage to fence the rest high enough to keep them in this year.) I suppose I will just have to find a way to break up the cement/poop this winter...pitchfork maybe. What do you DO with piles of frozen poop- bedding? Toss it in the drift that is a compost pile in summer?
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Yep, compost.

    Keep some on the ground covered with layers of straw and wood shavings. As it conposts it creates heat - good warmth rising up for the tukeys.

    You don't have to clean it out to bare bones all the time. Just keep it relatively clean and use the deep litter to your advantage for heat.
     
  7. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So you recommend straw and shavings together? I have been using just shavings-would straw be warmer in winter?
     

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