Adding Turkeys to small farm

Phunktacular

Songster
Oct 29, 2016
230
314
131
Fulton, NY
I have been raising chickens for about 5 years now and began raising quail just this year. I am interested in adding Turkeys to my small farm in the spring. I just have a few questions on incubating and raising Turkeys.

1. I have a home made incubator that I have been hatching quail eggs in and I'm getting amazing results. It's large and I will be able to accommodate 6-8 trays at once. I have read that turkey eggs incubate at a slightly higher temperature than chicken/quail eggs. Question is: How much success should I have if I incubate them all at the same average temp of 99.5 degrees F?

2. Because I have been incubating and hatching in the same setup, I have increased the average humidity to around 50-55%. This seems like a good average for both incubating and hatching for chicken and quail eggs. I have acquired a second beverage cooler that I intend on building into a new incubator with turner and intend on having separate hatcher with my current incubator. Question: Would this humidity level be sufficient for the turkey eggs, as well? Incubator would be around 45-50% and hatcher would be around 55-60%.

I'm pretty sure that brooding them after hatch isn't much different and I'll want to gradually move them off the heat after a few weeks.

3. Coop size and type. I understand that turkeys handle winters pretty amazingly and I was curious if I should build an outdoor pen that's more open and room to roost or do turkeys like a coop similar to chickens that they'll like the shelter and roost inside it?

4. How or where will turkeys lay their eggs? Are they ground layers or do they like nesting boxes that are slightly elevated, as chickens do? Or maybe even nesting boxes on the ground?

Thanks

Phunk
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
34,825
170,332
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
1. I have a home made incubator that I have been hatching quail eggs in and I'm getting amazing results. It's large and I will be able to accommodate 6-8 trays at once. I have read that turkey eggs incubate at a slightly higher temperature than chicken/quail eggs. Question is: How much success should I have if I incubate them all at the same average temp of 99.5 degrees F?
Turkey eggs incubate at the same temperature as chicken eggs. The recommendation for forced air incubators is 99.5°F to 100°F and 100.5°F to 101.5°F for a still air incubator.

Porter's egg hatching tips
2. Because I have been incubating and hatching in the same setup, I have increased the average humidity to around 50-55%. This seems like a good average for both incubating and hatching for chicken and quail eggs. I have acquired a second beverage cooler that I intend on building into a new incubator with turner and intend on having separate hatcher with my current incubator. Question: Would this humidity level be sufficient for the turkey eggs, as well? Incubator would be around 45-50% and hatcher would be around 55-60%.
I incubate chicken, guinea and turkey eggs between 30% to 35% humidity in a forced air incubator. I lockdown at 65% to 705 humidity in a forced air hatcher.
I'm pretty sure that brooding them after hatch isn't much different and I'll want to gradually move them off the heat after a few weeks.
I start turkeys in a brooder at 90°F measured at the bedding level. I lower the temperature by 5°F once a week until they are acclimated to the ambient temperature.
3. Coop size and type. I understand that turkeys handle winters pretty amazingly and I was curious if I should build an outdoor pen that's more open and room to roost or do turkeys like a coop similar to chickens that they'll like the shelter and roost inside it?
Turkeys need much more room than do chickens. I consider 10 sq. ft. per adult turkey to be the minimum room for a turkey coop. There must be additional and much bigger run room for them. My turkeys normally have at least 500 sq. ft. of run space per adult turkey along with free range on approximately 2 acres. My turkeys have access to the coop during the daylight hours. They roost outside at night in all kinds of weather including -30°F. Their roosts are protected on the west and the north against the prevailing winds. Their run has an additional low roofed area that they can use as shade when they feel necessary. They will use the shade even on sunny days with -20°F temperatures. A 3 sided lean-to with a roof would be okay for turkeys. Roosts work best when staggered like a ladder at different heights unless you are raising broad breasted turkeys in which case hay or straw bales make more appropriate roosts.
4. How or where will turkeys lay their eggs? Are they ground layers or do they like nesting boxes that are slightly elevated, as chickens do? Or maybe even nesting boxes on the ground?
Turkeys are typically ground nesters and prefer hidden nests. The simplest nest can be a pallet or wide board leaned up against a fence or wall. Turkeys don't like their nests messed with. If you are collecting the eggs for hatching, be sure to leave a marked egg or fake egg in the nest or the hen will abandon the nest for a "better site". In the hens mind a better site is somewhere more hidden from you which may also make her more accessible to predators. When raised with chickens some hens have been known to cram themselves into a chicken nest box. This process often ends up with smashed eggs.
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GotCoop

Songster
7 Years
Jan 10, 2013
252
617
212
Baker, Fl
I enjoy my chickens...but love my turkeys. Although adults are very hardy, poults seem to be initially more fragile than chicks and bear a little extra attention. Well worth the effort. Good luck with the hatch!
 

Noellereagan

Songster
Jun 20, 2018
860
1,919
242
Big Bend, Wisconsin
Turkey eggs incubate at the same temperature as chicken eggs. The recommendation for forced air incubators is 99.5°F to 100°F and 100.5°F to 101.5°F for a still air incubator.

Porter's egg hatching tips

I incubate chicken, guinea and turkey eggs between 30% to 35% humidity in a forced air incubator. I lockdown at 65% to 705 humidity in a forced air hatcher.

I start turkeys in a brooder at 90°F measured at the bedding level. I lower the temperature by 5°F once a week until they are acclimated to the ambient temperature.

Turkeys need much more room than do chickens. I consider 10 sq. ft. per adult turkey to be the minimum room for a turkey coop. There must be additional and much bigger run room for them. My turkeys normally have at least 500 sq. ft. of run space per adult turkey along with free range on approximately 2 acres. My turkeys have access to the coop during the daylight hours. They roost outside at night in all kinds of weather including -30°F. Their roosts are protected on the west and the north against the prevailing winds. Their run has an additional low roofed area that they can use as shade when they feel necessary. They will use the shade even on sunny days with -20°F temperatures. A 3 sided lean-to with a roof would be okay for turkeys. Roosts work best when staggered like a ladder at different heights unless you are raising broad breasted turkeys in which case hay or straw bales make more appropriate roosts.

Turkeys are typically ground nesters and prefer hidden nests. The simplest nest can be a pallet or wide board leaned up against a fence or wall. Turkeys don't like their nests messed with. If you are collecting the eggs for hatching, be sure to leave a marked egg or fake egg in the nest or the hen will abandon the nest for a "better site". In the hens mind a better site is somewhere more hidden from you which may also make her more accessible to predators. When raised with chickens some hens have been known to cram themselves into a chicken nest box. This process often ends up with smashed eggs.
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You’re awesome. You’re my turkey go to for sure! My RS/RL birds from porters are coming along nicely by the way. Two toms and the rest hens. Toms started gobbling yesterday! They’re something else! I Actually have a ton of people Interested, that have no fear of the contract they come with! So that’s great! Obviously after all the banter about this a few months back I was wondering if there would be a lot of people weary. But as you suggested (if I recall correctly) there would be people that have no hidden agenda and not afraid of the contract. Thank goodness that’s the case. Judging by my wait list anyway! Just wanted to share with you @R2elk !
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