Anyone successfully free ranging their turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by RHerdHomestead, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. RHerdHomestead

    RHerdHomestead New Egg

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    Jun 22, 2011
    We used to have a problem with predators picking off our chickens, turkeys, and ducks. We now have GSD's that have solved that problem quite nicely.

    However, getting the turkeys to come back at night has become a real issue and the wild turkey toms try to steal my hens. Has anyone found solutions to these problems that still allow them to free range their turkeys?

    The chickens all come back at night very nicely and the ducks roost in the trees (muscovies) in the hen house pen so I just need my turkeys to get on board with the program. Any advice or ideas would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Well my turkeys free range on about 2 acres of property and they always come back. They were all hatched on my property and were housed in the outside brooders for weeks before letting them out to free range, so they learned where "home" was. They all come back and retreat to wherever they want to roost at night. Each week is a different spot in the chicken yard.

    Do you have somewhere that you can lock them up for a few weeks, so they will know where "home" is? That seems to work for me.
     
  3. RHerdHomestead

    RHerdHomestead New Egg

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    Jun 22, 2011
    Most of our turkeys were hatched on the property. Only 5 of them were not.

    Each night they go into the hen house just fine if they are kept in the pen during the day. The pen is about a 1/2 acre and fully fenced. They have been living in that pen for a year now because we could not get them to come back at night. We have 26 acres for them to roam but hate to just lose them all when they decide to go off to the neighbors or wander into someone else's woods and stay with the wild turkeys.

    How did you go about transitioning your turkeys from a pen to free ranging?
     
  4. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Quote:26 acres???????? WOW!!! They have so much area to try to figure out what to do and where to go. I only have 2 acres. My area is MUCH MUCH MUCH smaller than what you have.

    Well, if it makes any sense, it's easy and it's not easy. I have several raised brooders that I keep them in until it's time for them to transition to the yard. When it's time for them to hit the ground, I open the brooders and let them fly out. When they fly out, they mingle with all of the other animals. I have over 100 chickens, ducks and geese, so the turkeys go about the property like the others and free range. I think that the others "teach them" (in a sense) what they are supposed to do during the day when I'm not there. The property is fenced but the fence is only 4 feet high and they can easily clear that height but they don't.

    When it's time for them to roost at night, they automatically go back to the brooder and try to fly back in but the brooder doors are closed, so they can't fly back in. For the first week or 2, I will pick them up and place them in the brooder . As they continue to grow, they learn exactly how high they can fly. So, this ability to fly high, leads them to flying in the pecan trees (right by the chicken houses) but they do not roost there at night. They will walk around for about a week or 2 and try to find a place to roost in the yard. I literally have to pick them up and then place them in a chicken house or a chicken stall. After about a week or 2, they know where to go to roost.

    So this is how they learn what to do. I hope that this helps a little.
     
  5. RHerdHomestead

    RHerdHomestead New Egg

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    Jun 22, 2011
    It does help. Thank you so much for the help!

    I'm still not sure exactly how we'll go about it, but I'm hoping that if several folks reply we can collectively use the various suggestions to figure something out. Everything else on this farm free-ranges except my turkeys. If we can get them on board with the program, it would be so nice.

    Thanks again! [​IMG]
     
  6. Mr_Jeff

    Mr_Jeff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Early on we train turkeys to come when called, reinforced with some grain or whatnot. They graze free range during the day and can usually be rounded up into the barn in the evening. Stragglers get gentle guidance with an old broom to steer them in the right direction.
     
  7. WhatIsChazaq

    WhatIsChazaq Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2010
    Norwood, MO
    Good luck so far...3 months in.

    Free ranging out of our large'ish chicken coop as the night roost.

    We have a large metal wire dog pen that we used as a brooder for the first few weeks. Once we opened the brooder it didn't take long for them to start wandering around outside. The first four or five nights I had to go out and find them nearby in the grass and re-locate them to the coop. That was several weeks ago and they go roost up in the coop all by themselves every night now.
     
  8. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aitkin, MN
    My range is fenced to keep the birds at home and keep the predators out. I tried letting the overwinter birds out after butchering last year, but I kept getting calls from neighbors, and had to go catch them. I finally put them back in the fence.
     

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