Are they worth it?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by flyingmonkeypoop, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Crowing

    Apr 30, 2007
    Deer Park Washington
    What are the pros and cons of turkeys? We have always had chickens and raised some of the broad breasted turkeys for butcher but this year I am considering adding turkeys to the farmstead. Not sure what breed or even if they will be purebred birds. How much feed do they eat? How many eggs do they lay on average? If I let them free range, would they stay close or wander off?
  2. Scottingitup

    Scottingitup Songster

    Nov 18, 2010
    Crestview, FL
    I have bourbon reds so everything following applies to them, YMMV.

    • Personality
    • May deter hawks and snakes

    • Personality - way too curious and get into things sometimes
    • Loud
    • Hens pick on my roo

    How much feed:
    A turkey hen will eat about 1/2 lb of food a day when growing, a little less than that once grown
    A tom will eat about 1lb of food a day when growing, 1/2 - 3/4 a day once mature.

    My Hens are in their first season of laying and I am getting an egg every other day.

    Mine free range sometimes when I could observe them, I have no fence yet so I cannot comment on full time ranging. Mine were really good until they started breeding. I let them out and instead of herding together they scattered - it was a royal pain to get them penned back up that day and I have not let them out since.
  3. Farmin Momma

    Farmin Momma Songster

    Feb 18, 2012
    Mill Creek, Wa
    I am getting my first breeding pair of Heritage Turkeys this Saterday!!!!!![​IMG]

    Do they need to come in for the night like chickens do? If so will they put them selfs away, again like chickens do?

    Probably not my last question, but my chickens are free range on 5 acres also with my goats, will my turkeys be fine with all of them on that big of an area do ya think?
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Higher protein feed (gamebird starter), and more attention to environment during first 1.5 months (really need to watch the temp. and a wet poult is usually a dead one). They are loud, but this makes them very useful if a strange car or people or preds show up. They make great yard art. Need to cover hoods/roofs of vehicles with old rugs (will use them as lookouts if allowed). They can be trained not to by spraying them off with a hose. They will tend to wander if free ranged (leaving one turk in the run while the others are out will usually prevent exploration off property - they like to hang together). Easy to herd. Keep two long sticks available - one in each hand, with arms outstretched and what would otherwise be akin to herding a clowder of cats becomes an easy sweep. They are usually too curious for your own good (hens will throw small tools/or carry them off while you're trying to use them). Hens must be provided with a safe nesting area come spring. If not, they'll find the most predator prone area (sometimes well hidden - from you) and set up housekeeping. If you don't want them flying out of run with 6ft. fencing, you'll need to cover it, or be prepared for serious wing clipping. If not trained early and often, they will roost just about anywhere they like. If they are trained, they will return to run and shed/coop in the evening with no intervention. Once the first generation is trained, they will take care of the succeeding generations' instruction. We use a shed as the pred load is too heavy to do otherwise Teaching: (gen one and two showing gen three the ropes): [​IMG] Lesson learned: [​IMG] If new to turks, please download and read the ALBC info:
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  5. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Crowing

    Jan 12, 2010
    I just got some young adults Sunday and after 3 nights, and me moving them to another area, started putting themselves away to the spot I want them in vs the first location (which they have access too). I also clipped the wings heavily to inhibit leaving the area. So far, they've not left the birds fenced yard it's only a 4 foot fence too.... but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before their curiosity gets the best of them.

    FMP - I think it's worth a try. I like having animals around that reproduce themselves, the kind of chickens I have and of course rabbits, are chosen for the same reason. I think it saves me time and money in that regard, plus allows me to control how many I keep. I don't want to have to buy 15 chicks at a time if I want to replace one or two birds or only add one here an there. I can't add too much more about it since I am in pretty much in the same position as you, except I did get some heritage birds. I raised BB turkeys last year and I really enjoyed them, so I wanted to make them a more permanent addition to the farm. I will still probably get some BB this year from TSC so I have birds to butcher now vs waiting till the youngsters grow up.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  6. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana

    Pros and Cons are exact.
  7. FarmerGilland

    FarmerGilland Chirping

    May 29, 2011
    On Top of the Mountain
    I have 4 Narragansetts and 1 standard bronze. As far as cons I don't have any to post. I have had nothing but good luck out of mine. I enjoy having them. 3 of mine are 8 months and the other 2 are 4 months and they eat an average 22 pounds a week. I suggest getting them they are alot of fun. I walk out on my back porch and literally say gobble gobble and my tom talks back to me.
  8. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Crowing

    Apr 30, 2007
    Deer Park Washington
    Thanks for the information everyone! I think I will look into getting some. The non-market style birds seem interesting to have around, from what I have seen they remind me of an inbetween of a chicken and a peafowl as far as personality.

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