Best, easiest breed for newbie?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Debbi, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    I would like to raise a few (yeh right [​IMG]) turkeys for meat and eggs, mainly to hatch or sell. So, a few questions:

    1) Which breed seems to be the most disease resistent?

    2) Which breed gets to a mid size, say 20-25lbs. the quickest; best rate of gain?

    3) Which breed is the easiest going as far as temperament/attitude?

    4) I've heard that chickens can pass on Blackhead to turkeys. Is there a vaccine for it, and do turkeys get along with chickens??

    5) Anything real pertinent about turkeys in general that I should know?

    I raised one Production White many years ago. He did well till about 6 months old and then keeled over! He was fed the game bird feed like 20% protein, as that was what we were told at that time. He was healthy one day, and the next day dead. No trauma, no evidence of disease as in growths or discharges or coloring changes, just dead. I had no chickens at that time, only dogs and a horse. Any help will be appreciated, and if there is a specific turkey site that impresses you, please give me the link! Thanks!
     
  2. Czech's_chicks

    Czech's_chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For a newby - fastest growth, easiest care - you are looking for Broad Breasted Bronze or Whites.

    For ones that you can breed, a heritage breed is still easy enough - just remember bio-security and keep them in clean areas.
     
  3. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. All turkeys are susceptible to a few diseases, especially in a new environment. Despite that, few turkeys actually get sick and die, except for some losses in the first few days. Occassionally, I will cull a sick turkey, but I have not had any unaided deaths after 1 week. Other people have had harder times.

    2. The broad-breasted will grow the fastest, but that may not be what you want, especialy if you want to keep them around for a few years and lay some eggs. Heritage birds grow slower, but are less likely to have leg and circulation problems, so will live longer.

    3. I like Bourbon Red, Narragansett, and Standard Bronze for easy going birds.

    4. Check with your extension office to see if blackhead is prevalent where you live. If not, turkeys get along pretty well with chickens.

    5. Turkeys are addictive and way more fun to keep than chickens.

    P.S. Do you ever ship blue copper maran eggs?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  4. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Thank you. The Heritage breeds are more what I am looking for. They would be free range for most of the day, and put up at night. BR, Narragansetts, and Sweetgrass are all ones I have considered. As for the Blue Coppers, I don't have anything yet. Had a bad run with my Black Coppers, and have basically culled the whole flock due to comb problems. I won't sell anything from here until they are consistent and of the quality that I would keep for myself. The Marans are a relatively new breed in this country, and are still very much a work in progress. If you just want them for the dark eggs, then it won't matter. If you want birds that conform to the SOP and lay dark eggs, then do some serious research. Too many of the so-called "breeders" either don't know, or don't care what they pass on to others. There are a few Marans threads here on BYC. [​IMG]
     
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    You'll want one of the heritage breeds if you want to raise poults to sell. I don't think there is all that much difference between the different colors, so pick the one you like the looks of the best. If you want to sell poults, pick a breed that looks pretty and has a catchy name.
     
  6. StevenSRitchie

    StevenSRitchie Out Of The Brooder

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    I have raised Standard Bronze and Bourbons. All Turkeys are more delicate than chickens for the first week or two so that is when people usually lose turkeys but after the first two weeks they are stronger and more fully feathered than two week old chicken poults. My Standard Bronze flock is doing much better than the Bourbons. I lost Bourbons at older ages for unknown reasons. They would just stop eating and start walking slowly. I would seperate them because the other Turkeys picked on them when they were sick. Then each Turkey would die. Don't know why? But this is not happening with my Standard Bronze Turkeys. They seem stronger and healthier than the Bourborn Turkey breed. The Standard Bronze also get larger than all of the other Heritage Breeds. That's what you want for the Thanksgiving dinner table. To minimize disease or sickness, make sure you keep adding new bedding in your turkey house and in the run if you have little space and lots of turkeys. I apply new bedding every week. I also feed my turkeys freshly cut field grass (mixed with clover and all kinds of weed) and allot of apples that fall to the ground. Turkeys do better when they get plenty of vitamins and minerals from live plant sources. Just like humans need live plant matter (vegetables and fruits) so also do turkeys. How healthy would you be if all you ate was grains and no fruites and vegetables? That is probably why you lost your six month old Turkey poult. I pick up all of the apples that fall from our apple trees and store them in our root cellar to keep my turkeys fed right up until the Spring. We eat all the good apples and give them the one's that start spoiling. We do the same with winter squashes that start to go bad. Turkeys and chickens love to eat the parts of the squash that are going bad (the turkeys can easily eat the larger squash seeds). We also feed our chickens and turkeys lots of sunflower seeds that we grow on our farm. The Turkeys need the oil from the black oil sunflower seeds. It keeps their bodies warm and healthy during the winter. I use these feeding methods to keep our turkeys and chickens healthy right up through the long winter months. We currently breed and sell Standard Bronze, Buff Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, and New Hamshire Reds so I try to put allot of effort into maintaining healthy flocks.
     
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Free range and put up at night... maybe. Then again, putting them up at night gets a bit more difficult when they are on top of your house or 20 feet up in a tree.

    One thing to keep in mind when free ranging turkeys, they do tend to wander further than the chickens do. This isn't really a problem if you have the property, but neighbors get a bit disconcerted when they find turkeys in their garage [​IMG]
     
  8. StevenSRitchie

    StevenSRitchie Out Of The Brooder

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    CLARIFICATION: I free range my turkeys in larger fenced in areas that I also use for my goats. I cut the second row of feathers on each of their right wings so they cannot fly over my six foot fence. I keep cutting their right wing feathers about once per month to keep my turkeys from flying away. Yes they are great flyers and will fly away from you if you let their feathers grow. This way they do not wander off to become like wild turkeys that I cannot control.
     
  9. StevenSRitchie

    StevenSRitchie Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Free range and put up at night... maybe. Then again, putting them up at night gets a bit more difficult when they are on top of your house or 20 feet up in a tree.

    One thing to keep in mind when free ranging turkeys, they do tend to wander further than the chickens do. This isn't really a problem if you have the property, but neighbors get a bit disconcerted when they find turkeys in their garage [​IMG]

    WARNING: MAKE SURE YOU CUT THEIR SECONDARY FEATHERS ON ALL OF THEIR RIGHT WINGS BEFORE FREE RANGING THEM BECAUSE TURKEYS ARE GREAT FLYERS. Turkeys that have only their right feathers cut off cannot fly very far because they just spin back down to the ground. I read that tip in a book and it really works!
     
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Sounds like it might be time to put a bit more effort in because that is not normal for BR turkeys [​IMG]. A lot of folks here raise them and never have problems so it sounds like something is going on with your flock. The strain of Bronze that you have appears to be more resistant to what is going on, but I don't think it's a true statement to say that one variety is hardier than another. A lot of that would come down to the breeder and how they manage their flock before you even get your poults.

    Quote:I'm not a turkey, so the diet comparison really doesn't apply. How healthy would I be if I lived off of seeds and grasshoppers?

    On the subject of LGDs, they are not for everybody. They need a large area to patrol, so if you have close neighbors you'll need a tall fence to contain the dog. From what I have read, those buried fences don't work for them, they have a high pain tolerance and if they want what is on the other side of and electric barrier they will go after it. I was very interested in an LGD until I read about that... maybe someday if I ever get my property totally fenced.
     

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