1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Can they Free Range..???

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by paulandashia, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. paulandashia

    paulandashia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2008
    Wasilla, Alaska
    I have 30+ hens, and just got 2 Brown Turkey babies.
    They are about 2 months old. I have a Heat lamp in the coop for them, and they go outside on occasion, but prefer to stay indoors mostly
    (I am in Alaska, and it is getting cold).
    Because I just got a few additional hens at the same time as the Turkeys, I am keeping everyone confined to the run/coop for 3 days (turkey babies included), so they can re-organize their pecking order, and the new hens can get an idea of where to lay and sleep, etc.

    Tomorrow, I am planning to open the door to the Run, so the Girls can start Free-Ranging again.
    I am concerned about the Turkey Babies. I have never had Turkeys, this if my first go.
    The Chickens do awesome. They do their thing, and go in at night, no problems.
    But I don't know a thing about Turkeys. Can I leave them out there with the chickens free-ranging with the run door wide open?
    Is 3 days enough time for them to get established?
  2. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    Mine freerange with the chickens, & roost with the chickens, except some toms prefer outside. You may have to go chase them into the coop a couple of evenings, but they'll get the hang of it. Treat them like they're a HUGE chicken.
    [​IMG] just so happens, they're are NO chickens in photo. [​IMG] Honest...... they DO freerange together........Serious......No, I'm not kidding....
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2010
  3. paulandashia

    paulandashia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2008
    Wasilla, Alaska
    That is good to hear.
    I am just worried, because I dont want them to run off. We do not have a Fenced in Back Yard, and it's open, so they can go anywhere they want. [​IMG]

    Would you think 3 days are OK?
    Or should I keep them confined for a bit longer?

    Gorgeous Turkeys you have by the way!!!

    Oh, one more thing. How big should I make the Chicken door to the coop?

    And, what breed are they? (As I said, I don't know a THING about turkeys)
    I don't know if they are eating. I saw them drink, but I have not seen them eat. Perhaps I am used to my Chickens with GIANT crops full of feed, but these guys look like they have nothing at all in their crop. Am I wrong? Should I be concerned? Should I serve them something else? Something extra special to make them eat? What do turkeys like above all else to eat?




  4. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    You should be able to let them out and they won't go far. If you have predators, you may want to keep an eye on things....

    The door doesn't have to be as big as you think. I had a hard time finding door dimensions. I think I made mine 20 inches high with a sliding door that opens to 18 inches. It's plenty big.

    It looks like you have a Bourbon Red (the light red one...it will get darker) and a chocolate or a black (I don't quite trust the color in the photos, but it looks either solid black or solid brown).

    These are heritage turkeys, which means that they will not grow as fast or as large or as heavy as commercial turkeys. They should get higher protein feed than your chickens get. 28% to 30% protein as a starter, then back down to 22% or 24% at 1 to 5 months (varying opinions on how long to feed the high protein). I have no idea how people with mixed flocks make sure the turkeys eat the turkey food and the chickens eat the chicken food. It seems like everybody wants to wat the other persons food! I keep mine seperate. I do have one barn turkey that mingles with the chickens. I offer it turkey food in a hanging feeder too high for the hens, but the roosters can reach it. The turkey eats the layers' food. Go figure.

    Turkeys usually look like they are not eating very much. If you look through the history of threads, it is not uncommon to read about poults that aren't eating enough and how do I make by poults eat. Don't worry...they're eating. The crops don't bulge like hens after you throw grain. Make sure they have some grit because they will forage if you let them wander around. This is a good thing because they probably have a better idea of what they need to eat then you do. [​IMG]

    Enjoy your turkeys.
  5. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2010
    They are fully feathered so I guess that free-ranging during the daytime is fine. I'd be a bit concerned about the lack of fencing though, unless they stay close to the chickens all day. Turkeys are very curious creatures and will poke their beaks everywhere.

    The high protein food is important. I have seen turkeys that are fed on chicken food and they were not doing well.
  6. paulandashia

    paulandashia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2008
    Wasilla, Alaska
    I got both from the same guy. He said they were the exact same breed. The lighter one is a female and the other is the Tom.
    So now I am totally confused as to what breed they are. LoL
    The photo coloring is pretty much true to the real color. The female is a light brown (the camera kind of washed her out). There were like 50 babies in the pen, and she was the lightest of them all. And the Tom is a darker brown. But not black. [​IMG] For some reason the photo makes him a bit darker than he actually is.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by