couple dumb thinking-bout-trying-turkeys questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by patandchickens, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    DH has finally agreed (or given up, as he would probably call it <g>) that we can try raising like 3-4 turkeys this year for the freezer, and see how it goes.

    My idea is to try BB Bronzes (because of being about half the price, as day olds, of heritage breeds, as well as probably less likely to fly all over creation). But then if we like 'em and they aren't too much hassle, then the idea is that next year we would get some poults of an actual self-reproducing breed, probably one of the more smallish ones b/c of feed cost considerations over the winter, and try to raise some of our own every year for the freezer.

    Does this sound reasonable (try first with BB Bronze, but then get a real breed, such as Royal Palms or Bourbon Reds or Narragansetts, if we decide we want to make turkeys a permanent fixture)?

    Is it reasonable to think about raising the smaller breeds for the oven? I don't think I'll ever want anything larger than 20 lbs max in the roasting pan, and 10 lbs is ok as long as I didn't shovel huge amounts of feed in just to get it to that small size, you know?

    Once they are 8 wks old or so, could I let BB Bronzes loose in an open grassy paddock fenced with 6' chainlink and reasonably expect them to stay there and not get et by hawks? How much trouble would I be likely to have trolling them back into the coop for nighttime? (we have a LOT of raccoons and coyotes, they could not stay out)

    Thanks,

    Pat, trying to come up with my chick order list
     
  2. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Sound like a good plan, I myself would start with BB whites for the freezer, butcher when they get to the weight you want.

    I raise all my turkeys on wire pens untill 10 to 12 weeks, keep them on medicated turkey starter untill then also.

    As long as you keep a eye on them, as those predators will take turkeys.

    Warning the BB dont make good turkeys to keep, they get huge and eats lots. So all mine get butchered. The Palms are easy on the eyes,but not the best for the table.
     
  3. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Turkeys are lots and lots of fun. Personally, if the only factor that's causing you to choose the BB Bronze is poult cost I'd go ahead and start right now with the smaller breed. The bigger birds eat more so they end up costing about the same.
    Turkeys do fly and enjoy getting out of their fenced yards so unless you're planning to clip them you'll want to count on that. I don't think a hawk could take off with an 8 week old turk but an owl, eagle or some of the bigger breeds of raptor could snag one. We just have little red tails here.
    Turkeys are like chickens if they get used to you throwing some food into their pen every night before you lock them in they'll beat you to the house every night.
     
  4. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    The BB dont fly very well either.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Oh yes, that is another question I meant to ask. Are BB Whites any more difficult to raise than BB Bronze, in terms of poult fragility or later suicidal stupidity. I'm mostly asking out of curiosity, though. I'm inclined to stay away from the BB Whites simply because my husband is convinced of his (totally non farm-knowledgeable, totally non poultry experienced) family's dictum that all turkeys, even wild ones, are absolutely dumber than rocks and only stupid low-class idiots would have anything to do with such useless birds. (Mind, they all EAT turkey... [​IMG]) I think that anything white is going to support that mindset more than anything more turkey-colored.

    Quote:Is that really true in terms of cost per lb meat produced? I would think the bigger (commercial) birds would be as or more feed-efficient...??

    The only place I currently know of to get poults from around here, other than BB Whites, it's $6 each for the BB Bronze, and $11 each for heritage breeds. Since I do not for a fact know that I can even keep three or four alive til eatin' age, my DH will have a lot easier time with the idea of spending $18-24 on this experiment than $33-44 [​IMG]

    Turkeys do fly and enjoy getting out of their fenced yards so unless you're planning to clip them you'll want to count on that. I don't think a hawk could take off with an 8 week old turk but an owl, eagle or some of the bigger breeds of raptor could snag one.

    Well, if it gets too obnoxious with them flying out and pooping in unwanted places or eating the garden or getting killed by predators and speeding gravel trucks, then I guess that would just tell us that we are not meant to keep turkeys [​IMG] I'd rather find out with three or four inexpensive commercial turkeys than with eight or ten heritage breed ones.

    We have almost exclusively redtails here, plus the occasional harrier and sparrowhawk and cooper's hawk. I saw a bald eagle just over the next hill, a couple years ago, but I would not say we 'have' eagles.

    Turkeys are like chickens if they get used to you throwing some food into their pen every night before you lock them in they'll beat you to the house every night.

    Sounds good, I can certainly do that [​IMG]

    Thanks for the help, anyone else's opinions also most welcome,

    Pat​
     
  6. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ah, you're probably right about which breed to start with then. They say (or at least somebody said they say) that the thing about turkeys is that you can't keep them alive for the first two weeks and then nothing you do can kill them. Meh, I never had any trouble keeping them alive. We ordered several from McMurray and didn't lose a one.
     
  7. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Yes the BB breeds do a better with feed to meat . If you dont keep them to long, just like the meat chickens.

    Best to keep them away from chickens if you can. Those first 2 months are the hardest. If raise on wire I dont lose any, let a hen try to raise them on the ground, she lost them all.
     
  8. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    I would never have another BB white.. I want to have birds with SOME sort of personality..

    I have several royal palms.. somebody said they were no good for the table?? Mine taste OK
    I do not need a 30 pound bird of any kind to feed four or five adults.. if I need more meat I cook two birds.
     
  9. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Ok the BB white I raise are for the table,thats how I enjoy them. The palms taste ok, just dont have that nice round breast.

    Just like meat chickens only enjoyment is on the table.
     
  10. bramblebrae

    bramblebrae Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Hi- I have raised and bred wilds and BBB's and there is a BIG difference in terms of apparent intelligence. I can't speak to the intelligence of WHITE BB's-no experience there. To be fair, my BBB's have all been given to me as rescues, and I've raised all the wilds myself, so the amount of time and "training" the wilds have is probably greater than the BBB's.

    Wilds -smart, curious, good guardians (I know when anyone is coming up our driveway/road before they get here - gobblers), athletic/fast (almost 20 mph on land), nice to look at, come when called, my alpha male likes to be held and have the neighbor kids pet his head, wilds follow me around the yard and even follow me room to room in the house (by looking in the windows) - hens will fly up to second story to look in windows to find me!!, when they were poults they would fly to me and land on my arms to perch, very protective mothers, broody if you get the conditions right, yummy eggs, have had individuals wander off for weeks and then return home - amazing because of the predator pressure we have in our area.

    The BBB's once adult are slow, ungainly waddlers, do not fly, move more like molasses and are eating machines. They (like most critters and people) can be trained and tamed with a little cupboard love. My BBB's all have been friendly, come to you, eat greedily out of your hand. But they lack the curiosity and personalities of the wilds. BBB's do less damage to my yard because they simply do not roam as far from their coop. They would do fine in captivity and sound like the right choice for you. The whites will probably yield a better looking finished product and I have heard they are easier to pluck than bronzes - don't know for sure. I foolishly started out with wilds as my first poultry - not a move I would recommend to others, especially if meat is the desired end-product. There is no comparison between wilds and domestic turkeys - wilds are wily, have excellent eyesight and reflexes, are challenging to hunt successfully - here is what Benjamin Franklin (no dummy, IMO) had to say about turkey versus eagle as our national symbol:
    Franklin's Letter to His Daughter (excerpt)

    "For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

    "With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country . . .

    "I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

    Hope that might serve to enlighten your hubby/family. Good luck! Best regards-Andy
    (had to edit as it took me some time to figure out quoting here!sorry)
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009

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