Do turkeys fly away? And best hatchery from which to order turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by SqueakyRoseShalom, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi All-
    i really want to raise some turkeys both for pets and for food. The three breeds in which I am most interested are the Black Spanish, Narragansett, and Royal Palm. I have been reading voraciously on hatchery websites and they say that royal palms are "good fliers." Do they fly away once i introduce them to the great outdoors? Or do they just like to hang out in trees but come back to the run area to eat and drink? And I have not yet gotten a clear answer of when I can introduce them to their outside home. Also do all three breeds mate naturally? And can anyone recommend a hatchery from which they've had a good experience ordering turkeys? I was looking into Meyer Hatchery but they have a minimum turkey poult order of 20, which is waaaay too many turkeys for us. thanks in advance for any info!!!
     
  2. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Hi! All three breeds you mentioned can mate naturally. And all are very capable of "turkey flight", which is a combination of powerful leaps and wing flaps that easily carry them to the edge of the roof of a one story building, or into the trees, without a long running start. When they come down, it is a jump/glide and you need to be sure they have enough room to do it safely.

    You don't say what area you are in, but if you search Craigslist you may find someone locally with poults for sale. I've bought turkey poults from Meyer, Mt. Pleasant, and Townline Hatcheries, and all were fine. But I'd rather spare them the shipment and buy local when I can.

    Royal Palms are generally the smallest of the three. I personally prefer Narragansett, having raised all three.
     
  3. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great info! Thanks Walnut Hill! So will they come back to the run so I can lock them up? We have some foxes in our area that are avid hunters who don't always wait for the sun to go down. Thanks for the tip on craigslist- i completely forgot to look! And finally, why are Narragansetts your favorite? Do you keep them as pets or for food? I sure am glad I can ask someone who has had all three breeds!
     
  4. WalnutHill

    WalnutHill Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Heritage turkeys still have some sense of self-preservation. If you keep them cooped up until they are 10-12 weeks old, and always have food and shelter and water, it's very likely that they will come back home at night. Wherever they happen to be at dusk, they won't settle on the ground, they will find somewhere to roost. Broad breasted birds are definitely at a disadvantage here.

    I brought home a lovely 10 month old broad breasted bronze hen yesterday as a companion for my junior tom. She was the sole survivor of a nighttime coyote attack that killed all the chickens she lived with. She was up high enough to be safe, but I think foxes can jump higher than coyotes.

    My first turkey was a broad breasted bronze. He grew to 52 pounds as I got him too early. He was a very calm and noble and sweet bird...and tasted great.

    I then got some broad breasted white, and they were docile but not too bright and not too friendly.

    Then I got Bourbon Reds, they were much more agile, were a nice marketable size, but were rather aggressive.

    Then I tried Royal Palms and Slates, the Royal Palms were too small to market and were tougher than the Slates or Bourbon Reds. The Slates were nice birds, but didn't grow to the size I was hoping.

    Then I bought a couple of Narragansetts. While I've sold off the parent stock every year after gathering eggs, I'm on my third generation of carefully selected birds. Whatever kind you choose will be better off with generations of improvement...keep the toms for color, the hens for size and conformation.

    Last year I also obtained 2 1/2 dozen assorted backyard turkeys. I ended up with lilac, mottled black, and Narragansett. They all went to market as none were good for breeding (the biggest and best Narragansett hen had stubby legs like a BBB). I bought another tom and another hen, and just yesterday the bronze hen, to see what I can develop. I want a heritage bird that is true to APA type, including the size that has been lost over the years.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  5. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    While some types of fox can do a fair imitation of tree climbing, no fox can jump as high or as far as a coyote.
     
  6. JimmyLang

    JimmyLang Out Of The Brooder

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    mcmurray has a minimum of 15 as does welp. I see that ideal hatchery has NO minimum as long as your order totals $25. So one could order three turkeys and pay a $7 small order fee if desired. cackle I think is 15 turkeys. I have only ordered from cackle before when speaking of turkeys. I have never had a bad experience on any order that I have done. Most of these have 100 percent live guarantee. I would not raise royal palm for meat, but that is just me. I have done Narragansett, bourbon red, and slate before. All were problem free and tasty.

    never mind I see on the rare turkeys ideal has a minimum of 10, oh well still less than 20.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  7. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone!!!!
    WalnutHill, I sincerely appreciate you writing out the descriptions of all the breeds- that really helps me. I've never even thought about being picky as to which birds I want to let procreate. Of course it makes perfect sense now. [​IMG]

    R2elk- what do you mean that a fox can do a fair imitation of tree climbing? Should I be concerned? One of the foxes in my area that I have personally seen is very large, like a German Shepard. He is very muscular and fast. I think he is a common red fox but I don't know for sure. I live in southwest Florida, south of Tampa near the gulf of Mexico.

    JimmyLang- thanks for the tip on ideal hatchery! I will check them out!
     
  8. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler Premium Member

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    Turkeys are strange birds!


    I have 9, 1 that goes into the chicken coop every night.

    2 that go in on the coldest nights only.

    5 that never go in a coop and refuse one always.

    and 1 last one I cannot get a handle on what she wants. Once they are fairly well grown their not going into a building is not a problem. They had their own coop, They refused it and would rather be near the chickens. They can fly and do but mine never leave the yard. They will follow the edge of the pasture (about 12 acres) If I am waking there and they decide they want to walk with. They never go there on their own.

    A fox or coyote would have a hard time climbing as high as they fly into the trees. I have seen mine 50 ft up in the oaks. They really like people and become pets, If we do not visit them enough in the barnyard they will come up to the house, sit under the windows and scream for us.

    If someone drives in the yard, they are the first to greet them. The odds of them flying away is about the same as me winning the lottery.

    I have 7 slate blues and 2 slate reds. The only problem I have with them is the Jakes have no manners. I have too many boys for my girls. 3 of my boys are moving to freezer camp a week from sunday. They are about 10 months old, I would like to keep them longer, but I worry they will hurt someone with their silly boy turkey games. I have one that has attacked me twice, he is on the head of the list, even though he is the prettiest and biggest jake.
     
  9. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    There are gray foxes that do a fair job of climbing trees especially if the tree trunk has a good slope to it. I used to have a part beagle that practically ran up those types of trees. The very large fox that you are describing does not fit the description of a fox. No fox approaches the size of a mature German Shepherd. Some coyotes can have a reddish tint to their coats but from what you are describing I believe that you may be seeing a Red Wolf and they do live in Florida. The Red Wolf would easily approach the size of a German Shepherd and yes they would not have any problem taking a full grown turkey.
     
  10. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: I have four girls, ages 2-10, who love playing outside with the animals. Should I be concerned about aggressive jakes? How do they attack? We have only one rooster and he is a sweet and gentle roo. He lets the girls pet him whenever they want, and our two year old will follow him while holding his tail feathers for 30 seconds before he scoots off. Super gentle...
     

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