Experienced with Chickens but new to Turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Peter.J, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. Peter.J

    Peter.J Chirping

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    So I’ve had plenty of chickens but decided to try out turkeys; I recently picked up 11 turkeys (7 jakes, 4 Jennies). They get along good with the chickens, and from what I’ve read they apparently learn a bit from the chickens...
    Only thing i’m Worried about is the jakes/toms fighting in the spring time. My plan is to separate the toms with one tom being with the hens and then rest of the toms being together. I hope the breeding flock propagates some more poults.
    The other toms will just stay together. Does this sound like a good plan? Any tips?
    I plan on leaving a couple chickens with each flock just for teaching purposes but once a turkey hen goes broody i will close her into a brooding enclosure until the poults are big enough.
     
    Rick M likes this.
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    If you want to keep your chickens alive, you will not put any of them in with the group of toms. The only time that chickens can be considered of value for teaching turkeys is when a chick or two is put in a brooder with day old poults.

    My recommendation is to either sell, rehome or process the excess toms.
     
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  3. Peter.J

    Peter.J Chirping

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    Really, i was under the impression they could cohabitate just fine? Are you saying the Toms will fight the chickens? They’ve been living together for about a month now without issues but they are all still jeuveniles..
     
    Rick M likes this.
  4. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    In many areas chickens and turkeys have to be raised separately to prevent the turkeys from getting blackhead which can be passed to the turkeys by the chickens.

    If you have a group of toms only, with chickens when breeding season arrives, you will end up with flat chickens from the toms trying to breed the chickens. If your turkeys are raised with chickens from the start they will not differentiate between themselves and chickens. As the turkeys become bigger than the chickens, dominance issues start. There is also the juvenile delinquent stage the young turkeys can go through.

    You obviously have not read @oldhenlikesdogs posts on the subject of raising turkeys and chickens together.

    My turkey hens have taken more issue with chickens especially roosters than do the toms.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

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    I've had young toms kill roosters at sexual maturity when they were raised and kept together.

    I've had turkey hens chase and harass my chickens whenever the mood hits. Thankfully my chickens can escape, and they often leave the area if the turkeys are out.

    Turkey fights will go on for days as turkeys are moody creatures and don't let things go. Often the rest of the flock will gang up on a loser. When my husband puts a bird down by gun for butchering, the rest of the birds will attack the dying bird if he does it in their run. They are relentless to the weak, or to sick birds.

    If confined with chickens and the chickens can't get away I would expect dead chickens especially if the turkeys were raised with chickens as turkeys will bond with any species raised with them and they will think they are the same. Raised separately is better, but kept, and housed separately is the best way to keep turkeys as the species aren't necessarily compatible, and turkeys are big strong birds.

    I have only had heritage, so I'm unsure if broad breasted would be different.

    No one ever listens to me. :confused: Everything will be fine up until it isn't. I have seen the worse and the best of turkeys. I prefer not to worry about my chickens, and like my turkeys locked up in their own shed and run, with occasional free ranging, which basically ends up with turkeys just running amok until I round them up. :barnie They are definitely a different bird, like kids with ADD.
     
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  6. Peter.J

    Peter.J Chirping

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    Lots of good info, thank you guys. Ironically my roosters have been trying to mate the turkey jakes and Jennie’s, at least they did at first but I think they figured it out.

    Well I guess I have my work cut out for me building some more enclosures here in the fall, or parting with the chickens...

    I have been amazed at how much stupider the turkeys are compared to chickens, i thought chickens took the cake when I first started with them...
    Thanks again for the replies.
     
    Rick M likes this.
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

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    I don't find turkeys more stupid. The difference is that chicks hatch with strong natural instincts. Turkey poults hatch ready to learn and be taught by their mom's. So actually turkeys are smarter because they can learn more. They start out a bit slower than chicks, but eventually they get pretty smart.
     
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  8. MBK Farm

    MBK Farm Chirping

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    My first season with turkeys this year and they're interesting and amazing. Turkeys are highly trainable due to their predisposition to imprinting. I was hesitant to allow my Christmas crew to free range our acreage at first, but they come when called and coop up with easy basic herding. They are very easy keepers, but as already stated, they will get a wild hair and go after things. They can flip the switch and turn from agreeable free rangers into feathered hoodlums. They certainly do go after my chickens, or at least would like to, but my chickens are net fenced and the turkey wings are clipped. So far, so good.

    Yesterday the turkeys were out ranging and chasing grass hoppers, I let my goat buck pen boys out to flash graze a stockpiled grass strip. They're all much bigger and stronger meat goats than the 94 day old turkey gang, but after 5 minutes those turkeys had those goats scrambling. The little bourbon red Jennies were the worse of the lot too. The goats had never seen turkeys before and didn't know what hit 'em. My experience is to have everyone that will be exposed to the turkeys work the turkeys. The turkeys on our farm are wonderful additions that have/fill their niche and will taste delicious this holiday season. The turks get their own places with their own times. Little velociraptors.
     
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  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

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    I call mine a gang hoodlums. They sure can cause chaos with their antics.
     
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