few Qs about starting turkey poults

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by patandchickens, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    So I have ordered 3 BB bronze turkey poults for May 1, as an experiment for the freezer, and am trying to figure out how this is going to schedule in with everything else I'm doing. Never had turkeys before, so I ahve a few questions:

    1) I know they're supposed to be really fragile. Can I brood them in a draft-free ~50 degree building (with a good brooder lamp obviously) or should I plan on my basement, although frankly the basement isn't much warmer?

    2) Once they are too big for a 3x3-ish brooder box, they will go into a 4x6 linoleum-floored indoor dog run in the chicken building, with a brooder lamp. This particular dog run has never had chickens in it, although chickens are in the building. The building is ventilated but not at all breezy; I would keep the turkey pen's outside door closed for the first month or two (see next Q). Does this seem ok?

    3) When they are old enough I would like to let them out into the attached 4x14' chainlink outdoor run, which is roofed and predatorproof and has a concrete slab floor. Wood chips on the floor worked real well for my CornishX broilers last fall. Does this sound ok for the turkeys, and at what age do you think they could start going out this way?

    4) At what age could I start turning them loose during the day in the attached 6'-chainlink-fenced yard?

    My thought is to process them before they get too awful big, we don't need humongous festive birds, 15 lbs processed weight would be just fine.

    Any comments or suggestions welcomed, I really don't know what I'm doing but I'd like these BB turkeys to work out so I can convince DH we should try an actual heritage breed of them next year [​IMG]

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  2. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turkey poults can be very fragile. During the first two weeks or so I am fanatical about keeping everything clean and disinfected. After that your pretty much safe, but still maintain a clean environment. Use paper towels as bedding for the first week or so and change them frequently. Clean the water containers out with soap and water or bleach and make sure to always put warm water back in with them. Its difficult to get them to eat, so sprinkle food all over the bedding and live a tupperware top with food as well. They are sensitive to temperature and since you only have three make sure you monitor it well. The outside temp doesn't matter so much as long as its consistent. Once they are feathered out they can wander outside provided its dry. One thing that turkeys seem to love to do is to find a tight space to fit into, panic and die. I have lost several with this. I free range so obstacles of that sort are unavoidable but if you have them in a pen make sure to turkey proof it very well.

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like a good plan. I'd make sure you have several layers of paper on the floor to keep their little feeties warm but if the area is draft proof and you have a good light they should be fine. I know everyone says it's impossible to keep turkeys alive the first couple of weeks but we've never had any problem.
     
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Just keeping them warm...and draft free is the bets shot there. Sounds like you have a grat set up there. IF you have a chick...or a pleasant hen..you might put it in there with them, so they will show the turkeys where to eat and drink. They really are dense in the head, when it comes to eating and drinking. Its almost like they forget after they eat...where the food was. After 2 weeks or so, they are a breeze to raise. LOL However, I have raised MANY turkeys..and not lost them to denseness. Good luck with your poults. They sure are fun to raise....just dont get too attached to them. [​IMG] They have great personalities.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Thank you all VERY much! This is much more useful than books [​IMG]

    So, just checking, you're saying that for the first couple weeks I should use *just* paper towels as bedding, changed frequently? (As opposed to paper towels over shavings, which is what I used with chicks?) Do I have that right?

    And, justusnak, you mention a chick or something to show them about eating/drinking... I am actually getting 6 EE chicks from the same source at the same time. Could (or should?) I brood them *together* for a while? Are there any disadvantages? When would you remove the chick(s) - as soon as the turkeys have figured out basic life maintenance activities, or what?

    Sorry to have so many questions but if I'm only getting 3 poults I'd rather not do a lot of trial-and-error... [​IMG]

    Thanks again,

    Pat
     
  6. cgjsmith

    cgjsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The first couple of weeks was never hard for us it was the teen years that all of ours died. (we have 1 of 15 poults from last year) Not to scare you off because we love our turkeys lol. It sounds like you have everything planned really nicely. Just watch when you think your safe something happens LOL Crystal
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Sorry to hear it... may I ask, from what? To help me avoid it if possible? [​IMG]

    THanks,

    Pat
     
  8. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, you should just use paper towels or something they can't eat for the first two weeks. Turkey poults don't really know how to distinguish non-food from food when they are babies so if there is any chance they can get to shavings they will eat them and you may have bad consequences. Once they figure out that crumbles are food you should be set.
     

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