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First time raising turkeys - need free ranging advice

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Newbean, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Newbean

    Newbean Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2008
    ok, long story short a pair of turkeys were given to me.

    Problem #1 - They free range 100% of the time. I'm worried about this for the winter.

    The hen managed to hatch 11 turkeys this past July. she raised them free range until they started to wander into the neighbors yards. they were about 6 weeks old. We herded them into a coop and they are now about 13 weeks old. they have been fed an all natural feed that is mixed and sold locally.

    We think they should be ready for Thanksgiving. We would like to finish them off by free ranging (and an all natural finisher feed).

    The older birds free range in about 1/4 pasture with pasture fencing. The pasture fencing keeps them in for the most part. the older birds just don't seem to want to fly over and are to big to fit through.

    I'm not sure how to go about free ranging the young turkeys. they might fit through the pasture fence. will they fly over it? I'm a little freaked out about them disappearing. what if I let them out and then I can't get them back in the coop again?

    I'd like to free range them during the day and then put them all (incl. the older birds) in a coop at night.

    The older birds roost on top of the coop at night, I'm worried that the younger birds will join them.

    I really need some advice. The whole thing is making me nervous, but I think they will sell best if we can say free range.

    help!

    P.S. I don't know what breed I'm dealing with. Here's a pic. Maybe you all can help. I think they are more of a heritage breed. but its just a guess.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, I'd love it if I had a neighbor whos turkeys free ranged into my yard. I need to get some turkeys... maybe in the spring. My wife hinted that we may be able to get mini cows if I'm "nice to her" until the baby is born (January.) I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I'll do my best!
     
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    Black spanish? That's what I got...I"m with you on this one too. Got two turkeys for the first time ever and right now they are in with the chicks and all getting along great. I'm hoping to keep mine with the chicks as well too. We are going to let ours out too but not until we keep them locked in the coop for two weeks. Hoping it's like the chickens...get used to coop being home and go in on their own? [​IMG] Ha, is that how it works? LOL Yours are MUCH bigger then mine. Mine are just babies yet. I know I have black spanish and yours look a lot like mine in color.
     
  4. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do free range turkeys tend to stay close, like chickens?
     
  5. Newbean

    Newbean Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2008
    My older turkeys do tend to stay inside the pasture fence. But if they get spooked, with end up outside.

    When the hen had the babies and they would go through the pasture fence and eat on the other side, she would go over or through (she had lost some weight when on the nest) to follow them. They usually ended up back in the pasture though, because that is where I put the chick feeders and waterers.

    Now that the chicks are in a coop, she doesn't go out of the pasture anymore. She stayed very close to the babies coop up until about 2 weeks ago when she started following the Tom around again.

    And that brings up another question. The Tom is a nice old fellow who doesn't bother my kids. Runs when walked after.

    He can easily see the young turkeys in their coop and when they were younger was a great dad of sorts. Protective, but again, didn't try to attack me or my kids when we were around. Just a great older fellow (I'm guessing around 4 yrs old by the look of his beard.)

    2 questions.

    how is he going to react to me letting the young turkeys out? Will their be fighting?

    and

    How long is a turkey fertile? I like this guy and hope he can keep fathering chicks for years. But what are my chances?
     
  6. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    Since you have 13, I'd start by letting 5 of them out and see what happens. That way you haven't put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. I'm sure it will work out fine for you.

    Dan
     

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