First time turkey mom, are they really this stupid?

AMaggio

Chirping
Jun 21, 2019
53
46
54
Hey all, first time with turkeys and i have to know, does everyone have to put their poults in front of the food and water so that they will eat and drink thereby living to see another day? I know this is only day two at home but i bought them at a feed store so they know what what a waterer looks like and how to use it, but they would rather sit on their little roost than eat or drink. I found them panting last night and had to move the waterer right in the middle of the group in order to get them to drink. Then this morning i had to take them off their roost and put them on top of the food because they hadnt eaten all night....
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
13,062
44,101
1,191
Natrona County, Wyoming
Hey all, first time with turkeys and i have to know, does everyone have to put their poults in front of the food and water so that they will eat and drink thereby living to see another day? I know this is only day two at home but i bought them at a feed store so they know what what a waterer looks like and how to use it, but they would rather sit on their little roost than eat or drink. I found them panting last night and had to move the waterer right in the middle of the group in order to get them to drink. Then this morning i had to take them off their roost and put them on top of the food because they hadnt eaten all night....
If they are panting, you are keeping them too hot.

Nighttime is for sleeping and not for eating.

Turkeys have different instincts than chicks. Their normal way to learn to eat is by pecking at things on the bedding. I use sand for bedding and sprinkle starter on the sand. I have no trouble getting my poults to start eating. It does take them several days to learn to eat from the feeder. I only dip their beaks in the water the first time I put them in the brooder.
 

AMaggio

Chirping
Jun 21, 2019
53
46
54
Interesting, I've never heard of using sand for bedding. I'll have to try that. The main thing I've heard about turkeys is that they die really easily because they won't eat or drink if not shown. Yet despite being shown they don't seem to eat or drink unless I place them nearby. I do see a lot of differences between chicks and poults, mainly their scavaging abilities. The chicks I've raised never have problems finding food and easily teach the others where water is. They explore their surroundings and like to explore outside the brooder if they can fly high enough. These turkeys stay in a 1x1 area of their brooder and despite being strong enough to jump out of the brooder they are quite happy sitting on the roost i made for them instead.

I thought the same thing of the heat being too high so i raised the lamp and they've stopped panting. Still, I expected that if it was too hot they would have moved to the cooler side of the brooder, like my chickens have. Is this all normal? I expected them to have different instincts and mannerisms from a chicken or duck but maybe this difference is due to chickens being domesticated almosy 90% longer than turkeys?
 

R2elk

Magical, perfect creature
Premium member
7 Years
Feb 24, 2013
13,062
44,101
1,191
Natrona County, Wyoming
Interesting, I've never heard of using sand for bedding. I'll have to try that. The main thing I've heard about turkeys is that they die really easily because they won't eat or drink if not shown. Yet despite being shown they don't seem to eat or drink unless I place them nearby. I do see a lot of differences between chicks and poults, mainly their scavaging abilities. The chicks I've raised never have problems finding food and easily teach the others where water is. They explore their surroundings and like to explore outside the brooder if they can fly high enough. These turkeys stay in a 1x1 area of their brooder and despite being strong enough to jump out of the brooder they are quite happy sitting on the roost i made for them instead.

I thought the same thing of the heat being too high so i raised the lamp and they've stopped panting. Still, I expected that if it was too hot they would have moved to the cooler side of the brooder, like my chickens have. Is this all normal? I expected them to have different instincts and mannerisms from a chicken or duck but maybe this difference is due to chickens being domesticated almost 90% longer than turkeys?
People can lose turkey poults easily because they expect them to act like chicks. They also lose them because they don't start well if there are only a few of them. The more poults that I have in the brooder, the better they do.

I start my poults at 90°F measured at the bedding level. If you measure the air temperature, it will be too hot. I reduce that temperature by 5°F once a week until they are acclimated to the ambient temperature.

I use sand as bedding material because I live on a sand dune which makes the sand free for the digging.

I do not provide roosts in the brooder. I do heat only one part of the brooder and keep the food and water in the area that has a cooler temperature allowing the poults to move back an forth freely between the cooler and warmer areas.

When I introduce poults to the brooder, I dip their beaks in the water one time and then release them. Within minutes they are moving around and pecking at the food I have scattered on the sand.
 

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