First Time Turkey Owner

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Padfoot417, May 30, 2012.

  1. Padfoot417

    Padfoot417 Chirping

    May 31, 2011
    Hey all!
    I'm about to be a first time mama to 2 turkey poults.
    One will be a Blue Slate and the other a Bourbon Red.
    I have a couple questions though.
    Will they fit in with my chickens?
    Do I have to raise them for food?
    How different is raising them from raising chickens?
    And that's about it.
    Does anyone have any general tips also?
    I'd really appreciate the help [​IMG]
    Thank you!
  2. Stephanie739

    Stephanie739 Songster

    Oct 7, 2011
    [​IMG] I'm waiting for replies, thinking about branching out into turkeys. I am considering the red breed you mentioned as well as midget whites. Congratulations on your new birds!
  3. ButchGood

    ButchGood Songster

    Mar 14, 2012
    Central Texas
    I'm a first time Turkey owner. I'm raising 4 Broad Breasted Bronze. I started with these because they mature very fast. The are ready for the Table at 18 to 24 weeks. I figured that I didn't enjoy raising turkeys it would only be a little while. As it turns out I love the turkeys. So this fall or maybe next spring I'm going to pick up a heritage trio.
    My 4 poults came in the mail with 11 RIR roosters. I put the whole lot of them in with my chickens. Not much trouble at all. Just the normal pecking order adjustments. All the RIR's think they are Turkeys. They all roost together outside under a tarp in the chicken run. When they first went in with the chickens they were small and would sleep in a pile in the coop with the big birds. When the turkeys got bigger they wanted to roost outside. So I put a tarp out there over the roost. They all seem happy together.
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Yes, you MUST raise them for food. They make terrible pets. Ignore all that chirping, gobbling, squeaking, and cooing. Pay no attention to their innate sense of curiosity. No matter how flashy Tom looks when he's strutting in the sun you must always keep in mind "I AM going to eat you!"

    I tell all of my customers that. Especially the ones who tell me they are definitely buying them to raise for the holidays.

    Some of them even manage to actually do it.

    The rest have mobile yard art when they discover that turkeys have personality.

    The important things to remember is that turkeys are not chickens! Don't try to feed them like chickens. If they are still poults then they are going to need a higher protein feed than ordinary chick starter. What you want is gamebird starter. If it's not labeled as such it may be labeled for quail, pheasants or one of the other game breeds. Optimal protein is in the 28-30% range. Failing all of that and if you have a Tractor Supply in your area they carry a 24% protein chick starter. The birds will grow a little slower, but still manage to reach their potential. If you just can't find anything higher/better than ordinary chick starter then supplement their feed with something like chopped hard boiled eggs and some dark green leafy vegetables. Chop them up together finely at first then more coarsely as they begin to grow. No more than what they can eat in about ten minutes or so.

    If they are day olds when you get them you'll want to be make sure they know how to eat and drink. Dip each of their beaks in their water then set them down on top of their feed. Normally I use the bottom half of an egg carton which allows them to get into it, but hard for them to scratch the feed out. Usually only have to do this once, but occasionally they'll be a little slow on the uptake so you may have to repeat it every couple of hours if you're not seeing them eat or drink.

    Make sure they are kept properly warm because very young poults chill easily.

    Depending on your local weather you can take them out of their brooder at around six weeks if it is sunny, warm, and dry. A little longer if it's cool or wet and especially if it's cool and wet.

    Other than that you can treat them pretty much like chickens. I've found them to get along with smaller birds OK. Once in a while an obnoxious rooster will get crossways with the turkeys. It will be the hens that take him out, not the toms, if it happens so watch out for that, but I've never seen it happen a lot.

    Good luck!
  5. ButchGood

    ButchGood Songster

    Mar 14, 2012
    Central Texas
    Ive named mine, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Newyear, and Lunchbox.

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