First turkey.....several newbie "turkey 101" questions.

scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
So I've been reading around online, and couple days ago signed on here because my turkey got sick. my chicken and ducks have been fine so far. They are all 3 weeks old.

the 1 turkey we got is a bronze turkey as far as we know that's all the lady knew at the store. so my questions:

1) how long before they're "fullsize"???

2) I don't see alot of raccoons round here anymore after having taken out 15 raccoons in my garden shed in 1 week last summer. since then I haven't seen a single trace of a raccoon, and only 1 possum. My idea is that all my birds will free-range during the day, and was wondering if the turkey could stay out by himself and would fly up to roost somewhere at night, or if he needs to be locked up at night. I mean there are turkey out in the wild (several of them come through/past my property almost daily) and they roost in trees. So could mine basically do the same thing??? I would like to have all my birds free-range to mimic living in the wild as closely as possible.

3) how long before turkey start laying eggs???

4) how heavy do "bronze turkey" get???

5) do store bought turkey fly when needed (like to roost or get away from predators, or are they bred not to fly???

6) what signs can I look for at what ages to be able to tell what sex he/she is???

7) any other "accommodations" that are specially required for turkey (ducks need water/swimming place, etc..), or are they fairly simple birds???

8) any other general suggestions/recommendations for this first time turkey owner to raising this bird as close to natural as possible???

Thanks for the crash course while I keep reading all the good stuff all over this site.
 

KrisH

Songster
8 Years
May 25, 2011
1,637
59
153
Gray Court, South Carolina
yo might consider reading the following thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/92240/give-me-the-dirt-on-turkeys as for the specific questions...
So I've been reading around online, and couple days ago signed on here because my turkey got sick. my chicken and ducks have been fine so far. They are all 3 weeks old.

the 1 turkey we got is a bronze turkey as far as we know that's all the lady knew at the store. so my questions:

1) how long before they're "fullsize"???

That would depend on if it is a Broad Breasted Bronze "BBB" sometimes referred to as double breasted (about 18 Weeks I have heard for eating size), or Standard Bronze (about 6+ Months). how fast it grows will help figure out which one you have.

2) I don't see alot of raccoons round here anymore after having taken out 15 raccoons in my garden shed in 1 week last summer. since then I haven't seen a single trace of a raccoon, and only 1 possum. My idea is that all my birds will free-range during the day, and was wondering if the turkey could stay out by himself and would fly up to roost somewhere at night, or if he needs to be locked up at night. I mean there are turkey out in the wild (several of them come through/past my property almost daily) and they roost in trees. So could mine basically do the same thing??? I would like to have all my birds free-range to mimic living in the wild as closely as possible.

it is almost always best to keep them confined in preditor resistant housing at night. but that depends on where you live and what you are willing to risk. We free range during the day and lock them in the barn before dark. it WILL want a friend. could be a turkey, guinea, duck etc, but it will want a buddy. if it has no friend, it could head out with the wild ones.

3) how long before turkey start laying eggs???

I have heard 6 to 8 months. my phlosophy is that it happens when it does, just keep a lookout for nests, since it might decide to go broody and not come home one day and attempt to survive 28 days on the nest. That is of course assuming it is a hen.

4) how heavy do "bronze turkey" get???

Standard bronze hen could get as much as 20# toms 36# According to www.porterturkeys.com but Broad Breasted could get significantly heavier (at the cost of a short life span and health problems)

5) do store bought turkey fly when needed (like to roost or get away from predators, or are they bred not to fly???

Again, it depends, Toms do not fly as well as hens, but the standard bronze can get off the ground. ours roost on an 8 foot wall in the barn. but The BBB would not likely be able to do that.

6) what signs can I look for at what ages to be able to tell what sex he/she is???

I noticed that I could feel a small lump on the chest where the beard will be at about 12 weeks old. some hens will have a smaller beard too, but it developes slower. hard to compare when you only have one though.

7) any other "accommodations" that are specially required for turkey (ducks need water/swimming place, etc..), or are they fairly simple birds???

Prety much just like chickens, but they will roam farther, and they consider fences as a suggestion. They will fly over, then forget how to get back sometimes. Other times they get it right. They take off slower than some other birds, so a fast dog could grab them as they take off.

8) any other general suggestions/recommendations for this first time turkey owner to raising this bird as close to natural as possible???

They like personal attention. Our girls seem to enjoy being held, and they seem to enjoy when friends in sandalls come over with painted toenails, or tattoos on their legs. We find it funny, but it rarely happens with the same person twice. I reccomend jeans and boots. Our toms want to just be around us strutting and drumming and rarely pick at tattoos or toenails.

They are VERY curious birds and will walk off with things you leave lying around. They are my favorite birds we have

RobertH
 
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scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
I actually found and started reading that link that you posted above. Thanks.

As for your very last part, I guess I must have a female then, because she loves being held, loves climbing on my arm, and loves my wedding ring. Earlier I build a divider wall in the cage that I had Turk and all my chicken in, to separate him from the chicken for a while since I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with his belly/vent area, and he kept stealing my construction screws. also whenever I clean the cage, I have to actually put him outside the cage, otherwise he'll stand directly onto of the bedding that I'm trying to pick up, peck at the dust pan shovel, or try to stand on my hand that I'm using to scoop the bedding with. It's basically impossible to do any work in the cage without him interfering. So I guess he could be a she. LOL

is there a way to tell the BBB from the regular bronze??? like do the chicks look different??? could you tell if I posted a picture, or do you just have to wait until he grows up???

oh I read somewhere that the males grow an extra spur on the back of their legs. How long before that starts growing???

as far as him having a friend. well he's spend the last 3 weeks in the same cage with the ducks and the chicken. however the ducks mostly kept to one side, and the chicken to the other side of the cage. i kept expecting to see them all snuggling but that didn't happen. however I think Turk actually thinks he's a chicken, as he seems to mimic everything the chicken do. I gave the chicken some sand to play in, and a few of the chicken started laying on their side and kicking themselves into circles (i'm assuming they were dusting. but it looked more like they were dying. LOL). Turk just stood there and looked at them with a crooked head, and suddenly fell on his side opened his wing and started kicking himself into circles just like the chicken. LOL and I watched him learned to "scratch" by watching the chicken, and several other odd little habits he seems to have picked up by watching the chicken. who knows......maybe he'll actually be dumb enough to just follow the chicken in and out of their coop. I was thinking about putting the chicken into their new chicken coop in the next 1-2 weeks once I figure out how they're going to get in and out (it's a HUGE coop in the top of a field stone garden shed about 8 feet off the ground). Maybe I should just put Turk in the coop with the chicken and let him keep thinking he's a chicken. that way when they go out in the morning and come back in at night, he might just follow them. LOL think that might work???
 

KrisH

Songster
8 Years
May 25, 2011
1,637
59
153
Gray Court, South Carolina
Not sure if you have "Blackhead" in your area, might call the local agricultural center and ask. Our turkeys and chickens and guinea all mix during the day and mostly separate at night where they were kept when younger.

not sure how to tell BB or Standard. we are kind of new to turkeys too. We are starting our third year with turkeys. but they sure are fun birds.

Try sweeping the barn with 8 toms strutting their stuff and constantly in the way. and the hens picking at your cloths. I bent down the other day to pick someting up and a hen hopped up on my back. (Glad it wasn't one of the toms) when i stood up she went to my shoulder, then stepped up on my head, then flew down.

Post some pictures, we LOVE pictures!

RobertH
 

KrisH

Songster
8 Years
May 25, 2011
1,637
59
153
Gray Court, South Carolina
Oh, and wait until they get out in the sun and "pass out"

they will run out of the shade and into the sun, then collapse and stretch out a wing, then get up and run back to the shade.


so so funny

RobertH
 

scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
Here is where my 4year old boy is picking out MY "leopard print" chicken, MY 2 ninja chicken (well i couldn't find pitch black chicken, so these were the closest. and turns out there not even black. they all silver with black spots now....barred rock), and 2 for himself. he picked a brown round and fluffy "chewbacca" and a black with silver striped one that is a silver wynodette.



At first I didn't know that "turkey" was a turkey. I just told my boy to pick one of the "leopard print" chicken for me. then the lady said that was a "turkey". well since it was in the same bin with all the other CHICKEN, I figured that must just be a name for a type of chicken. kinda like that turducken or whatever that one bird is called. It wasn't until after I bought it and realized that while all the other chicken cost between $1-2, that one bird cost me $7. I thought that was weird but left it at that. Then my son wanted to know what they would look like when they got bigger, so I decided to ask the almighty GOOGLE by typing in the names of the birds that were on the receipt.................and then I typed in "bronze turkey"...........yeah.........LOL

here he is in the cage with all the other chicken that he's been living with since they came home.


here he is watching tv with me....well.....he fell asleep


and here we are again watching tv together


and some more watching tv.....he fell asleep again.....he's worse than me. LOL


and since he's possibly been sick, and i've been trying to figure out what's wrong with him, here's a poop that he finally managed today. is it just me, or is that a HUGE poop for such a little bird???



 

KrisH

Songster
8 Years
May 25, 2011
1,637
59
153
Gray Court, South Carolina
Ahh he or she is adorable, yep they like to sit with you and sleep or pick at something. That poop looks completly normal.
Just remember, that turkey will want to do the sitting with you when it is grown.
 

casportpony

Spreadsheet Queen
BYC Staff
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 24, 2012
108,494
291,255
2,062
The Golden State
Do your homework on histomoniasis (blackhead) and should you have an outbreak, it would be wise to have the meds handy. In the last two years I've lost two poults and two peachicks to it, if you need more info, just let me know.
 

scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
I have heard of "blackheads", but I need to do some more research on it.

I did find a site last night that had (even though for chicken) some info and pictures that looked very similar to what Turk has, and a natural (my prefered) remedy, so I'm going to try that.

Here's what I found.

http://hencam.com/henblog/2011/08/chickens-have-messy-bottoms/

http://hencam.com/henblog/2011/02/the-epsom-salt-cure/

http://hencam.com/faq/bare-butts-feather-loss-and-feather-picking/

so I'm going to try the epsom salt bath and drink, and also the povidone stuff and see how he does. So far he is eating the food I gave him and seems to be drinking, and I also found several fresh poops now that he's separated from the rest.

I also bought some Diatomaceous dirt for all the birds. Seems that word keeps coming up over and over, so I figured I should have some on hand to try all the various uses I keep reading about.
 

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