Free ranging turkeys and seeding pasture?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by katefollot, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. katefollot

    katefollot Out Of The Brooder

    I haven't gotten any poults yet as I want to be sure my set up would work for them (and I won't end up tearing my hair out). I have several acres of overseeding as well as seeding bare ground (silvopasture) to do and I'm wondering how much the turkeys would go after the seeds? I don't have a problem setting aside an area for them that wouldn't be seeded, but it would be so large (and with so many trees) that I wouldn't be able to cover it to keep them from flying out. I'm interested in keeping Spanish Blacks and Midget Whites, wish I was interested in keeping broad breasted as they're so much easier to contain. [​IMG]

    I know if I clipped their wings, I would have to put them up in a coop at night as they would be unable to roost. The fence would be around 4 1/2-5 feet, would they bother flying over that if I gave them enough space and enough stuff to do? I could put them in a smaller enclosure that I could net over, however I really want them to be able to forage for some of their food. Enlighten me, should I just wait until I'm done seeding stuff(a couple years)? or is there a good solution to this?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    I don't know if turkeys would eat that particular type of seed, but they eat seeds, so it's possible. I wouldn't run any birds on freshly seeded ground.

    Wing clipping doesn't work so well, especially on younger birds. Clipping both does nothing and clipping one stops some, but not others. Turkeys are strong flyers and when under a year are light enough to fly up pretty far.

    I clip one wing on young birds, and none on older birds unless they continue to fly up. They can still go to roost without problems, step up roosts are always best. Turkeys under a year will need multiple wing clippings as the molt and grow.

    I personally let mine out to forage and than put them in a pen for the rest of the time. Turkeys forage for a while, than they goof off the rest of the time.

    I usually have to manage the shenanigans on birds under a year. After they reach sexual maturity and start laying eggs and mating they are less trouble as they focus on reproduction.
     
  3. katefollot

    katefollot Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you so much for that. I don't know much about turkeys specifically (yet, still in research phase), so that kind of experience is very much appreciated!

    I'm not sure if I'll do it this year, but last year I did seed with oats and rye as it provides winter grazing. I'm sure the turkeys would very much appreciate if I did that again when they're here. The perennial seed mix that I'll be seeding more heavily with has pretty small seeds, it's fescue, orchard grass, and kentucky blue. I'm not sure they would be as motivated to go after that as they would the bigger stuff (especially right after it sprouts). I would only be getting 6 to start so between the clipping so they can have time in a small paddock, and having a smaller pen with netting over top that, I think that would be doable.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    Sounds like a good plan. Turkeys eat a lot of greens, different grasses and weed leaves. It cuts my feed bill down by half in summer, and mine are out at most 8 hours a day, and most days a lot less.

    Once you spend a season with them you will be more familiar with their ways and needs. I find turkeys don't forage as continuously as chickens do, and they don't scratch things up.

    They do like flying up on stuff. My turkey hens get up on the barn roof daily if allowed, than up on the shed roof, and into the trees, the adult toms stay on the ground. At that point I usually lock them back up because they are loud and obnoxious to me.

    They can be fun and enjoyable if managed properly. I know some people let them just do what they want, but I like mine penned after a while. I have generally around 15 st any one time so they are a noisy, nosey bunch.
     

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