Free-Ranging Turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by ninjapoodles, May 26, 2008.

  1. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    We have 15 Narragansett turkey poults coming in a couple of weeks. Once they're old enough, I'd like to free-range them on our 5 acres, but my husband is afraid they'll fly over the perimeter fence onto our neighbor's property, and that we'd never see them again.

    Do any of you free-range your turkeys without a "tractor?" What's your experience on them flying? How far do they roam? Do you clip wings?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2008
    There are wild turkeys free ranging in the field and woods around my property. There are foxes, racoons, and hawks here too so they are doing good to still be around. Several years I have noticed them. Maybe I wil turn loose a couple more to help them out.

    They travel quite a bit because I rarely see them.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2008
  3. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Hubs is more worried about our neighbor getting them if they fly over onto his property than he is about predators getting them! [​IMG]
     
  4. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Quote:Do you by any chance live in New England? We've been hearing stories like this from our MA friends for weeks, now, and they really frustrate my husband, who hunted the ENTIRE spring turkey season this year without seeing a SINGLE one! He did get one back in February, at the very end of bow season.

    I had to wheedle and cajole to get my chickens--for YEARS--but he got right on board with the turkey idea! [​IMG]
     
  5. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2008
    No I am in the mid atlantic. They are rare around here. I think they probably would venture onto the neighbor's property. Maybe you can convince them to shoo them back [​IMG]
     
  6. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

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    Columbia Gorge, OR
    We have LOTS of wild turkeys here near the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. You will see one big Tom and a harem of 15 or so females with him. Sometimes there might be more Toms, if they are young. They like to eat at one particular farm near ours. I can always catch them there about 1 hour before dusk, munching and hanging out. They are one of my favorite wild birds we see here regularly (along with the Bald Eagles).

    I was thinking of letting my two BB Bronzes free range when they are old enough. I hear they will keep predators away! They are pretty tough birds. The old timers around here always talk about some turkey that chased somebody on some farm, etc. etc. when they were free ranging them. Sounds hilarious to me [​IMG]

    Supposidly they won't eat your garden, just the bugs, grass, and weeds around it. Anyone else know if this is true? If they would eat my garden, they are staying in a pen and that is that!
     
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I let my bb bronze wander around... they will eat EVERYTHING though... They shovel down grass and I caught them eating some thistle too. [​IMG]
     
  8. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

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    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    Yeah, I knew it would be too good to be true [​IMG]

    Time to build those big boys a pen!
     
  9. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2007
    MERRY LAND
    Quote:Can we get an update picture on your turkeys? I just got mine, Tried sifting through your posts to find a pic, but got lost reading other threads.
     
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 30, 2008
    ND
    Quote:Don't know about them keeping predators away... I lost a BBW hen when a raccoon tore her apart. They do tend to be curious, and some folks get intimidated if they come to your house and are suddenly surrounded by turkeys checking them out to see if they have anything edible.


    Supposidly they won't eat your garden, just the bugs, grass, and weeds around it. Anyone else know if this is true? If they would eat my garden, they are staying in a pen and that is that!

    They didn't eat much in the way of plants in my garden, but I did lose a few plants when they stepped on them or took a dust bath in the garden and were too close to a plant. It was neat watching them go down the potato row eating potato bugs, and picking grasshoppers out of the beans (they did sample an occasional bean). But they do love fruit, and if you are growing grapes, berries, apples, etc... they will happily eat them for you.

    What kind of perimeter fence do you have, and are there any trees close to it? If they have a large enough area, they probably won't go over the fence if it's solid (like chainlink), but if it's wire they will go through it. I have chainlink on two sides of my yard, even wild turkeys don't fly over it but will walk up my driveway and come into the yard where there isn't any fence. But if there are trees close and they roost in the trees, they may jump down on the wrong side of the fence.

    You can always try letting them run loose, if they start doing damage get a bucket of grain and lead them back to the pen (mine always followed me if I had a bucket in my hand). Just remember, if you pen them up you will probably need a covered pen because if they are kept in a smaller area they will be much more likely to fly over the fence. Even after clipping one wing, mine could still get over a 6' fence.​
     

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