Getting our first turkey poults tonight!!


9 Years
Jun 29, 2010
Chatham County, NC
Hi everyone,

We have had chickens for about 3 years, but are trying our hand at raising a small flock turkeys now for meat. I'd love to breed them if I have a breeding pair leftover at the end of the year. We just want a couple of dressed turkeys for the Holiday season and to have some extra meat frozen. We are getting our first Heritage Bourbon Red poults tonight from the farmer down the street from us!! We are so excited!

We have a turkey pen and roost already set up and integrated into the back of our wooden shed but we will keep them under a heat light either inside or on our screened in porch for now (until they are all feathered out). Anyone know about how many weeks until they can go outside? I'm in NC, so it's pretty warm down here right now.

Any tips for a beginner with turkeys? Is a regular waterer fine or do they need more like a bowl or bucket?
If you still have any questions, please feel free to post. Raising poults can be tricky and you could possibly lose some. How old are the poults that you are getting?
I believe they have just been hatched in the last day or two from the incubator. I'm a little worried about getting them to eat and drink properly but I will make sure and dip their beaks in the water when we put them into the brooder. And thanks for the tip about putting the food on the aluminum foil!

I think we will put paper towels down on the floor of the brooder box for now. Is 3-4 poults enough for a small flock? We may have to wait until this guy hatches out a few more and get some more poults because right now he only has 3 or 4 that have fully hatched.
Well all the poults made it through the night- yay!! They were only a day old- sweet little things. Most of them are drinking and I saw them pecking at their food, just not eating a whole lot. Not nearly as interested in the food as the baby chicks were. One of the poults has splayed legs, and we tied some yard between them to keep them together better. That one does not seem to be "getting it" as much as the others in terms of eating/drinking. They are pooping which I guess is a good sign?

try adding shiny intersting things to the food area to attract them over. ALso many of us use a chick to help encourage the poults to find the food and water sources. THey just a little more guidence than chicks so they need the extra care to survive as well as chicks. Normally they would have a mother hen to show them the way-- it is your turn to fill that roll. lol Marbles in the water is helpful in two ways: keeps them fraom falling in and it inspires them to peck at the marbles and "hey, there's water here!" is the discovery and reminder to them. They also need monitoring for warmth by having warmer and cooler areas. I watch poults and chicks that are far away from the heat source because if they get too cook they can't get back to the heat source, their muscles are not functioning well. So I pick up the baby and place under the heat lamp. I have noticed that once it is warmed up again it can get around to the food and water again.

With a little vigil the poults will do well with few losses. Good luck!
One of the things I noticed about turkeys when I started was that you don't see them eating like chickens. But the food will still disappear and its going somewhere. If they have found the water and are pecking at the food, you don't need to do any of the gimmicks. They know where it is and they will eat what they need.

Turkeys are loads of fun if you give them a little attention every day. Have fun!!!
Thanks!! I put a few colorful buttons in their food (and water) and they have enjoyed pecking at those. They go after the ones in the water all the time and remember to drink it.

I have one poult that is pecking and pulling all the time at the winglets of the other poults. The winglets stick out a little and I guess they are attractive to peck on but sometimes it makes the others slip or knocks them over. How can I stop this?

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