HELP!!! Raising free range turkeys!!!


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 18, 2012
last year i raised 12 broad breasted turkeys and this i want to get a couple heritage breed turkeys and have them free range. the old coop that i kept the turkeys in last year will be a chicken coop this year with a fence around it. the problem i have is does a heritage breed turkey have to be in a coop till they fly then can they roost on a couple a couple of barns i have? but i dont know what to do in the mean time till they fly. also when i get the turkeys they will be around 3 weeks old. and i want to get them ASAP so any advice will help!!
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Hi Turkey12345...
So, I have found that everyone has different opinions on housing. Some people put their turkeys in coops every single night (some places have a lot of predators that will go after poultry and eggs) and let them free-range throughout the day, some people seem to do it seasonally or based on the weather (only put their turkeys inside during the winter or otherwise bad weather), and some people just let their turkeys completely free range and roost in trees at night. I think most people I know who have let their birds roost in trees at night have lost a bird here and there but were ok with that because of the number of birds they had, the convenience, and the birds seeming to prefer it. My birds ALWAYS let themselves into their coop at night when the weather is bad/cold, so I personally feel like I ought to provide them with that option. During these warm days/nights when they stay out in their enclosure and roost on their branches - I just let them.

Anyhow - as far as your actual question about the young poults... once they're old enough I'm sure roosting on the barns will be just as good as roosting in trees and they'd probably like it... but 3 weeks old seems quite small to have them outside all of the time. My poults are 6 weeks old right now and still small enough to be easily killed by predators. Hawks have been known to swoop down and kill a poult, even if it was too large for them to carry away. And a neighbors cat attacked one of the poults from my last clutch when it was about 5 weeks old and would have killed it if I wasn't out there with it. I don't let them free range without my supervision until they're older. I've never let my birds free range completely and roost in trees at night, so maybe someone else who does could give you their opinion - but it only makes sense to me that if they're too small/young to fly away efficiently then they're too young to be out alone all the time, especially at night without shelter. 3 weeks old is really quite small and I would recommend giving them shelter initially. At that age, they may even still need a heating lamp on at night, depending on where you live and how cold and/or damp it gets!
yea i was planning on putting them in my brooder till about 5-6 weeks, but i dont think they can fly that high at 6 weeks so i was just thinking if i have to build a new coop. i like in new york so the winters can get bad so i was going to section a part in my barn to put them in the winter. i just dont want to build to a coop if i dont have to
I live in New York too!
Could you maybe just section a part of your barn now?? I have friends who raise turkeys/chickens in their barns.. they just give them a stall and put a door on it or a half-wall so that when they're young poults they can't get out on their own. They give them a heating lamp for at night and let them out during the day... then when they get older and are fully feathered, able to fly efficiently, etc they put a "poultry door" in, usually on the side of the barn so it leads directly outside and the birds can let themselves in and out! Don't know if that's possible/how easy it would be to give them their own spot in the barn... but I agree that 6 weeks is still too young to fly well enough.

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