Help with coop/run ideas...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by DVTO2, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. DVTO2

    DVTO2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been perusing the list and have come up with a coop/run idea for starting with turkeys, probably Bourbon Reds. I started with chickens this year and have done quite well with them, using a tractored coop and run I designed with help from board members (you can see the design and pics on my page).

    First, my setting: I'm in Northern CT. I have 7 acres backed up onto wetlands with about an acre and half have of pasture, mostly in the back. There are four acres of woods in back bounded by a large stream. This area is about 700 to 1200 back from the road, though there is a bike path separated by 100 to 150 feet of woods on one border. I would love to free range turkeys some, but don't know how far they'll range. Also I have lots of predators, including coyotes, racoons, and hawks, and don't know how well BR turkeys can fend off predators.

    As far as a run/coop design, if I have to keep them enclosed, I was thinking of doing an 8' by 16' run by 8' high with a pitched roof of about 2', all covered with welded wire. On one end, I was thinking of enclosing three sides with tarp, with a roost about 4' to 6' off the ground. The run would be on skids so I could drag it once a week or so, so if they were confined, they'd get some new pasture.


    1) does this set up sound adequate?
    2) how many BR's could I keep in such a set up?
    3) could I mix geese in there?
    4) thinking ahead, what does a turkey nest box look like?
    5) I've been using hanging nipple waterers for the chickens and they and I love them - no poop in the water to clean out. Will turkeys use these?

    Thanks!
     
  2. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too would like to see and hear any ideas for turkey housing. I plan on getting a couple of turkeys. I will have them free range eventually but I would like to know the type of shelter works best for them. Pictures would be a great help.
     
  3. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    What has worked best for us has been "range roosts". In the old days they were built on skids and mobile ours are stationary and we use 30 pound size hanging feeders under the roosts. The smaller range roost is now closed in on the sides and 1/2 the front. We had an owl that was either flying into the roost or scaring the Cochin chickens off and eating them.

    [​IMG]

    The smaller one is 10x10' and there are 4 nest boxes in the back ( the back is hinged to get the eggs)

    The other is for the Bronze and is quite a bit bigger. We have never had any losses even though it is further back in the woods but we closed it in anyway.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Steve
     
  4. Unclebean

    Unclebean Rest in Peace 1977-2013

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    Steve,

    That is an awesome set-up! I'm guessing the range roost would be sufficient for weather in Pennsylvania?
     
  5. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    I would think they would work in a colder winter. They go under in the rain and if closed in keeps the wind off them. Wild turkeys roost up in the trees in all weather. They are pretty tough birds.

    Steve
     
  6. DVTO2

    DVTO2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While I like the stationary set up for Sands Poultry, I'd still like to get some opinions on my original questions.
     
  7. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hastings, Nebraska
    It depends on the what kind cold winds in winter you get. When the wind chill gets below about -5 or so is when more problems start to occur. If the turkeys can't find adequate shelter against the wind they won't last. If you do have high winds tarps won't last the winter they will be shredded. Even moderate wind will really tare them up.

    Turkeys are most venerable when they sleep at night, so it's safer for them 20 foot up in a tree then an open shelter 6 foot off the ground. One thing about predators is they go after the easy food first. so if there is a lot of small game around in the winter that helps. As far as how far they will far when free ranging depends on the type of turkeys, those know to be better at foraging will go further like a mile or two away, but if they have learned where the easy food is at they come back.

    Although a domesticated turkey is as hardy as a wild turkey, you are trying to keep your loses down. So building a pen like what Steve's uses is a good idea to keep predators at bay in the winter. The type of shelter depends on how cold and windy it gets where the turkeys will be. You also must consider how to get feed and water to them.

    1) does this set up sound adequate?
    Sort of, depending on the actual weather conditions.

    2) How many BR's could I keep in such a set up?
    maybe 6 to 8 . last year we had 8 in a 8 x 20 foot pen, with a 7 x 10 foot coop.

    3) could I mix geese in there?
    Yes you could, but keep water foul and turkeys together have a different set of problems.

    4) thinking ahead, what does a turkey nest box look like?
    The most common looks like a chicken nesting box set on the ground but bigger. But of the hens we have had that we let get old enough to lay, (about 8 or so) none have ever used a nesting box.

    5) I've been using hanging nipple waterers for the chickens and they and I love them - no poop in the water to clean out. Will turkeys use these?
    they might if they figure out how to use them, but I have ho idea if they would freeze up in the winter.

    Tom
     
  8. DVTO2

    DVTO2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've covered the welded wire roof of my chicken run with a tarp that's zip tied in place and it has held up well for about 8 months. It's UV treated but I figure the sun will get it eventually and then I'll replace it.

    To keep the nipple buckets from freezing I drop a bucket heater in there from TSC which has worked fine so far, and we've got down to 7 degrees.

    I have plenty of trees and wouldn't mind if they free ranged around my property but a mile away could be a problem, depending on what direction they wandered.

    Maybe I wasn't clear in my description, but my alternative to free range is keeping them in a welded wire covered run which could be dragged to new pasture as needed. I'd put the tarps around the north end of the run to block the wind. No predators have got into my chicken run which has the same design.

    What problems with mixing turkeys with water fowl?
     
  9. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use tarps also, i just wanted to inform about them shredding and having to be changed if you didn't know about that, and it appears you do.

    Trees help a lot keeping the wind down. As long as the wind doesn't blow to much we have had no problem down to minus temps. We have never used nipple buckets. but we have tried various assorted heated poultry waters wlich none really worked all that well. We finally ended up using 1 gallon ice cream pals and took water out daily some times more often.

    Well you never know for sure how far they will wonder until you free range them. Some flocks we had to stay out side with them the entire time they were out of the pen , others came back no problem and we let them out all day unsupervised.

    Yes we did have have movable coop and run for turkeys for a couple of years but i had to use parts from the axle to fix a car so that is stationary now. That approach is helpful in keeping predators away from your flock. You will probably have to move it every couple of days. the only problem we have had with predictor is during the day when the layers are out free ranging.

    Water fowl like wet, wet is not good for turkeys because of the potential deseise and health problems it breeds for the turkeys, some have done it. As far as getting along most likely they will.

    Tom
     

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