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How different are turkeys in relation to chickens?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by lindsmurphy, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. lindsmurphy

    lindsmurphy In the Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hi all,

    I am looking for some information on turkeys.. hubby recently asked me if we should get a few turkey chicks to raise up and eat.. but I have zero experience with these birds. What do they need that is different than chickens? How much space, how much feed, how much inside vs outside time do they need? Is there anything I need to know about them, anything unpleasant about raising them, basically anything a first timer should know before getting herself into them?


  2. stillstoked

    stillstoked In the Brooder

    Mar 5, 2011
    For me it was pretty much the same. I did have to feed them the higher protein feed for a while, I do have them in a bigger cage, and I've had to deal with black head. but they are very similar.
  3. lindsmurphy

    lindsmurphy In the Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Thank you for your reply, I've been told that they cannot be house in the same area as chickens as they will get sick, so they would need to be on the other side of the property here, which might be annoying.. I may just stick to chickens for now. Thanks for the info though!
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Turkey poults are quite fragile and air temperature must be just right in the brooder. They will die from chilling or overheating. Their brooder must be kept clean and dry.

    Feed must be much higher protein for the poults than for chicks. Feed made for poults contains niacin and if you are feeding something made for chickens, you must add a niacin supplement.

    Turkeys are a lot nicer than chickens and the poults won't try to peck each other to death, or eat each other, or gang up and try to kill the smallest.
  5. topher166

    topher166 In the Brooder

    turkeys and chickens can be kept together, in the same coop if you have the room. GAME birds cant be kept near them such as pheasent and quail.
  6. chicks and hens2

    chicks and hens2 Chirping

    Sep 28, 2011
    Unless you live in area that has blackhead disease, in which case chickens and Turkey's shouldn't be housed together. If no Blackhead in your area, which you can find out at your local extension,Then they will be fine together
  7. Celie

    Celie Songster

    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    I agree, unless Blackhead is a problem, chickens and turkeys do very well together. The amount of room you will need will depend on the size of the breed you choose. In the average size breeds, Toms(or Gobblers) mature around 35 pounds, Hens (or Turkeys) around 25#.
    10 sq. ft. is a good rule of thumb, per bird inside the coop and as much run space as you can afford to give them. While they are very young, turkey poults are quite fragile and it is the drafty chill that will kill them, more so than the temperture. I start them off at around 95 degrees, right out of the 100 degree incubator and lower the temp. about 5 degrees every week or so as they feather out. Here in the Southern US, this time of year, this usually takes 3 to 4 weeks, but where you are in Canada, it will probably be more like 8 weeks. Just watch their actions. If they huddle together, they are cold and need more head. If they stay as far away from the heat source they can get, they are too hot. They should be dispersed throughout the brooder, chirping and pecking, eating and drinking. Feed them a 28% protein Turkey or Game Bird crumble in a shiny aluminum dish or aluminum foil covered dish, because they will be attracted to the shine of the "Bling Bling" and learn what food is easier. The same with their water, a few bright shinny marbles in the bottom of a shallow water dish will attract them to the water and not be deep enough to drown. A baby chick is often put into the brooder as a tutor for the poults, so they are often reminded where the food and water is. Try not to change the location of their food or water while they are in the brooder, as it might confuse them. Turkeys are not dumb, they are quite smart and inquisitive, but they are more dependent on their Mamas than chicks are, while young, to show them the ropes. When you put them outside, block any cold wet or chilling wind, until they acclimate to the outside temp. variations and put them out on a nice day after it starts to warm on a day when the night temps will be mild.
    As adults, turkeys are tough as nails, but they do take extra attention when young.
    Also, until fully grown, turkeys fly very high and very often. It is not easy to keep them off roof tops and cars or out of trees, so I suggest people keep turkeys where they will not bother the neighbors. They are quite noisy, too and will signal whenever someone or something approaches.
    I hope this answers some of your questions and if you have any more, just ask away. Have fun with your turkeys, they are quite personable as well as delicious! Please let us know how it turns out for you and what breed you get?

  8. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana

    x2 :thumbsup
  9. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana

  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    No offense, but I seriously doubt that my local extension would have any idea about blackhead in my area. [​IMG] The avian pathologist at UC Davis that I spoke with says that they don't see that many blackhead cases, yet I have had many... Four dead and many that I treated successfully.

    Last edited: May 28, 2013

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