How difficult are turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by PirateShipp, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. PirateShipp

    PirateShipp Out Of The Brooder

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    So I'm new to keeping birds. We've had our flock of 5 chickens for about 9 months. My family has offered to give me some turkeys. Two toms and two hens. Not quite sure of the breed. Was just wondering how difficult they are. I know they are quite a deal bigger than the chickens. We let our chickens free range. I'd like to do the same with the turkeys. I put the chickens in a coop for a few days before letting them free range so they would know that's "home". This is what I was told to do with them, figured its the same for the turkeys. Question is, do I just build a huge coop for them? Hah! Bigger boxes but lower to the ground/on the ground? I saw a plan for a lean-to style roost. Will they even use the coop with something like that? I know we have coyotes in the area and always close up our chickens at night, just not sure if turkeys will do the same. Here is one of them below.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    wow...he is beautiful.

    i'm subscribing...i want to know the breed!

    sorry i can't help, i will be getting turkey's this spring, but will let someone who actually has turkeys answer you. :D
     
  3. PirateShipp

    PirateShipp Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I agree :] My uncle is trying to downsize. I'd love to take them but I have no idea how to prepare and I don't want them to wander off the first day they're here! Haha!
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
    Looks like some Bourbon Red "diluted" Royals (but I'm no "colorist"). You'll need to keep them penned up for longer than a week (I'd suggest a month and then only "range" them toward dark and use a couple of long bamboo poles, etc., held out at arm's length to your sides, to slowly herd them back in). Keep a close eye on interactions with the other fowl as well.

    Here's a thread with some info.: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/940765/prefab-shed-coop

    They are usually pretty easy going. However, they really need to have their "location" "reprogrammed" and this can take some time (some members bring home adults and they simply wander off).
     
  5. PirateShipp

    PirateShipp Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh man. Longer than a week? I was hoping to just build something big enough for them to roost in and let them wander. I don't want to keep them in a small(ish) coop for a month. Guess its back to the drawing board for a coop! Our chickens have a caged run only for if we go out of town and such. Other than that they are out all day. Guess we'll have to do the same for the big guys. Hoping he will keep them a bit longer so we can get a good home in place for them. Thanks for the info!
     
  6. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    A lean-to will do, if you can put up some fencing for a run (6 ft. minimal). But, yes, unless you or yours are keeping an eye on them while they range with the chooks, I'd give them a month on lock-down. These guys are extremely curious about the world. Found our first set of turks (still just jakes & jennies) disappearing, slowly, into the woods, single file. The lead jennie was following a Box Turtle off to who knows where...
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  7. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turkeys prefer to be on a roost in the open. You can build a run, with netting on the top, and just put some roosts in for them. If you are worried about the weather, you can cover one end of the run with plastic or tarp and put the roosts there so that your new birds will at least roost under some cover when it rains or snows or whatever..and it will help cut down some of the wind exposure. Be sure the roosts are centered and not against the fencing.

    Yes, they need to adjust to know that this new place is their home. I would suggest that each night, while they are locked up, you go into their pen and shake some scratch in a plastic container. Give them the treat. When you do finally let them free range, merely shaking that can of scratch will have them running home and you can lock them back into their pen for the night. Works for us. Takes about 2 weeks for them to get acclimated.
     
  8. PirateShipp

    PirateShipp Out Of The Brooder

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    These are great ideas! Thank you! So if I have a chain link run with roost inside to keep them in for a bit that should do? I like the idea of the tarp/plastic but could I do walls/tarp on three sides? I'd hate to build it and them hate it. It can get pretty windy as our property is flat straight off a mountain. The wind can get pretty crazy at times.
    I like the treat idea. I hope it works. We do have a 2acre wooded area I think they will love :]
     
  9. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A chain link large dog kennel is just fine..you will need to go around the bottom with some additional wire, the smaller the holes the better. We had a weasel get into our turkey pen our first year thru some 2" chicken wire. NOTHING has 2" wire now. Cover one end...however you'd like..the idea is to give them a place they can roost where they are not in the rain, snow and wind - although turkeys like that kind of thing, it really plays havoc on their pretty feathers. We built our first turkeys a nice tall 3-sided coop and they would not use it once they got bigger - preferring to sleep on a roost in the run. So we cut the tall coop in half and put a roof on each half and they love to get on top to sleep and hang out (and pooooooo) LOL
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. cracked egg

    cracked egg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That turkey is a Calico Turkey. I bought Sweetgrass and ended up with the Calico's. What I have researched claims they do not breed true, however all of mine do breed true. I locked my original birds for 2 weeks and they all flew away. I thought they were gone
    but they returned that evening and have never left. My original birds roost in the barn with the chickens but the ones the hens have raised roost high up in the trees in all weather. My birds are all free range and wander at times long distance. The hens nest everywhere but were they are supposed to and usually bring back 3 or 4 poults in late summer. The toms stay here all year where the food is easy to come by.
     

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