How do you CATCH your heritage turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by chickenannie, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2007
    I would really like to know! And I'm not talking about those slow-moving obese BBWs either -- I'm talking about the flying, athletic, strong-winged heritage breeds. Give us your methods ... I'm tired of getting bruised and banged up from catching my pastured Bourbon Reds! I try to keep it low-stress for them, but gosh it's a tough job. I found zilch on Google.

    Here's how we did it this year. Went out after dark, herded the group off the roost (well would've like to have caught them on the roost, but the moon was full and they saw us approaching and panicked and jumped off themselves), and into a smaller round pen (10 foot in diameter, with a roof). The best 'trick' we figured out this year was that if we wore a headlamp (like the kind for camping or biking), the birds were sort of mesmerized by the light and couldn't see us behind the light, and it was easier to get close to them. But, it was still darn hard to catch all of them!! We put each bird into it's own coop (turned sideways) so they have lots of space. Then off to the butcher tommorrow.

    Others? How do you do it? Do you have an easier method? Please!
  2. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    I use a large fishing net.
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2007
    Quote:Can you give more details? For example, I imagine my bird thrashing around and getting completely tangled in a net. Is that what happens? do you lift them off the ground in it? Or just put it over top? How do you keep them from running away from you before you get close enough to use the net?

    Also, are they in the pasture? Or in a building?

    RAREROO Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 22, 2009
    Alapaha, Ga
    Catching them at night can be dangerous when they cant see you and dont know whats going on, they are not like chickens and they FREAK out when you touch them and can clobber the heck out of you before either one of you knows what happens, and thats from experience. Mine are fairly tame and doesnt take much effort to catch them during the day. But if you had some kind of small pen or cage that you could put feed in and let them go in it and catch them that way it should be easier, try to grab the feet first to have a safe hold on the bird, but the wings are what can knock you out so you have to be quick to restrain the wings on a panicing bird too sometimes its easier to just lay on them til you can get them to calm down and get them safely restrained.
  5. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I am waiting for the answeres here: [​IMG]

    My experience: DH climbed up on a tall ladder and snuck up on the roosting birds on top of the coop, but caught ONE. He then threw a stick up there and if he got lucky one would fly down into the pen and we could double up on it in the dark, caught only 5 this way. One escaped en route the next morning while being loaded into the mighty mini van. Out of 15, got 4 to market.

  6. geepy

    geepy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    central FL
    I herded mine up just before roosting, then I put then in a smaller pen (6x10) In the morning I caught them and put them in a big dog crate till butchering. I used a net to catch them. I grabbed them by the wings (or hugged them) to stop the flapping around.
  7. suzettex5

    suzettex5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2009
    The same way you catch a unique rabbit.

    Unique up on it! Aww, go ahead and groan! I know its an oldy moldy, but I come from corny stock!
  8. arabianequine

    arabianequine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 4, 2010
    Mine are not free range they are in a enclosed coop and run. We just corner them neck and feet and upside down asap.
  9. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    It's a tough job.

  10. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2008
    By waiting for them to puff up around you, then grabbing them while they're distracted by their manliness.

    Or the safer way: a fishing net. Go to Wal-Mart or a bait shop and buy a good solid net. If they have a blue net with large holes that is made out of thin thread DO NOT get it. Yeah, it's cheaper, but the birds poke their heads out, then get all tangled up. You spend more time pulling the bird out of the net than you do catching it. If you see a black net with moderate sized holes that a head couldn't get through, get that one instead. Yeah, it's $5 more. But it's well worth it. That blue one fell apart on me fast and drove me crazy.

    Catching with a net is easy, even with turkeys. The trick isn't to catch the whole body, but just the front end. Swoop the net down so you have their head and shoulders trapped, then press down so they can't back out. At that point you can grab the neck, wings, or back and hold them firmly before grabbing.

    Our turkeys are easy to catch. We just make a habit of standing around for a minute or two after feeding everyone. We may walk around, but will ultimately ignore them. When they are fine with you being around them then being around them with a net isn't a big deal.

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