How do you integrate 25 turkey poults?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by chickenannie, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 25 Red Bourbon poults divided into 5 groups (They are each in a separate pen with their mother). They range from 8 to 12 weeks old. However, they are outgrowing their pens and so I've made 2 new large temporary pens and one more pen is in the works. (I am planning to sell them for Thanksgiving.) The problem is that everytime I try to introduce one group to another, they just attack each other.

    Last time I had 9 lovely poults and put 2 more in with them, the 2 new ones went after the 9 slightly smaller ones, pecking each of them hard in the back of the head. It looked like it would escalate and possibly result in injury or death, so I took the 2 back out again. I also tried to free-range them together thinking all that open space would reduce the fighting, but they still pecked and fought hard with the smaller ones. I recently found one of my 12-week-old females dead and I believe her two siblings (toms) killed her. There is no way I'm going to be able to build enough pens to keep them all separated.

    Also, I think that the Red Bourbons (and any heritage breed) is different in this instance than the Broad Breasted Whites. I've seen the BBW raised in huge groups with no problems -- they just seem to get lazy whereas mine are very active and protective.

    Those of you who raise turkeys, please, tell me how you do it!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  2. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turkeys have the pecking order thing going on. Turkeys fight until it is settled on who is the boss. The fights between similar sized birds are not fatal though they can get bloody. You have to watch out for the adult birds attacking the young. If you want to integrate the birds be prepared for fighting for a couple of days until everyone in the flock learns their place.
     
  3. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi chickenannie, Not sure how your putting them together, but its best if they all go into a pen that nobody has been in. You want everybody going into a pen that is neutral territory sort of speaking.. .

    Also they should all be moved at night together. They will still fight for the most part, just got to make sure it doesn't become bloody, the more room the better..

    I know how you feel, as introductions here with my wild turkeys arent always easy and i know its tough with other poultry as well..

    Heres how we dont it..
    we always raise a few poults a year and grow them out, but my flight pens are separated only by wire so the birds still see each other while growing out this includes some of my 4 year old turkeys that get to see the young poults grow right next to them...

    I think this helps once i open up all the flight pens into one another for the winter. However there is always some fighting that takes place, i keep a close eye on things for a few days and for the most part it always seems to work its self out..However the older toms will always try to keep the young Jake's away from the hens. The young Jake's learn quick to stay to the opposite side of the flight pens of the mature toms..

    By the way they should make some good eating turkeys..

    Hope it all works out for ya

    Charlie
     
  4. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Charlie,
    Thanks for the tips. It's so scary to put your fall cash crop in a pen together and watch them try to kill each other. I've had one die and I think the 2 toms killed her one morning.

    My groups are each about 2 weeks apart in age, which means there is a size difference. And I have 2 pairs of toms that have grown up (each with 2 per pen) who get along great with each other but gang up on any newbies.

    I don't think I realized what I was getting into! These are LARGE birds! When I had 6 adults, that was a good number. Having 30 adults is a whole nuther story. They eat sooooo much. What do you feed yours? And what kind of feeder do you use? Mine either step in their feeders, hang their filthy toes over the edge, or kick it all over the place.

    How much space do you allot per adult turkey? My pens are 15' diameter and each hold 5 - 9 poults.
     
  5. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You'll have a lot less food wasted if you use hanging feeders.
     
  6. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have had some problem with hanging feeders here but in hind sight it was most likely I did not have them adjusted correctly. We switch to some trough feeders I made from wood and our waste went to almost none.

    Tom
     
  7. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi chickenannie, yes turkeys are very funny when putting age groups together..its gonna be tough, you could clip there beaks as well..
    My flight pens are 25'x 50' x 8'(1250 sq-ft per pen), i have 3 of these hooked to each other. well 4, but one of them i have some pheasants in right now..

    The PGC only requires a 100 sq~ft (10'x10') run for up-to 5 wild turkeys and 25 sq-ft per bird after the first 5, which to me is way to small for turkey to live a life time in, But well that is just my thoughts on the space requirments they have,
    when the PGC comes here to inspect me, they tell me i got the best flight pens in north eastern Pa for turkeys..They said most others go with the smaller sizes..My thought are the bigger the better for pen wise..all pens must have at least a 4ft roost in them, i use 5ft roosts.

    Right now i have up to 12 turkeys per pen, but I've had at one time or another at least 20 turkeys in one space during the grow out stage....I also have a brooder for turkeys made out of an old camper. I made this brooder so it can be moved right where i want it when raising out game birds. Makes releasing into the flight pens a bit easy-er as i made it with a small door that will attach to the flight pens at certain places and the young birds can come and go between the camper and flight pen till they get adjusted to the flight pen roosts.

    I use hanging feeders set to the height of there shoulders, plus i built my own grills for each feeder to help prevent them from pulling the feed out.

    Our Young turkeys are raised on flock raiser crumble(its med) i don't like turkey stater as it makes them to fat so I've been using the flock raiser for the past 2 years and like the results from it,

    We use game bird layena for the flocks during laying season, with free choice oyster shell.

    During the off season on mature birds they get a maintenance diet, plus i give them scratch grains during the winter as a treat only.

    All the feeds above are used to raise all of our game birds(bobwhite,pheasant and turkeys).

    I hope you can get things figured out, as yes you got 2 hands full there.
    Charlie
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  8. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, there's a new plan in the works! My sweet old dad came over today, and we've added woven wire fencing around a small pasture (60 x 100 feet) so that I can take my turkeys out of the pens and (hopefully) integrate them together in the pasture. Then, if there are any troublemaker turkeys, I'll put those individuals back in the smaller pens until Thanksgiving. I like the idea that they can range in a large pasture on their own (less work for me, more freedom, grasses, and bugs for them). I'll have less pens to feed and water which will be good because it's taking up a LOT of my time, for just being a hobby.

    The thing I don't like is that we're going to have to clip all their wings so they don't fly over the 4 1/2 foot fence. I clipped 2 of their wings today and I felt so sorry for them! But my pasture plan won't work without the wing clipping. I accidentally clipped too close on one bird, and one of his feathers bled a bit. I felt so bad. Can someone make me feel better about all this wing clipping?! [​IMG]

    I'm putting a 4' roost in the middle of the pasture for the turkeys with a ladder to walk up onto it. I have very little predator issues, other than skunks, groundhogs, and very occasional small hawks. But I think the turkeys are too big for hawks at their size. And although I've seen a fox down the road once, I've never seen one here, and I think my free-range chicks would have disappeared by now if that was going to be a problem. Does anyone know what type of foothold turkeys like for roosting?
     
  9. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi turkey folks,
    Just wanted to report back that it is going ok so far -- I clipped all the young'uns wings yesterday (well, the young-uns are 4 months old now and pretty big) and put them in the pasture about an hour before sundown. They fought, but not too bad. Actually one young tom (the biggest) was also the meanest so I took him out. But then he was really upset because his buddy (also a tom) was inside. The thing is.... they both became distracted by their separation and they couldn't gang up to attack the others which was good. Today they are both more calm, so I put Meanie back in the pasture with the others.

    Mainly the family groups are still hanging out in their family groups at different places in the pasture. So they're not really integrated but at least they're not killing each other. Whew. They seem ok tonight. Although one hen looks sickly suddenly -- I may have to separate her out if I have time tommorrow or I'm afraid i'm going to lose her.

    Can I just say that it is a tough job to clip the wings of an adult bird!!! Mine hate being held down and when they flap those wings man they can practically knock you out. Even with 3 people we got scratched up. a LOT tougher and bigger than chickens!
     

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