How "Hard" are turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by waddles99, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just how hard is it to keep turkeys? I currently have 2 dwarf nigerian goats and am really close to getting chickens(probably late October early November), so I have experience in animal care. I am curious just how much care turkeys really are. I would like to get them next spring probably April/May(not to eat). How much daily care would they be?

    Would probably get 4-6 of them, bourbon red and narragansett
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I find them to be about as easy to keep as chickens. Mine live in the coop with the chickens, eat the same food, drink from the same waterer. All the birds have access to free-range over several acres but the turkeys range a little further than the chickens and therefore spend more time foraging, eating bugs and greens. They also do better at family groups than chickens. Youngsters are included in the family group and stay with the adults, without some of the flock order pecking that occurs with chickens. And, if two youngsters get into a quarrel, the closest adults - whether it is the tom, their mother or their auntie, will sort it out. Overall they are a hoot - tons of personality and very friendly and curious. For consistent egg laying I'd have to choose chickens because turkeys are seasonal layers only, but if I had to choose one species or the other to have on my farm and took eggs out of the equation, I'd probably choose the turkeys.
     
  3. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I couldn't agree more. My chickens will be for egg laying purposes since turkeys interest me more. Plus I.could show them in 4h
     
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had chickens for four years and this is only my second with turkeys. One issue I've had with turkeys that I've never had with chickens is that they are strong and able flyers (I've had Bourbon Red and Royal Palm). They like to roost up hign and have to be encouraged and herded inside in the evening or I'll find them on the roof, way up on a fence or in some other location rather than back in their coop. I realize that they feel safer up high at night, but since we have racoons, bobcats, bears, mountain lions etc, I know they are safer locked in at night and sometimes have to go hunting for them. My chickens always end up in the coop at night fall. All I have to do is close the door.
     
  5. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm hoping that the turkeys won't go too far from home. I don't mind them roosting in the trees, but when they go far that's a problem. I don't want to lose them!
     
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Hummingbird Hollow brings up a good point. I also have Bourbon Red and Royal Palm and also Blue Slate and Black Spanish. They are all able flyers and do like to roost as high as they can get. In my case that is sometimes 16' high on my livestock shelter which is adjacent to the coop. I figure they are pretty safe up there so if they want to sleep up there, its fine with me. However in winter they will go back to sleeping in the coop and from then until late spring, in they all file every night and get up on the roosts with the chickens.

    In past years I went around each night and moved any bird who was not on the livestock shelter, into the coop. This summer I haven't bothered as my dogs sleep in the chicken yard to protect them from predators and so far, so good.

    Waddles99, mine do roam some distance from the coop but they home back in on the coop just like the chickens do. Periodically throughout the day, and especially at night, they roam towards the coop and settle in for the night. I've never had one leave, though they are free to do so if they wish, I suppose. They know where the food is and they're not going to pass up the opportunity to top up the bugs and greens they foraged by day, with some nice easy to catch grain at night.
     
  7. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I would be giving them 7500 sq ft or so, which translates roughly to .17 acres. That should be enough so they can roam. I don't mind them roosting in trees as long as they don't go out(my property borders a highway)
     

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