How much space for 15-20 turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Wild Vitality, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Wild Vitality

    Wild Vitality New Egg

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    I'm offering turkeys as a CSA share next year! It was an idea yesterday, but talking to people a the market today has turned it into a reality. I'm so excited!

    I need to crunch my numbers, and I have no idea how much shelter space turkeys need. I have pasture I can rotate them through, but obviously they need a coop of some sort. How big of a shelter do I need to build for 15-20 turkeys?

    Do I need 2 separate/isolated sets of pasture for meat chickens and turkeys?

    I'm really glad I have several months to get these detail worked out. I have backyard chickens currently, but this is an entirely new learning curve endeavor.

    Advice?
     
  2. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Space of coop depends partly on size of turkey. What breed will you be getting? A general rule of thumb, I think would be 9 to10 sq ft of shelter for large Heritage, (less if midget heritage) and 12 to 16 sq ft for BB variety, for the outside run or pasture, the more the better. Others like Frank know a lot more than me about turkeys. I love Turkeys [​IMG]
     
  3. frank53061

    frank53061 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Celie Thanks for the complement but I think you know as much or more than I do.
    I Have no personal experience with BB Turkeys and would not know were to start.
    But it makes sense that you would need more room for the BB than others due to there fast and big growth.
    Different breeds I would guess would have different requirements to some existent.

    I cant say I will never try a BB but for now I am happy with my Bourbon Reds I would like to try some Narragansets.
     
  4. Wild Vitality

    Wild Vitality New Egg

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    I was planning on letting my CSA people pick their breed of turkey. I figure I'll get a nice assortment that way, and the next year I'll know which breed I like best. They can visit their turkey if they come out for a farm tour.
     
  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Celie--does the 10 sq ft per lg turkey include run space or is that only coop space??
     
  6. poultrypalacewhidbey

    poultrypalacewhidbey Out Of The Brooder

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    10 sq feet per bird I assume would be coop space. I raise royal palms and I would say you could keep 1 bird housed in a 10 sq foot space but it will need to have the bedding changed frequently and it is pretty minimal for a breeder bird. Since the plan here is for raising up young birds (for thanksgiving i am assuming since it is a csa) you could get away with 10 sq feet per bird since they will only be full size for a very short time while in the pens. As for having chickens and turkeys in the same pen I would say this depends on where you live. I have raised turkey and chickens in the same pen on numerous occasions without problems. However I am careful about biosecurity and have never had blackhead in my flock. If you live in an area where blackhead is common I would not raise chickens and turkeys together, particularly if you are going to be letting others onto your property and have them interacting with your birds.
    Also this is just my 2 cents but I would not let people choose the breed they want. the problem with this is that it is likely that you are going to have some birds die (5% losses in a given season are considered normal particularly if you are just starting out and dont have much experience raising turkeys) and if you only have one breed you can order a few extras and it wont be a problem if a individual bird dies. If you are ordering one or two of each of five different breeds you may run into the problem where all of one breed dies and you cant sell the person the bird they ordered. If you think they wont mind if they get a different bird (not that they will know as they are getting a dead featherless bird so I doubt they will be able to tell) then you are probably fine, but I could see some folks complaining or wanting a discount because they didn't get the same thing they ordered. Just something to think about. Also do be careful as to your pricing. I dont know if you have raised meat birds before but unless you have a lot of forage you will be going through a lot of feed and it is easy to underestimate food costs and end up losing money.
    good luck with this and if you have any more questions feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer.
     
  7. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I understand they are both some of the best tasting of the heritage birds! If I ever get all the fencing done, and can keep different breeds separate, I would probably try some, too! Just so much to do and I'm not getting any younger, but someday. Been here 4 years, and when we bought the 5 acres, the house was here and nothing else. Put in a lot of fencing, a barn, a shop to repair tractor and trackhoe, garden, compost pile as big as the barn, lots and lots of topsoil, trees, fruit trees, grapes and berries, pond, drainage ditches and culverts, etc. etc. It's getting there, but a lot more to do yet. It just takes longer as we get older.[​IMG]
     
  8. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Coop space
     
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks.

    As for taste I bet what they eat effects the flavor. I was a bit disappointed when my BBW tasted like grocery store birds. Cheaper to buy that flavor in the meat section.
     
  10. poultrypalacewhidbey

    poultrypalacewhidbey Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Arielle,
    I have found the heritage type turkeys to have better flavor. I raised production type bronzes for several years before switching to royal palms and have found the royal palm meat to have better flavor and be much more versatile to cook with. My family has used it to replace pork in many of our recipes that we make and in many cases it actually tastes better than the original recipe.
     

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