I have some questions about turkeys. ((For my family and our want of turkeys))

HorseLady1

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 7, 2014
50
2
41
Ok so my family is thinking of having some turkeys. So I am in charge of them and other things. I have some questions please answer. Thanks!

1. How much square footage does 1 turkey need?
2. How much food a day (cups/ounces would be preferred) does 1 turkey need?
3. How old are they when the females lay?
4. Can they be broody?
5. Do they (in general) do okay with other animals around them and people with them?
6. How long does one egg stay fertile for after being layed?
7. How do they do in places like Arizona (with all the heat and monsoon season)?
8. How long do they need to be incubated for?
9. When is the best age to eat them?
10. Do they do okay with other breeds of turkey?
Thank you! If you can't answer all of them, that is alright. I just wanted to know some things to get me started.
 

cracked egg

Chirping
7 Years
Feb 29, 2012
229
20
91
Blackfoot, Idaho
I can't answer all the questions. We have heritage breeds mostly sweetgrass and free range them. They are ready for butcher for us for Christmas because of the slower growth rate. The hens are very broody after laying 8 -12 eggs and around here they start laying in late march to mid April. Our birds get along fine with chickens,peafowl and guineas and have never had a mean Tom. The hens will not lay other than the spring,so you will not get eggs year round. As for feed, we supplement grain and they graze on grasses and herbs. Our hens also raise all the poults for us.
for the commercial varieties I cannot help as I have never had any.
 

XOurSimpleLifeX

In the Brooder
6 Years
Jul 25, 2013
38
5
31
Illinois
I will do my best here:
1) Not sure on the exact square footage/bird. I have two (hen & tom) adult heritage breed in a 6x10 chain link dog kennel. They have plenty of room. I'm sure I could comfortably hold another 1-2 hens in there with my tom.

2) Food is completely dependent on how you are raising them. If you free range you will need less feed. I don't free range (we have a coyote problem) but I give them lots of grass and weeds to scratch through. I also split the meat bird feed with some scratch grains, just to give them something different to pick at. I fill up a coffee can (I know technical right?) every other day or so. They eat a lot more while they are growing. There were times I was filling the can twice a day.

3) Heritage breed usually start to lay the following spring from when they hatched. For instance: mine were hatched last summer, she started to lay this March. It's dependent on the weather. You living in a warmer climate yours may lay earlier!

4) Yes. Maybe not her first clutch but she can be. Heritage will set their own eggs (or you can take them from her).

5) My two are crazy friendly. They were hand raised. If you hand raise them it's a lot easier to get them to work with you rather than them being startled all the time. Our hen will all but sit in your lap if you get in the coop with her. The tom is only concerned with 'showing off' to everyone and thing that passes by. Not a mean bone in either body.

6) That is a debatable subject. Some people say 3-5 days. I look at it from a hens point of view. After she lays 3 eggs she doesn't plant herself in her nest. She waits until she has what she thinks is a good amount of eggs, then sets them. The closer to the day they were laid the better your chances of a hatch. But I have heard of people hatching eggs that were a month old! You never know.

7) Heat is more of a problem than cold for turkeys, however if you have good air flow and shade for them, they will do fine. Oh, and LOTS of cool water. Turkeys are not fans of getting wet. Keep the coop dry and you'll do fine.

8) 28 days. Turn them 3-5 times a day until day 24, then they go on 'lock down' for the last 4. Keep the humidity up during the last 4. There are really good websites on hatching turkeys. http://www.porterturkeys.com/egghatchingtips.htm

9)Heritage breeds are slower to mature (hence the better taste!). Some folks say 9 months and others say 18 months. If you are raising for meat and not breeders I would go with 9 months. Mine are 9 months now and they look delicious!

10) I'm sure they would do fine with other breeds of turkey. Just remember, they will interbreed so you might get some interesting poults!

You will be happy you did it. Turkeys are a blast. You will read lots of things saying they are stupid creatures but I just did not find that to be the case. Best of luck!
 

HorseLady1

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 7, 2014
50
2
41
Thank you (both of you!)! They were both extremely helpful and my family and I really appreciate your help!
 

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