I need some turkey help please

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by FLITZ, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. FLITZ

    FLITZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm new to raising turkeys. I want to get turkeys that will be big and tasty on my dinner table. BUT. I would also like to get something that will breed by themselves or I could incubate after getting an incubater. My plan is to have a few. Maybe a tom and one or two hens that I could use for breeding. Then also have a couple that I could raise to eat. What breed would give me the best of both worlds. Good table bird. BIG and looks yummy on the table. BUT will breed so I can raise them without having to buy turkeys every year. I don't want to order 15 birds. Its just too expensive and too many.
    PLEASE HELP me
    thanks
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  2. Mort Bondurant

    Mort Bondurant Out Of The Brooder

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    You really want a BIG turkey that will mate naturally. Sorry, but the big ones are the broad-breasted that are just too ****** fat to do that. However, if you let a heritage breed tom grow for about a year, it will look great on your table. If it's not enough meat for your clan, put two on the table, one on each end. Your family will think you are amazing (or be reminded thereof).

    As to taste, any turkey broad-breasted or heritage will taste great if allowed to free range. The more bugs and the more green grass and the more seeds they can forage the tastier.

    So, I would recommend a heritage breed and let them free range all around your house and yard. You will get all of the incubatable eggs you need to payback your initial investment.

    I have Royal Palms, Narragansetts, and Bourbon Reds and would heartily recommend any of those to you.

    Good luck!

    Mortimer
     
  3. FLITZ

    FLITZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the help. As for a heritage breed. What breeds are the larger heritage turkeys that will still be good for eggs for incubating or will hatch eggs on there own. Thanks so much for the help. I want to be certian that I get the breed thats best for me. I'm trying not to jump into anything blindly
     
  4. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: I am not sure of the comman name for the breed you want, but in latin its gallopava unobtainablis. Unfortunatly it is very rare and despite extensive searching and several dead end leads I have not been able to locate any yet.

    Seriously though, The breeds that give classic table appearance and weight, 20 plus lbs dressed tend to be the breeds that don't produce well naturally. Also as cost appears a importaint factor for you, the naturally reproducing herritage breeds will most likely end up costing far more than just buying broad breasted hatchery chicks each year. It takes quite a bit of feed to maintain breeding turkeys through the winter, then there are two big factors on top of that. Herritage breeds will take closer to 6-9 months to reach any size (toms ~20lb and hens ~12lb) and maybe as much as 1 year if you really want them filled out. Over that time they will consume 2-3 times the feed compared to broad breasted turkeys that will bulk up to 20-30 lb in only 3-4 months.

    Don't get me wrong, herritage turkey breeds are great, but they are not for you if what you want is a large, low cost turkey. I carried a breeding flock of Narragansetts through winter and the only way it will be anywhere near cost effective is if I can sell a bunch of chicks this spring for 10-15$ each.
     
  5. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    The cost to keep heritage turkeys really depends on your set up. We free range our Narragansetts and they cost next to nothing to keep, because they find most of their own food. In the winter we feed hay and a small amount of supplemental grain. They cost more than a chicken at that point, but that's merely a function of their size.

    If you want a heritage breed for meat you'll want to go with Narrs or Bronzes, most likely. Beltsville Whites would be another choice, but a bit smaller if memory serves. Midgets, as well, are known for their meat quality, but are smaller. You do not want Palms, they have a Y-shaped breast and don't dress out as well.

    I do agree with Clay Valley, though, if your main motivation is cost and size you're better off to buy poults yearly. You can get BBW and BBB at many feed stores in the spring so you wouldn't necessarily have to buy 15 each year.
     
  6. FLITZ

    FLITZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cost is an issue, but I do know that I wont be saving money really. I wanted to raise and breed some for fun/meat really. Our local feed stores sell chicks but no turkeys.
     
  7. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Grass hay or alfalfa? I hadn't thought of doing that. What grains do you feed?
     
  8. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Grass/Alfalfa mix. Our grain is a custom ground mix from the local mill. I buy in bulk so they mix to my specification. Any turkey feed would be fine for your supplement.
     
  9. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Olive Hill! I'm working towards getting my birds off commercially prepared crumbles. I've been feeding a grain mix of wheat, oats, millet, sunflower seed and corn. They also free range, and I give them some meat and greens. A couple of times a week they also get a mash with wheat bran, brewer's yeast, garlic, turmeric, yogurt, olive oil, and oregano oil. I put ACV and a "poultry booster" vitamin supplement in the water, and dress their food with cayenne, kelp and DE. They're still getting crumbles, till I work out whether the rest of the diet has everything they need.

    I remember reading that turkeys need a slightly different combination of amino acids as chickens, so any comments you have about choice grains would be awesome and most appreciated!

    My chickens and turkeys don't seem to eat the donkey's grass hay. I'm going to find a bale of alfalfa and see if that interests them. I know the donks won't let it go to waste. [​IMG]

    Oh, the turkeys I have were the end of season, discount "assorted rare heritage breed" mix from ... I think Ideal. I hope I will never feel the need to mail order poults again, the travel is too hard on them and the number of deaths is tragic and shocking (even though such large companies will reimburse you). I have blue slate and what appears to be possibly some Mottled Black Spanish and/or some Bronze. I like how wild they are compared to my chickens. They often sleep out of doors, and hop the fence regularly. I catch them out in the wee hours of the morning foraging with a lone wild turkey hen - but they come running back for breakfast. Luckily they like the nesting area in the coop (that they share with the chickens) and have started laying eggs there. From what I can tell so far (my first year), if you can create a large enough range for them, they will forage quite well and only grow all the more fatly with our abundant feeding. [​IMG]
     
  10. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Nutrition is complex. Turkeys' amino acid requirements do differ from chickens -- probably most notable is that they require higher (as a percentage) lysine and methionine. If you want to formulate your own feed I would recommend reading the Nutrient Requirements of Poultry. You can order the book or read online for free. Just google the title.

    IME, they won't eat the hay unless you let them get hungry for it.

    I wouldn't go around telling people your turkeys are hanging out with the local wilds. Compromising the wild turkey genetic pool is a serious problem and not one most DNRs take lightly. In fact, I'd take it a step further and encourage you to prevent that from happening, not just refrain from talking about it in public. [​IMG]
     

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