Ideal self-sufficient Turkey?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by PurpleEast, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. PurpleEast

    PurpleEast Out Of The Brooder

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    Yep! I've made up my mind. I'm definitely adding some turkeys to the flock next spring. However, I want them to be free-ranging, and there's a few things I'm concerned with.

    They'll be brooded in a coop until fully feathered, and I'll gradually let them out to explore. We've got 20 acres, but rural areas aren't without their predators of course. The property is partially wooded / pasture, with lots of beech trees.

    I'm looking for a turkey breed(s) that can hold their own when foraging, flocking, and roosting. I'll always have food and shelter if they want it - don't want them wandering too far.

    I'm interested in Narragansetts, but does bright feathering affect their free-range survival?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  2. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know nothing about Nauggies, but I do free range Holland White turkeys in the country on 5 acres. I thought I enjoyed my chickens and ducks, but I love heritage turkeys !! I think if you can raise white turkeys, a more camouflaged turkey would have a better chance with predators. I do have a few suggestions, you can take or leave, of course. I would suggest you give them an enclosed roosting area they can go into at night to protect them at night, and close the up in it for a few days so that they get used to putting themselves away at night and then you just have to close and secure the door. Also do not put them on the ground until they are 6 weeks old and start to roost, keeping them out of any dampness or cold for the first 6 to 8 weeks, as they are susetable to a chill !
     
  3. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I mean susceptible to a chill ! I should have spell checked; my fingers got tongue tied. This site doesn't let me type fast enough somtimes, and I do not type all that fast anyway![​IMG] Sorry about that !
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    It doesn't matter what sort of turkey, they are all easily killed by predators. So, if you leave them unprotected, there is a very good chance you will lose them.

    All turkeys are trusting and all are good foragers. Bourbon Reds and Midget Whites always win the taste tests, so it you want meat consider that. Although, I've got Midget Whites and they are tiny. I don't think they are suitable for free ranging. Mine are smaller than Cornish Cross chickens and that white is very visible.

    All of the heritage turkeys can fly quite well and will get up into the trees.
     
  5. PurpleEast

    PurpleEast Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2012
    Fennville, Michigan
    Ah, I figured as much. Well, the turkeys would have the option of roosting in a coop or barn, or even the trees around the house. Do raccoons harass them? We haven't had an issue within coyotes yet, but I hear them often at night. During the day we've got a pair of red-tails that like to keep the chickens in check. Do you think 10 week old turkeys are too big for a hawk?

    Yeah, unfortunately it's always a possibility that there will be losses, I just want to best prepare for that while allowing them to naturally forage/live if they so choose.
     
  6. mamawolf544

    mamawolf544 Unbreakable Heart

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    Mine all free range, I have 12.5 acres and presently 5 breeds of heritage turkeys. But they get penned during laying season because they will go to the worst possible location to make their nest and get killed.
     
  7. n8mont4

    n8mont4 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have spanish black. They forage great and have decent camoflauge. It seems as though they are always on high alert when outside, so they should be fine. They are smart birds.
     
  8. PurpleEast

    PurpleEast Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2012
    Fennville, Michigan
    I didn't even consider Black Spanish. I'll have to read up on them. I trust the instincts of most turkeys (heck, during wild turkey season, you see exactly why they're so elusive). I'm just wondering if it's always inherent. Like the batch of chickens I got this year run/chase at my dog and scoff at my cats. They don't seem to be scared of most things, aside from hawks, lol. They're more apt to approach danger than run. I'd rather my turkeys were a bit more savvy.

    @ mamawolf554: And I also forgot about the springtime, derp! No doubt they'd wander off and make a nest - and boy we've got lots of thick briers and undergrowth. It'd be a nightmare trying to find a hen and her nest. Not to mention how susceptible they'd be to predators then!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  9. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my Turkey hens love to nest under the brambles of an old wild blackberry bush, thorns and all. She refuses to use any nest indoors. [​IMG]
     
  10. PurpleEast

    PurpleEast Out Of The Brooder

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    Fennville, Michigan
    Haha, it would figure - gotta pick the prickly spots and ignore the indoor nests. On one hand, she chose a nest with natural defense, though, lol.

    Do domestic hens nest any warm days of the year? I wouldn't have one going off in November to brood, would I?
     

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