Is raising turkeys much different than raising chickens?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by cupman, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, OR
    I have been wanting to expand my poultry experience and get into quail, turkeys, exotic chicken breeds and more. I have been looking at all those and been trying to decide where I should start. I wanted to get midget white turkeys and raise maybe 6-10 of them. I just had a few questions about raising turkeys vs raising chickens:

    1) Can you free range turkeys or do you pretty much need to build them a run?

    2) How is their housing in comparison to a chicken coop, do you build nest boxes? how much space per bird? Anything different that's noteworthy about their home in comparison to a chicken?

    3) Probably a dumb question, but will raccoons take down a turkey and eat it? I'm assuming so.

    4) How long until they are full grown?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Well, this is just my 2 cents worth.

    1) Can you free range turkeys or do you pretty much need to build them a run? Turkeys can free range or you can build them a run. Either way works. If your area allows you to free range them, meaning no predators, then that would work great. I have free ranged my turkeys for MANY years and I have not lost 1 single turkey yet. However, they are locked up at night to ensure that predators do not get them.

    2) How is their housing in comparison to a chicken coop, do you build nest boxes? how much space per bird? Anything different that's noteworthy about their home in comparison to a chicken? My turkeys roost with the chickens. I don't have any special housing for them. Not sure how much space per bird. Turkeys love to roost HIGH HIGH HIGH.

    3) Probably a dumb question, but will raccoons take down a turkey and eat it? I'm assuming so. I think that any predator can take down a turkey or any other poultry.

    4) How long until they are full grown? Mine are a very nice size at 9 months old and older but I would imagine that they aren't FULL grown until they are older than a year.

    Hopefully, the turkeys experts will come along with more information.
     
  3. turkeychickinny

    turkeychickinny New Egg

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    I'm a "NEw Egg", too. So thanks for the advice. You didn't answer about the nesting boxes though. THe woman I bought mine from told me they just need a place to nest that's elevated, ie: straw up on a pallet. Is this true, or should there be nesting boxes built into the coop? I have 12 Narragansetts...Not sure yet how many hens vs toms. I already know I will probably have to separate them out if there's more than one tom.
     
  4. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Quote:Oh sorry about not addressing the nesting boxes. Well, as far as the nesting boxes, believe it or not, my turkeys lay eggs in the chicken's nesting boxes and they fit in very snug. I have had turkeys that have hatched poults in the chicken's nesting boxes but at the same time, I have had turkeys that have stepped on and crushed turkey eggs in the chicken's nesting boxes. I think because it wasn't enough room for them to get up and move around. I think as far as where you put them is a personal preference. I have 3 turkey hens right now that decided to lay eggs and brood on the chicken house floor. SEE PIC BELOW: Moving my turkey hen is like battling a tiger and her babies. I just won't do it. I fear for my life. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    A turkey will lay an egg and build up her nest and brood anywhere she pleases, (in my opinion). It is always nice to have something for them but they will go where they feel most comfortable and most safe. You can build the nesting boxes in the coop, so when they become broody they will be INSIDE your coop and safe and secure.

    I hope this information helps.
     
  5. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    If they freerange then a nesting box is worthless! They will find the deepest, darkest brush pile to lay in. If they are penned, mine are good at using the dog houses they have in their pen.
     
  6. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:How true! I put two beatiful nest boxes lined with straw out in my fenced range and teh turkey laid eggs on the ground under a spruce tree. [​IMG]
     
  7. slc

    slc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Beltsville White hen is hatching a clutch behind a piece of plywood leaning against a wall in the poultry house. I have nest boxes but she wouldn't use them so I tried the plywood thing and sure enough she built a nest and started brooding.

    I keep my poultry integrated. They all do just fine. I always stick a few chicken eggs in with the turkey eggs so the turkeys bond with the chickens from the start. My turkeys learn to follow the chickens in to roost at dusk so I don't have to keep them penned. They free range on the property all day and rarely will I find one not roosting in with the chickens by nightfall.
     
  8. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    good info
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  9. Zaxby's2

    Zaxby's2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    a place
    Sorry if I'm intruding, but I've got similar questions.
    1) Are turkeys friendly? Can you handle them like chickens to get them used to you?
    2) Are toms aggressive towards eachother? Is it basically the same with roosters?
    3) Are turkeys better at defending themselves than chickens against predators?
    4) Do they have a laying season, or do they always lay like chickens?
    5) Can you keep turkeys with chickens?
    6) I keep on hearing about migdet whites, are they like bantams but for turkeys? Are there minature turkeys?
    7) Oh, and how good are they at flying? Can they fly after you've clipped their wings?
    Sorry for all the questions, I've never had turkeys and am interested in getting some. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  10. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Kuntrygirl -- I've been reading your posts for over a year now, about turks and other birds. You may not be a professional, but you always have great advice. [​IMG] Don't sell yourself short, and thanks for always helping everyone out.
     

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