Is your turkey tense? (a bit of frivolousness plus a serious question)

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by justanotheramy, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. justanotheramy

    justanotheramy Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2010
    I've discovered that my pet turkey (Rhonda/Rodney) enjoys massage -- those big muscles they're bred to have do get quite tense. S/he is usually a bit hyper and sketchy, but a bit of a massage (focusing on the big chest muscles) and s/he calms right down, all pastel-necked and floppy-winged and ready for a photo-shoot.

    It does raise a concern I have, though, and I'm hoping someone can put my mind at ease...
    Rhonda/Rodney is a pet and always will be a pet, but she was bred to be a commercial meat bird. I've read people posting on here about how the turkeys they're planing on eating are getting real big, having trouble walking, etc. Is that something that only happens to them if you're trying to make them that big? Or have they been bred to get too big to live for very long no matter what you do?
    Will Rhonda/Rodney's meat-bird genetics and body type cause her/him health problems as s/he matures?

    And some photos, just because...

    wattle billowing in the spring breeze (this is my favourite character portrait of her/him)

    one of my friends insists that this looks like some sort of exotic cactus

    but I think s/he's beautiful
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  2. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    Beautiful pics! I hope s/he lives a long and healthy life.
  3. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Some people do raise them for quite a while. It's the weight that gives them the leg problems. It's not a given that it will happen but the odds are against a long life. Try to keep the weight down and give plenty of room to exercise to keep the legs strong and time will tell.

  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I have a question about this -- just curiosity, since it's not applicable to my situation, as I have Royal Palms and they don't suffer from the kinds of issues the broad breasted breeds do.

    How/What would you feed a broad breasted bird to maximize its chances of living long-term without a lot of weight gain and health issues?

    I am thinking you would want to feed it mostly low caloric density foods like greens and vegetables, some fresh fruit, with something high in protein, perhaps boiled eggs and lean meats, and supplement this with smaller amounts of traditional feed in limited quantities. Also, I would think you would want to use a complete vitamin/mineral supplement all of the time and make sure the bird always has access to oyster shell so it gets adequate calcium.

    Also, since these birds are genetically programmed to just eat and eat and gain weight, rather than keeping food available at all times, I would think you almost would need to figure out how many calories the bird really should be having every day, and feed it 2 or 3 times a day with a set quantity, and NOT let it just have constant access to food as is done with "normal" birds.

    Finally, I think that it might also help to make the bird "work" for its food. Don't just plunk it down in a bowl and let it chow down. Make it forage for the bulk of it if possible, to encourage it to get as much exercise as possible.

    Does that sound about right -- the kind of nutritious, light, healthy diet you yourself would eat if you were trying to lose weight and retain muscle mass?
  5. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2010
    Quote OP:

    Is your turkey tense?

    All of our turkeys are tense. The ones with legs are present tense and the ones in eggs are future tense. We don't yet have any past tense.

    Sorry, couldn't resist. [​IMG]

    Enjoy your pet for a long time!
  6. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    The ones in the freezer might be past tense. The ones on the plate are past participle [​IMG]
  7. chocolate m'scovy

    chocolate m'scovy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2010
    [​IMG] Grammar AND food! What better combination would you have? And I hope you find its gender soon; poor bird will have personality conflicts.
  8. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2010
  9. CatJane0x0

    CatJane0x0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Alpena, MI
    He/she does look like an exotic cactus! (But a beautiful, sweet exotic cactus.) Mine doesn't have all those little hairs like that...but I spotted a beard coming in! Little black bristles...I poked at it a bit before I figured out....." Ooooooh-- A beard!"
  10. justanotheramy

    justanotheramy Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2010
    Quote:When I found Rhonda/Rodney's beard I poked at it a bit as well (I thought at first it was a big grass seed or something stuck in the feathers)... which s/he watched avidly before starting to peck at it too!
    "oooh, you're right, there is something odd on my chest. what's that thing on my chest??" <peck> <tug>
    Thankfully s/he lost interest when I did, and has left it alone since [​IMG]

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