Keeping a few turkeys, but not for meat?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by angidee, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. angidee

    angidee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 26, 2010
    Washington
    So, we are thinking of keeping a tom and 2 hens as breeders so we can hatch our own turkeys next spring.
    The books we have read are very focused on raising turkeys as meat birds for sale. As such, they definitely make it sound like a useless idea to keep birds past the meat worthy stage. But, as I was standing in line at the feed store with my 3 turkey chicks a women said how WONDERFUL they are as pets....
    Anyone have any input toward keeping turkeys as more than just for meat?
    We would like to raise them with our chickens...is this possible? What kind of food do you give so everyone gets what they need if they are eating from the same feeders?

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. cashela

    cashela Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2009
    South Eastern NH
    I own two turkey's and they are pets. I love them [​IMG] I feed mine layer pellets and they do just fine. They share their space with two chickens.
     
  3. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    I have about 6 Bourbon Red turkeys and I don't keep them for meat. They are just yard eye candy. I like looking at them and watching them walk around the property. They are easy to keep as far as getting along with others. I only had 1 incident with one of my male turkeys and I had to re-home him. All of the hens (4) were setting on eggs and he didn't have anyone to "play with", so he tried to breed with a chicken and I almost lost it when I saw this. I know it wasn't his fault but nonetheless, I sold him to a lady that wanted him. Other than that, I have no problems with them. The girls are a little fiesty every now and then and they love picking on the roosters but sometimes the roosters need it when they are roughing up the chickens.

    They eat the same feed as the chickens and ducks. And they eat from the same feeder with no problems. I purchase a couple of tons of feed from a feed mill. There is a mixture of ingredients in the feed. Here is a pic of everyone eating from the buffet feeders.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. angidee

    angidee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 26, 2010
    Washington
    Great pictures!!!!!
    This is very encouraging to see!
     
  5. TinkleTurkey

    TinkleTurkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2010
    Palmdale
    We have two turkeys, they are "pets"
    Very docile & love to eat out of your hand.

    But we are also breeding them, our first batch due to hatch the end of this week [​IMG]

    We'll keep a couple for breeding/lawn ornaments but probably sell most of the chicks.
    Might also raise up a few and sell em for meat, not how that'll go over. The boyfriend is a wimp from a suburban upbringing and can't stand the thought of eating farm animals (unless they're from the grocery, then thats ok [​IMG])
     
  6. dragon86

    dragon86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2010
    west frankfort, il
    ive had 3 of my for 3 years there broad breasted bronze i use them for breeding but i wouldnt recomend this breed for pets they get big and i can tell their starting to have trouble walking and with the tom breeding them. but my smaller mixed breed one that are 1 1/2 years old seem to be doing fine and make good pets they follow me around all the time.

    as far as housing them with chickens bewarned that they can get blackhead from chickens that will kill them. i house mine togather with my chickens and ducks when their half grown or so since adult birds dont seem to die from it but i never but them togather before the 4-5 month range.
     
  7. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    Heritage turkeys make great pets! The books you read were for commerical meat farming with the broad breasted types and they don't make good pets. A good broad breasted turkey will need to be butchered at 4-6 months before it starts to have health issues. Some of the hatchery BB types are not full BB and can sometimes be kept as pets with diet restrictions. Did you get heritage turkeys or BB's?
     
  8. jimmythechicken

    jimmythechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2010
    mansfield
    my daughters blue slate she had last year was her best friend he followed her everywhere then he passed she even made me make him a little sign at his grave.she has 12 blue slate eggs in the bator due on mothers day she is sooooooo excited to get some more turkeys for the yard.
     
  9. MissTurkey4

    MissTurkey4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2011
    My turkeys are great. Of all my birds I love my turkeys and geese the best as pets. It has alot to do with how they are raised. I would always tell someone to get them as poults and handel them alot. As they get older they also need to respect you. Rare but some toms might challege you at there first breeding season. I have never had a on going problem if I nip it in the bud when it first starts. It seems to be a young tom thing that does not go on into adulthood on my turkeys.

    Blackheads is a disease that turkeys can get from a cecal worm, passed from chickens. It lives in the soil. If you have had chickens everywhere or anywhere in the last three years on your property, your turkeys can be at risk in some location. Many of us do not live where our turkeys are at risk.
     
  10. angidee

    angidee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 26, 2010
    Washington
    Blackheads is a disease that turkeys can get from a cecal worm, passed from chickens. It lives in the soil. If you have had chickens everywhere or anywhere in the last three years on your property, your turkeys can be at risk in some location. Many of us do not live where our turkeys are at risk.

    Do you know if it's something to worry about in the Pacific Northwest?​
     

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