Keeping my turkeys home

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by brandywine, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. brandywine

    brandywine Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    The little #@#%$'s were up in the village on Sunday, crapping on people's weber grills, breaking stuff on porches, and generally acting like the gang of miscreants that they are.

    Okay, background. We live on 26 acres, set far back at the end of a lane, and it is at least 200 yards up a hill from the barn (where the poultry are cooped) to the nearest neighbor. And that house has been vacant since we moved here last year. (I think it is now sold, and I should be getting a neighbor within sight.) There is a cluster of houses (we'll call it "The Village," giving it more credit than it probably deserves), plus the township offices and community center up the hill.

    There is, at this time, no pasture fence. My fence fund keeps getting diverted into emergency repairs of things that leak water -- roof, basement, plumbing, etc.

    I intend to put in woven field fencing with a strand of electric top and bottom. This will be sheep fencing. There will be sheep.

    We have no predator issues, because my dogs -- who are good dogs and stay home -- patrol the property.

    The chickens stay home. The ducks stay home. Even the miserable guineas stayed home.

    The turkeys -- 5 Narragansetts, 6 Bourbon Reds, hatch date June 15 -- stayed home until last week. I'd been watching them as they seemed to be pushing the property line. Apparently I wasn't watching them closely enough, as the neighbor who came to tell me they were trying to steal his Christmas lights says he's seen them up in the village before over the past week.

    When I went up there with right-hand dogs Rosie and Cole to herd them home, they were HALF A KILOMETER from home.

    Believe me, that's a long way to chase a bunch of turkeys. And they did not go quietly. The neighbors apparently enjoyed the spectacle. They probably do not enjoy the turkey crap on their back decks so much.

    They are now in turkey prison. This is crowded and unwholesome (10x12 stall with roosts.) And we lose the benefits of free-ranging -- they have been eating mostly forage since I let them out in July, and right now the mast crop is down, and they were eating a lot of acorns, etc.

    Now, if I had my fence in, I'd wing-clip the little buggers. But I don't.

    Any suggestions for keeping this gang of vandals closer to home? Tie rocks to their legs?

  2. Other than fence that's about it, tie a cinder block on their legs. But then they would eat the blocks, wrap the rope around a tree and pull it down.

    I think turkeys are the only birds that aren't flock animals, turkeys run in gangs!

    Steve in NC
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    This has been an issue for other members. Ours stay put, but our neighbor's flock would make its way over through ten acres of heavily wooded property to get here and mix it up with ours (but would then walk down the drive to the road and march along it single file towards home every evening - go figure).

    If you have a way of putting up a smaller fenced run near stall (pref. 6ft. high) and let the Narri's out one day then the BR's out the next that might help (they tend to want to hang around together).
  4. snewman

    snewman Songster

    Feb 22, 2007
    Belleville, WI
    Mine kept coming out around the far side of the barn to hang out on our brand new wraparound porch. My husband was MAD!!! They were overjoyed to see me when I drove in the driveway though, and gladly followed me through the barn back to where they belonged...until the next day. I think they supervised our roofing crew this summer too, judging by the poop all over the yard. On those days they were back home by the time I got there. They sure have been interesting. They're going to freezer camp this week, and I'm really going to miss them!
  5. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Pretty Christmas lights!!! That's too much temptation for turkeys... [​IMG]

    But seriously, mine range too -- around my farm. Only one winter did I find they were going to the marketplace and bothering vendors (very early in the morning and they'd be back by 7 a.m. so I didn't realize it!). I've found that sometimes there seems to be a leader turkey who will go further tempting the others. For example, my tom could care less where he is. The females on the other hand... they like to wander.

    I have 2 suggestions. If you pen half of them up, the other half doesn't wander too far away. Then the next day, let the other half out, and put the first half back in the pen. This only works if they are already bonded as a social group.

    Water and food always available here, and a place to hang out (under a giant juniper) seem to help mine feel satisfied and not wander as much. Plus, i've noticed if I feed them treats (black oil sunflower seeds) right away in the morning, their bellies must be more full and they don't wander as much in search of food (bugs, grains, etc.). So keeping their bellies full must help.

    Best of luck! [​IMG]
  6. judyc

    judyc Songster

    Mar 10, 2009
    Lafayette, IN
    Suggestion: Two cattle panels bent over for a turkey tractor. Line it with chicken wire, and you can move it every day. Keeps those brats off the porch, car, neightor's property, etc. They still get fresh grass and bugs.
  7. kcravey

    kcravey In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009
    East Texas
    I agree - tractor. I need to put mine back in one also. I had a 30' X 10' PVC tractor for them and moved them around twice a day. Then I made them a huge yard - but they wont stay in it either. They love the neighbors pasture too. If I go out side with a bucket of scratch they all come flying back to me and I put them back in their yard. I do this about 2x a day because we do have too many dog predators.

    Good luck to ya! Hey, even if you did fence it in ... with mine, a 6' fence wouldnt do any good. They have to have a top.

  8. Soccer Mom

    Soccer Mom Songster

    May 5, 2009
    West of Crazy
    No suggestions here. I'm just in awe of anyone whose guineas stay home. [​IMG]
  9. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    I agree with the half out post. If mine are all out, there's no telling where they will be. If only part of them are out, they won't go more than a 100 yrds or so from the pen.
  10. Lu King

    Lu King Songster

    Dec 9, 2008
    On the Titanic
    Our turkeys are home early in the morning and late afternoon, but stray to property way down the road where there are a lot of bushes and trees. They always come home, and when hungry stand at the window looking in. One was missing for a day, and we thought we lost one, but she came home the next day.

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