Land available to raise 50 but how do I start????

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by anthonyjames, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the space to raise 50 of any type of turkey next year. I have no idea how to begin.

    What do they need for a pen / enclosement? The area is heavy with coons, fox and coyotes so want to make sure they are protected.

    How large?
    How tall?

    I would like to raise from May/June until just before Thanksgiving. What would be the best breed for that length of time.
    Info, Info, Info...

    Please help with images and guidance.

    Thanks and I can't wait to hear everyone's input.
     
  2. RAREROO

    RAREROO Overrun With Chickens

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    I have found and I've had many others agree with me that turkeys are kinda hard to raise and keep alive, epecially when they are young, they spend their free time thinking up ways to die. So if you have never had any before, I think you should start small and work your way up.

    Mine stay in an uncovered,six foot high pen ( There is a big tree in the middle of the pen and some of the young ones roost in the top of it a t night, but they stay in the pen for the most part. Luckily, as of yet I have never had problems with predators getting any of them, we have coons,coyotes, and bobcats too, and I think our dogs keep them out of the yard, but an electric fence probably woundn't be a bad idea, and the turkeys are so big, the hawks don't mess with them.

    What do you mean by you want to raise them from May/June until just before Thanksgiving? Are you talking about hatching from then, or raiseing them to butcher at that time? Because turkeys usually only lay and breed in the spring and summer months. I would imagine any heritage breed would work for you, I like my bourbon Reds.

    Hope this helps
     
  3. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    By your time frame you are looking at a Broad Breasted type turkey, Heritage turkeys take at least 6 months to reach slaughter weight, BB types 4 1/2 months. The BB's gain weight so quickly that you can get by with a lower fence but if you have a bad predator problem you will need a good solid fence.

    Steve in NC
     
  4. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So is a 6 ft high fence high enough for them? And if I put 1 x 2 wire mesh over the top will that help keep them down? Does anyone use a tractor type pen or are they all stationary?

    If so how large are they? 10 x 20, 20 x 100, etc. And how many can you keep in a pen or tractor say 20 x 20. If I were to make tractor that is 20 x 20 x 4 I am guessing that they will sleep on the ground with no issues?

    I was thinking of getting day old birds shipped to me and then raising them from there. I would also then like to keep a few toms and hens to possibly lay and hatch the following year so I don't have to repurchase as many and slowly build up some birds to keep all the time for laying.

    Thanks
     
  5. RAREROO

    RAREROO Overrun With Chickens

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    A six foot high fence should work and they don't need to sleep on the ground, I don't think the Broad Breasted ones will be able to breed and lay if you keep them, I think hatcheries use AI because they are to large to breed naturally.
     
  6. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:From what I've hear on the bb.'s that's right on there.
    That's why most keep heritage breeds, but, like Steve said, from hatch date to November will not be enough time to get a heritage birds big enough for Thanksgiving, unless you want to cook 10 of them.
    Our basic pens are 25 x 50 12 tall in the center, 6 on the sides, we use 2 " Toprite aviary netting over the top, and electric fence around the bottom for preditors, as we have frequent problems with them too.
    We put 2x4 's at about 6 ' high down the center where the tall 12 poles are at to give them a high roost. As for housing, it's very minimal here, as they wont use it any way, ours are mainly wild strains, and royal palms, neither roost in a house, so dont waste too much time on that. Like Rareroo's, mine have large live oaks around them for shade , but they will take both hot and cold climates pretty well.
    As far as raising them, they arnt too bad, as long as you keep them clean and mainly WARM!! a cold turkey poult is going to die and die quick, so avoid drafts, and nasty weather on them til they are feathered up good. A good hi pro starter is pretty much a must too, 20% bare minimum upper 20's is best, some vitamin supplements in the water goes a long way with them too. In my experiences as long as you do this, you are in pretty good shape, and usually after they are a week or 2 old, you've got 'em whipped, just keep them warm.
    Here's some pics of our pens too. We keep 2-3 toms and about 10 hens in comfortably in each.
    Good luck
    Aubrey


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  7. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

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  8. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Chillin' With My Peeps

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    boggy bottom,

    For your electric fence are you using a solar kit? If so do you have any recommendations? My ideal goal would be to make something like you have and basically make an "cross design" and then maybe every two weeks move them into a new section.

    Thanks
     
  9. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    yep,
    that would work great, would help keep grasses growning in there too I would think.
    No on the solar fence, I use the old style, pulg in the wall and knock 'em to the dirt charger...
     
  10. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know how I would do that with the electric unless solar. I would be almost 1/4 mile from the nearest structure on the farm.

    I guess I will have to do my research on those.

    Where your netting is meeting the chicken wire. How are they fastened together? I don't see zip ties or any thing like that.
     

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