lately turkeys aren't so much fun

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by farmgirl77, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. farmgirl77

    farmgirl77 Out Of The Brooder

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    Need advice. We have 4 BR about 18 weeks old and they are in their own house and run. They're great turkeys EXCEPT when we want them to go in the turkey house at dusk. OMG we are pulling our hair out. Every night my husband and I go out there hoping they did it and there they are crying in the run. Then we try to tempt them with food and calling with a sweet voice from inside the house. No go. Inevidably one of us has to climb inside the hatch top at the end of the 3-foot-high covered run and do this crazy, squatting, arms outstretched, duck walk through turkey poo, uphill, shooing them towards the house. (We fight over who gets that job) The other one goes in the house and waits for each turkey to get tossed through the turkey door one by one before quickly closing the door. As soon as their feet hit the ground in the house they bolt back out the door so it's a race to get them all in and some get tossed multiple times. At the end we are covered in turkey "fertilizer" and irritated and one of us has a scraped forehead from the fence covering on the run and we are seriously questioning our turkey purchase. There has to be an easier way--please tell me.
     
  2. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do they have free access to grain during the day? When mine free range, I just feed in the evening, then they follow me to get it. I have even had wild turkeys follow me into the barn at feeding time. Other than that, find treats that they love, and only put the food where you want them to go. If they don't follow you, put the feed in and hide. When they decide to go for the feed, close the door. If it turns into a struggle, they'll just want to avoid it more.
     
  3. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like fun for the turkeys at least!

    If you chase them into the coop with one of you already in there they are probably frightened.

    As Frosty says, keep feed and water in the coop. If you have a covered run at only 3' your herding performance probably looks intimidating in its own right. Also, if the run is covered, why are you so keen to get them into the coop? Perhaps if you left them for a while longer they would go of their own accord.

    Perhaps there is something about the coop that they don't like. Can they see out? Do they have adequate roosts or do they have to fight for a good position?

    Were they always out doors as poults? If so, a coop may frighten them until they get used to it and it doesn't have a huge two legged poop covered monster lurking inside.

    If all else fails, just go to watch a dvd and let them learn by themselves. No need to stress over it. [​IMG]
     
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point thaiturkey... I didn't register the part where they are in a covered run, not the coop. Sleep deprived, I guess... If there isn't a threat of predators, just let them sleep where they want. Sometime mine sleep in the pen, sometimes inside. Sometimes they start outside but it starts raining and they move in. If they were running loose where predators could get them, then I would worry.
     
  5. farmgirl77

    farmgirl77 Out Of The Brooder

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    I think we are certainly frightening them! Not our goal, but I'm sure we are. They can't see out of the house unless they are on the roost because the windows are high. The food and water are in the house, but they are left out all the time. Yes, the run is covered and the sides are chicken wire. I just have a horrible image of a coon grabbing them as they sleep pressed up against the side. Do you think this is a true concern or not? They free range for a couple of hours a day. We have a fox that visits almost daily (already got 3 chickens [​IMG]) and I worry if I'm not out there. I will try holding an evening feeding back to entice them. What do you think about the coon question because I would love to just not worry about roosting!
     
  6. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Turkeys are creatures of habit and follow other birds. can you put a couple chickens in the run with them? the chickens will go in to roost and the turkeys might follow them.

    We are going thru the same thing here. they all roost on 2x4's in the "maturnity pen" every nite. Once they get older we move them out with the rest of the flocks. Do you think they will jump up on the roosts in a new pen? Not a chance, they have to be retrained.

    Steve
     
  7. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know how far a coon can reach but if you run and inner fence a coon arm's length from the present one and higher than a coon or turkey can stand, that should be more or less proof from attack. You would have to pitch it outwards to meet the outer fence at the top so that the turkeys don't hop over it and get stuck between the two. In any case, turkeys have a range of warning calls and will soon move if something turns up for a late KFC. I wouldn't worry much about it.

    You might also put up some outdoor roosts away from the fence and, perhaps, near to the coop. And leave the coop door open, of course.

    We have discovered the treats that ours like and that can be useful for getting young ones to move. Ants eggs and flying termites in the season and lettuce are the things that ours go for. That still wouldn't get them into Grandma's house with the poop-covered big bad wolf in there though! [​IMG]

    I'd think about raising that 3' fence and cover to, say, 6'. The birds are probably more vulnerable to predators from the top than the side at the moment. Also, they can't stretch their wings or do the turkey run around with no room to flap and jump. The present height must be a pain in the back for Little Red Riding Hood as she approaches the coop, too! [​IMG]
     
  8. farmgirl77

    farmgirl77 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the ideas, you guys are great (and funny!).
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Another thing to think about, is are they used to having a brooder light in their coop? If so, they might be scared of the dark and are staying out because that is where the last light was. I brooded my turkies in their coop and opened the door to free range at a few weeks old. When sun started going down, they naturally went into the coop where the light was. After they were about 6 weeks old or so, I slowly weaned them off the light at night and they just kept going back inside to sleep.
     
  10. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of the first thing I learned was that all pens, fly ways, ran ways, should be higher them I am tall.
    Then you only have to wipe the poop off, is your shoes.

    Until you make it higher you won't be happy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010

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