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Looking at getting first turkeys have questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by blitz1027, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. blitz1027

    blitz1027 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2011
    Hey all. I am thinking about raising some turkeys for thanksgiving this year and wanted to ask a few questions about raising them.

    First off what breed would you recommend? I don't want something that's going to be vicious and try to tear my throat out every time I go into the pen.

    Second will raccoons kill full grown turkeys? I've had raccoons kill several of my chickens over the years and most of them I've dealt with but I am curious if a full grown coon would attack and kill a full grown tom.

    Third can turkeys be kept in close proximity to chickens without them trying to kill each other? They will be in separate pens but they will be able to constantly look at each other.

    Fourth what breed is best for eating? Love me some smoked turkey. (They are kind of tough to keep lit though)

    I think that's all the questions I have for the moment. Let me know what you guys think.
  2. ChickenRaiser95

    ChickenRaiser95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Snohomish County
    The White Holland or the Narragansett are probably the best, but the narragansett are quite rare. I wouldn't think a raccoon would kill a full grown Tom and NEVER raise turkeys with chickens. The cecal worm is a common parasite found in chickens and acts as a intermediate host for the Blackhead organism that can damage the livers of turekys
  3. blitz1027

    blitz1027 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2011
    Wow thanks for that glad you told me about the parasite. So I would a barrier between the turkey and chicken pen be effective or would they need to be on opposite ends of my property?

    I use chain link fence panels and have one panel separating the two pens.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  4. cracked egg

    cracked egg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2012
    Blackfoot, Idaho
    I have raised turkeys mixed with chickens,guineas,and peafowl. They all share the same roosts,forage together and interact as one big flock. I have never had a sick bird. Raccoons,foxes,skunks,and coyotes will destroy the nests and take a hen on the nests. Most of my losses come from dogs. My birds are free ranged and have nesting sites provided but they choose to disperse to other places to nest. When the chicks hatch they return and form up flocks with the other hens,the toms hang out together till later when the chicks are bigger.
    My birds usually are not ready for Thanksgiving,so plan on Christmas instead.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  5. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 3, 2012
    I think ALL turkey varieties are wonderful. I don't think you have to worry about a "vicious" turkey lol. They are typically friendly and sweet almost puppy like.

    I have never had a predator get one of my turkeys(knock on wood) but again I don't give them much opportunity too. Since I believe that some animals could take down an adult turkey I choose to pen them at night and lock them inside their coop.

    My turkeys have never had issues with my chickens they seem to like them very much, not to say that they wouldn't fight but mine have never had a problem interacting and free ranging together.

    On the subject of blackhead it all depends on the area you live in. Some areas do have the blackhead issue while others do not. I luckily happen to live in one of those areas that so far does not have the blackhead problem. If you area does however have blackhead it is a very major concern and shouldn't be taken lightly. You can call your states agricultural offices and ask them and they should be able to tell you how many reported cases there have been in your area.

    I have only tasted 2 varieties and both were good. Broad breasted whites and Bourbon Reds(this is the variety I raise). While both taste good there are differences.
    -The BBW is a fast growing meat bird that take as little as 16-20 weeks to grow out and be ready for processing. They are the commercial variety the same type you would buy from the grocery, only difference is you can free range them and inhance the flavor. The plus on this variety is they can be raised for a shorter amount of time. This variety has a very large breast resulting in lots of white meat
    -Then there is the heritage variety, my preference is Bourbon Red. They rank num2 on the taste tests. They take longer to grow out the soonest you should process these is 6months and they will be small, about 14 lbs. Th longer you wait the more flavor and more weight they will put on. Processing after 9months is my preference. Heritage turkeys have a ricker flavor to them and make delicious gravy from their dripping while cooking. Heritage varieties also are a more 50/50 white/dark meat and lacks in the breast meat.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  6. blitz1027

    blitz1027 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2011
    Thanks for all the info guys I really appreciate it. One more question though. Would there be any health risks if they were to fraternize with any other type of fowl like ducks or geese?

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