Meat Turkeys?

DellaMyDarling

Songster
Dec 13, 2017
618
862
186
Mass Hilltowns
I'll be creating either a tractor or electric fenced zone to pasture meat chickens this summer.
I have had multiple requests about raising next Thanksgiving turkey. Oh boy.

I know nothing about turkey.
Can I raise a few turkey birds with the meat chickens? I'm still leaning toward CX meaties again.
Is butcher really any different? I figured out duck based on chicken experience, so I presume I can figure out turkey too?
What breeds of turkey would you recommend?
I presume they take longer to get to process weight and so timing around chicken could be a problem?
I also presume they happily munch whatever fattening feed I give to the meaties? Still deciding this one based on last year experience.

What else should I be asking regarding turkey?
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,118
38,388
1,131
Natrona County, Wyoming
I'll be creating either a tractor or electric fenced zone to pasture meat chickens this summer.
I have had multiple requests about raising next Thanksgiving turkey. Oh boy.

I know nothing about turkey.
Can I raise a few turkey birds with the meat chickens? I'm still leaning toward CX meaties again.
Is butcher really any different? I figured out duck based on chicken experience, so I presume I can figure out turkey too?
What breeds of turkey would you recommend?
I presume they take longer to get to process weight and so timing around chicken could be a problem?
I also presume they happily munch whatever fattening feed I give to the meaties? Still deciding this one based on last year experience.

What else should I be asking regarding turkey?
All domestic turkeys are the breed Turkey. For your purpose of raising turkeys for processing, I recommend the variety Broad Breasted White. Depending on the carcass size you want, they can be processed from 3 to 6 months old.

For a proper start they should be fed a high protein turkey or game bird starter. I use a 28% protein turkey or game bird starter. It also has the higher levels of lysine, methionine and niacin that turkeys need for proper early development.
 

Mylied

Crowing
7 Years
Mar 12, 2012
2,326
3,004
392
Middle Georgia
Turkeys and chickens shouldn't be raised together as the turkeys can get blackhead disease. Plus they need more feed and more nutrients like R2elk said. Agree with broad breasted whites. Processing is the same as chickens, just on a bigger bird. Might need 2 people to kill, one to hold and one to do the deed. If you raise from poults, they're a little dumber and need to be shown a few times where food and water is. If you get poults and chicks at the same time, you can brood them together at first and the poults learn from the chicks. Turkeys aren't hard to raise, imo. Just like a bigger chicken. They have good temperments too.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,297
12,571
707
Southeast Louisiana
The only turkey I've raised have been midget whites. Midget whites can fly really well, enough to maybe be a problem if you are pasturing them. Broadbreasted cannot when they get bigger, not sure if juvenile Broadbreasted can fly well enough for it to be a problem.

I also recommend a white bird. When you pluck you'll have some pin feathers. With a dark feathered bird those pin feathers make for an ugly carcass. White or light buff birds still have them but you can't see them as well. The carcass is much prettier with less work.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,118
38,388
1,131
Natrona County, Wyoming
The only turkey I've raised have been midget whites. Midget whites can fly really well, enough to maybe be a problem if you are pasturing them. Broadbreasted cannot when they get bigger, not sure if juvenile Broadbreasted can fly well enough for it to be a problem.

I also recommend a white bird. When you pluck you'll have some pin feathers. With a dark feathered bird those pin feathers make for an ugly carcass. White or light buff birds still have them but you can't see them as well. The carcass is much prettier with less work.
Broad Breasted turkeys can fly very well when they are young.
 

Papmike

Chirping
Jan 4, 2020
70
150
73
N.E. Ohio
Hi DellaMD,
You might want to look into valley of the moon hatchery in West Virginia. The sell Nicholas turkeys a white bird and I've read some really good things about these birds. But you do have to buy 20 birds. At $3.75 a bird you may be able to find others to split an order.
 

R2elk

Free Ranger
Premium member
6 Years
Feb 24, 2013
12,118
38,388
1,131
Natrona County, Wyoming
Hi DellaMD,
You might want to look into valley of the moon hatchery in West Virginia. The sell Nicholas turkeys a white bird and I've read some really good things about these birds. But you do have to buy 20 birds. At $3.75 a bird you may be able to find others to split an order.
In addition, they will sell them sexed so you can buy males, females or straight run. If you want a short time to processing and a big carcass, you can buy just males from them.
 

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