never raised Turkeys before...


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 24, 2010
I have new arrivals coming April 15th (or so) and with the laying hens, ducks, geese, are two turkeys!
What are the basics for taking care of these birds since I hear turkeys are stupid, and can't even feed themselves!
What feed is best ? same feed as chickens...I don't think so...but what is ?
What is the best "shelter" for them when they are "grown" ?

I have many questions so feel free to fill me in....
Jim Brown
Lockport NY
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As many people as there are to say they are stupid, there are those of us who don't believe that. To start them, I put down an egg flat with the feed in the cups. They need gamebird starter for the higher protein (around 28%). Some use medicated starter to prevent coccidiosis, some of us don't.

You'll need a large shelter that is big enough for all of the turkeys that you'll add later
Seriously, though, as long as they have somewhere to get out of the wind and rain/snow, they do fine. I use a 3 sided shelter with the open side facing away from the prevailing wind direction. If you let them free range, they will probably ignore the shelter and roost in the trees.

I would recommend reading through old posts and if you have questions you can make a list. Congratulations, I know you will love them!
I have bourbon reds they are a heritage turkey you don’t need to shelter them when they are old enough to fly about 2 months or so I got mine local as day olds did the brooder thing then put them in a hen house with a fenced pen about 8 foot high in a month or so they just flew out and started roosting in the trees so I built them a roost about 20 foot high by were they were in the trees they always return to the roost at night and feed at the feeder out back they really dont leave the lawn area its about and acer
The Burbon Reds that I have raised I've done right along with my chicken chicks. One time was a batch of Buff Orpingtons and Blue Swedish Ducks, the next time was some Millie Fluer D'uccle batams. They all eat the same food, which was 20% starter and now as adults laying crumbles. They all seem to get along well and mature nicely. I've heard the chickens may even help teach the turkeys where food and water can be found but I don't know if that is true. Mine have never been quite as stupid as everyone says. I think you should enjoy them, they are a good addition to any flock.


Here is a pic of one batch in the brooder
I think the "stupid" poults are the commercial ones. The Heritage breeds tend to be friendly and quite intelligent for a bird brain! We have raised some cornishX and those were downright ignorant.

We feed a gamebird/turkey starter. But have successfully raised them on chick starter. Definetly read all the past threads you can. Also the ALBC information. You might also seek out a local mentor that is knowledgable about your area. If you can get them past their first day at home, you will do fine.
Well, if you think about it, they are being bred for brawn and not brains. I don't need a smart chicken that tastes good.

I've never found my poults to be stupid. They're heritage breed, and they've always done very well for themselves right out the shell. I've found turkeys to be one of the smartest birds I've had. They're curious, they watch and learn, and they interact differently with people than chickens do. Sometimes they remind me of a bad group of preschoolers.
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Sorry all turkeys commercial or heritage are stupid. They need to be tought how to eat and drink, then if there is any chance for trouble (hanging, drowning, choking, you name it,) turkey poults will find a way to commit suicide..

When they grow a bit and you free range them, they will stay in rain while other birds seek shelter, get wet, get sick and die.

I could go on and on.

Turkeys are just not the brightes kids on the block, if it ofends anybody to call them "stupid".

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