New owner - please help

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by mkearsley, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chirping

    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    I've added two young turkeys to my flock of chickens. They're probably about a month or two old. (They're actually going to be moving to my mother-in-law's place soon). I've got them in a cage outside so that they can't get hurt or attacked by my chickens, but they're rapidly out-growing it.

    How much space should we have for their outdoor cage? We're thinking a 10'x10' cage with perches for them. We're also planning on building a nest box that will attach to the side of the cage. How big should this be? We're planning on putting a wire roof on it as well.

    They can fly (well, sorta) right now, they're in that stage of losing baby feathers & growing the adult ones. How long will they be able to fly? Should we trim their wings?

    How big will they get? Can you eat their eggs? How will I know the difference between toms & hens?

    Both of them have bald heads. Are they pecking at each other, or do they lose head feathers?

    Thank you for your help.

  2. rfwombat

    rfwombat In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2009
    Humboldt County
    Hello and congrats on your new turkeys!! Hope this info helps...

    The general rule is 20 square feet for turkeys so a 10'x10' pen will be perfect and will allow your flock to grow!

    I use medium size dog houses for turkey nest boxes; they are about 18"x24"x18".

    If you have heritage birds (able to breed naturally) they will always be able to fly, even if you clip their wings. But clipping their wings will keep them from flying well or far. If you have broad breasted turkeys, they will not be able to fly once they start really gaining weight.

    Broad breasted turkeys can get up to around 50 lbs, while heritage birds will max out at about 30 lbs. (live weights, not dressed).

    I love eating turkey eggs (more so than chicken eggs even). They taste just like a chicken egg but larger and a little lighter in texture. You've heard of duck eggs being really thick and dense, turkey eggs are the opposite.

    At about 12-14 weeks the turkey toms will start to develop their snoods and there should be a size difference between the toms and the hens at that point.

    Both hens and toms have bald heads. They are only pecking at each other if you see blood or scabs.

    Hope this helps!! Have fun with them, they are characters!
  3. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chirping

    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    Thanks! I'm pretty sure we've got heritage birds, I'm pretty sure that's what the seller called them (she breeds them outside of town). One is white (the seller said it'd be white with black strips on it's tail), while the other one is black with a white face.

    So it'd be just as well to have a roof on their cage as to try to clip their wings? My mother-in-law has a wire fence about 6' tall around her backyard. We're planning on keeping them in the cage for a month or so (until they're fully adult-feathered & a bit larger) and then letting them out in her fenced-backyard. Do you think that they'll be able to get out? Two sides of the backyard is bordered by really tall wheatgrass pasture, the other two sides are her trailer & the driveway.

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