New to Forum, New to turkeys, questions?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by inhunt, May 5, 2008.

  1. inhunt

    inhunt Hatching

    May 5, 2008
    Hello all,
    First let me say this forum has been a great resource for information.
    That said I have a couple questions.

    I am making my first attempt at raised BB Bronze Turkeys.
    I got them when they were a day old from McMurry Hatchery; they are about a week old now.
    They do seem to require much more care than baby chicks!

    My question is what type of mortality rate do you typically see?
    We have lost 3 polts the last 3 days (We started with 15).
    Like I said I have been really babying them.
    They all seem to be getting plenty of food and water and I am very careful that the temp is right.
    I have been using grass clippings for bedding.

    The ones that we have lost all appeared to be growing and healthy.

    Any ideas should I expect more to die?
  2. brewmiss96

    brewmiss96 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    Redmond, OR
    out of my first 4 bb turkeys I lost 3. It seemed like they were either getting overheated or were not finding the food. We think they were eating bedding instead of food. So when we got the Narragansett on friday we didn't put any bedding down, just food on the floor of the brooder. It's doing well, though it might be a breed thing. Plus we used the start & grow this time instead of flock raiser, which has bigger crumbles.

    Sorry I'm not more help, this is my first time with turkeys. I know I felt horrible that I might not have provided what they needed, but from personal observation the bb's have a problem with focusing. Just this week (at 4 weeks) is the first time the one surviving bb has eaten without me wetting the crumble and wiggling the bowl to keep it focused on eating. It seems to like the bigger pieces formed by the water. I tried dyeing the food, putting grass clippings and marbles in the feeder, but it wouldn't eat out of it. Just a saucer or a open bowl. But now that they are out and about with me in the yard, it begs for me to dig up worms ALL the time! Won't eat the snails or slugs.
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    From what I've read in your original post, it sounds like the grass clippings may be the culprit. If they eat them, they can cause impacted crops. In addition, they could be contaminated from other birds (including wild birds flying over) which are causing illness for your poults.

    I would recommend using pine shavings and cover it with paper towel for the first week until they are started well on their feed and know where the food/water dishes are. Then remove the paper towel and they should be fine. You can also add chick grit if they start pecking at the shavings (which they will do naturally out of curiosity). The grit will help them break it down so they can pass it through the digestive system.

    To encourage pecking in food/water, place marbles in the dishes and it will attact them.

  4. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

    Mar 30, 2008
    Turkeys should be started with gamebird starter, not chick starter. The chick food doesn't have enough protien, gamebird is 28%.
  5. inhunt

    inhunt Hatching

    May 5, 2008
    I am using Durmer starter 24%.
    They do seem to eat some of the clippings, but they are eating the feed and drinking from the waters.
    Should I look into getting some grit for them?
    This being the first time buying it what size will I need?

    I did start them on towels over top of the beeding (about 4 days) till I made sure they were eating and drinking properly.
  6. corancher

    corancher Songster

    Apr 18, 2007
    I have lots and lots of turkeys. Poults are far more fragile than chicks. I put shaving down and then a towel on top of the shavings for the first week or so. This keeps them from eating the shavings and dry. I put rocks in the waterer tray so they don't get into it and drown or get wet and chilled. You must have them out of drafts. I feed them game bird which has more protein than chick starter. I don't give them anything else to eat for the first couple of weeks. I do put vitamins in the water.

    Turkey poults are not as easy to get to take to food and water as chicks so it may take a few times to show them where the food and water is.

    Once you get them past a couple of weeks, then they are much easier to care for. Good luck.
    Last edited: May 5, 2008
  7. wildthing

    wildthing In the Brooder

    Apr 1, 2008
    Turkeys must be a second cousin to ostrich. An ostrich is the only bird I have ever known to stand outside in freezing temperatures and freeze to death, when a heated shelter is 20 feet away.
  8. pdpatch

    pdpatch Songster

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    Turkey chick immunity does really get established until they are about 7 weeks old. So I would not expose them to the grass clippings yet or anything fro outside until then, just feed them wild bird starter for now, and not use grass as there bedding.

    During the first week or so they do not see well so they have trouble finding food and water, and they can fall into the water. You have to dip there beak into the water and sprinkle food of the floor of the brooder for them. We bought some really cheap blankets and cut them into squares for the first two weeks, we had to change them every other day.
    The paper towel method also works well for turkey chicks. At about two weeks we put some oyster shells into there feed. This put something in there gullet so they can digest the food better and gives them extra calciaum.

    When they get a little tired they seem to just fall asleep, whether it's standing, eating or drinking. So the small stones in the water is a good Idea. We lost one during the first week after it got wet over night.

    Once they got past the first two week stage we put them on litter. They also out grow there first brooder, and are on there second now. Today they get moved to a larger brooder.

    We Have two Toms that have been struting for a couple of week now. Those two tend to get into little fights, that last about 30 seconds then one backs down. So far no blood loss between these two.
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

    Mar 30, 2008
    24% isn't enough protien. I would get game bird feed. I also start with the tiny grit (think #1 is the smallest) and sprinkle a bit over their feed starting when they are 2 or 3 days old (I do this with chicks, also). Just a little, like you are sprinkling pepper on your food. Then if they eat something like grass, bugs, etc... they already have grit in the gizzard ready to grind the food. I really don't find turkeys harder to raise than chickens, personally, and as long as the grass hasn't been treated with anything it shouldn't hurt them. I use a small 1 quart chick waterer, and never put rocks or anything in it. The only poult that I ever had drown was when I put in a 1 gallon waterer. I put their feed in a pulp egg carton for the first few days, then I add a chick feeder but leave the carton for a few more days until I see all chicks/poults using the other feeder. I rarely lose poults, the one exception was when I got a batch one year that had something wrong with them. They arrived in a box, one already dead and stinking (wonder how long it was dead to smell like that?) A few were very weak, we tried but they didn't make it. Over the next few days, they died one after another until out of 15 we ended up with 2. But that was VERY far from the norm, and I have to wonder if it had to do with the stinky dead poult and maybe they had botulism.

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