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New to Turkeys and just ordered 20

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by jopheso, May 25, 2016.

  1. jopheso

    jopheso Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello all. I recently ordered 10 Narrags and 10 Midget whites. The plan is to keep them in a brooder until feathered then move them to a hoop style tractor(the ones made from cattle panels), then somewhere between 12-16 weeks let them free range and use the hoop house as a roost. When I say free range I mean have free run of 3 acres that is enclosed with a 4.5 foot hog wire fence. There are aproximately 20 trees spread out in the 3 acres including pecans,cypress and oaks.

    The objective would be to harvest 3-5 for meat at around 8 months and keep the rest for egg production and to grow the flock. I would love feedback on this general plan and also any words of wisdon on turkeys and/or these particular breeds.

    Thanks ahead of time BYC!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    Hopefully you have a big brooder. By 4 weeks turkey poults are like popcorn, with 20 of them that should be fun. I get mine outside during the day at about 1-2 weeks depending on weather. They continue to be brooded for a few more weeks at night. Turkeys can also fly up over a fence like that so be prepared for escapees. I like a safe covered pen with controlled supervised free ranging. Young turkeys are troublemakers who will go everywhere and they will be everywhere.

    Heritage breeds don't grow fast, so expect a smaller scrawny carcass at 8 months.
     
  3. feedman77

    feedman77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My heritage would hop/fly right over a hog panel.

    I keep them behind 6 ft kennel panels and they can get out if the want to.

    Trying to get a turkey to roost constantly will be a chore. They will roost everywhere but where you want them too.

    My guess they will be in the trees.

    At 8 months they will be somewhat small. At 14 months is when they will be fully body matured.

    For the most part your plan seem doable.

    Ate you going to hatch birds via hens or incubator?
     
  4. jopheso

    jopheso Out Of The Brooder

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    Option number 1 would be for the hens to do it. That is one of the reasons I went with heritage. Im not against the incubator if necessary though. If they are scrawny at 8 months Ill wait.

    I would actually be fine with them in the trees. I think that would be cool
     
  5. jopheso

    jopheso Out Of The Brooder

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    I havent built the brooder yet. Should I go deep with it to help with them trying to jump out when I open it? I would love to get them outside as early as 1-2 weeks. It is plenty warm enough here for that. I am definitely concerned with them flying over the fence, but my only other option would be to cage them and that does not appeal to me at all. I have quail already and they cannot be allowed to out of the covered pen at all obviously. One of the main reasons I decided to try turkeys is because at adulthood they should be big enough to discourage the hawks. Other than dogs or coyotes(both of which will be stopped by the fence) I cant think of any predators that would take on a grown turkey
     
  6. Hardemans

    Hardemans Out Of The Brooder

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    Jopheso,

    You are in for a wild ride. Turkeys grow quickly and will want to be out of that brooder in 3 - 4 weeks. Probably earlier. At two weeks I move mine to some rabbit cages and keep them there for a couple of more weeks then into hoop coops on the ground. I have a heat light in the rabbit cage but not the hoop coop.

    Those buggers can fly and they will do so. They will roost where they want to and leave evidence all over the place. Plus they are nosy. If you get them used to you they will follow you like puppies and poke around in what ever you are doing.

    With regard to harvesting - 8 months is early. Takes 12 - 16 months depending on how much feed and free range you allow.

    I have raised a couple of Narragansetts and now have 17 poults that are 4 weeks old. Also raised BBB. Those fill out fast, don't fly as much, and make a great table bird within 6 months.

    Have fun. Chickens are entertaining but turkey's take it to another level.
     
  7. Hardemans

    Hardemans Out Of The Brooder

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    Fences don't stop Coyotes. They hop over my 4' fence like it was a speed bump
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. jopheso

    jopheso Out Of The Brooder

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    well technically the fence is 4 foot hog wire and then a line of barbedwire about 8 inches above that. I am really not sure if there are coyotes to be honest as this is a new to me home. if I see or hear any then I will address them accordingly. Between myself and my dog I imagine we could get the coyotes mind's right :) if not, then I am not opposed to running a hotwire around the fence also.

    As for the exciting ride I CANT WAIT! I think that aspect is most likely the reason a lot of us start these life less ordinary type journeys. There will be MANY mistakes and lessons learned, but that is kind of the point IMHO.
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    I cover my brooder. I even tried wing clipping and it never slowed them. After the first year they stay more on the ground, but that first year they can drive you nuts.
     
  10. jopheso

    jopheso Out Of The Brooder

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    hmmm...maybe I should keep the brooder inside the hoop house. I dont think there will be any need of a heat lamp once they feather a bit. Its already 85ish here. I may stick the hoop house in the dead center of the 3 acres near the trees, maybe that will help some with the escapees. I guess its just a matter of getting the hands on experience that no amount of internet searching can substitute for.
     

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