New to Turkeys..?.Freerange...?.fencing....

ButchGood

Songster
8 Years
Mar 14, 2012
780
92
181
Central Texas
I wanted to try out some backyard turkeys. I didn't want to be in it for the long haul so I decided to experiment with the Broad Breasted Bronze. I decided on these birds because of the fast maturity rate, 18 to 24 weeks and they are table ready. I figured if I didn't enjoy raising them it would be only until thanksgiving. Turns out I LOVE them Turkeys
I now would like to try a heritage pair for breeding and I can us the offspring for the table and sell any others. I have 1.5 acres fenced that keeps my flock of 13 chickens happy. They don't use half of it yet. I have a 6ft. fence with no top rail. Some places a little higher. I'm looking for a heritage breed that my set up would good for them. I really like the Bourbon Reds. They get good scores in personality and flavor on the table. But what about flying and wandering? Id like some birds that will stay as close as possible. Any suggestions or advice I would greatly appreciate.
 
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chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
274
316
Strasburg Ohio
I free ranged my turkeys. I had a Blue Slate hen and a Royal Palm tom, and they stayed around the house with the chickens. I never had a problem. Sometimes they would fly onto the top of the hen house, but that was OK. My hen did spend a night or two on top, but truly, they're real homebodies.
 

ButchGood

Songster
8 Years
Mar 14, 2012
780
92
181
Central Texas
How much you can free range depends upon your local predator load.
Little to none inside the 1.5 fenced acres. Outside the fence, fox, raccoon, maybe a coyote. Ive never seen a coyote in my area, in fact Ive never seen a coon. I saw a gray fox last spring. Ive seen more skunks than anything else, 4 or 5 a year. I had a snake kill a chick this year. Id say a pretty light predator load all around.
 

ivan3

spurredon
12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
4,511
210
291
BOCOMO
If you get the poults as day olds, and they imprint on you and the `home' range thoroughly, then wandering/flying away is not as likely. Ours have never left the area (hens do want to get about 100-150yds into the woods to nest - easy to remedy, i.e., move them and nests to safe area) even though we have two pretty well established flocks of Wild Easterns that make their rounds regularly (our turks are intimidated - no wanderlust). If you need to keep them handy you can leave one turk in a smaller run and let the others out - the freerangers won't go too far from their imprisoned buddy. That said, a six foot fence is nothing to a heritage turk (particularly the hens).
 
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ButchGood

Songster
8 Years
Mar 14, 2012
780
92
181
Central Texas
Great info. I like the idea of keeping one in the run. Now that you mentioned it, Ive noticed my 4 BBB turkeys will not go far from their RIR "siblings". The RIR's are to small to free range, so they stay in. The Turkeys I have stay close the the run and graze. I want to get a pair, guess Ill have to do a trio. That way I can rotate them. Ill be getting my turkeys from the hatchery, so they will only be a few days old when they see me. I'll just work with the a bunch to get them to imprint on me and the homestead. Ill have to play momma turkey for a few months. I have no plans on raising my fence but I would consider putting a arm on each post angle in about 2 ft. with 3 or 4 strands of wire.
Has anyone have experience with that kind of set up. It would look kind of like a prison, but I think I could make it look good.
 

ButchGood

Songster
8 Years
Mar 14, 2012
780
92
181
Central Texas
My Turkeys are only 6 weeks old. This morning one of the Toms was doing the Mummers strut. So funny. I'm trying to get pictures but he's a little camera shy.
 

frank53061

Songster
8 Years
Jun 5, 2011
609
19
121
Location N/W Arkansas Hillbilly
If you get the poults as day olds, and they imprint on you and the `home' range thoroughly, then wandering/flying away is not as likely. Ours have never left the area (hens do want to get about 100-150yds into the woods to nest - easy to remedy, i.e., move them and nests to safe area) even though we have two pretty well established flocks of Wild Easterns that make their rounds regularly (our turks are intimidated - no wanderlust). If you need to keep them handy you can leave one turk in a smaller run and let the others out - the freerangers won't go too far from their imprisoned buddy. That said, a six foot fence is nothing to a heritage turk (particularly the hens).
I have been looking for this information thanks I just have one more question how old should my Red Bourbon Turkeys be to allow them out of there run they are 10 weeks old now I was thinking maybe at 20 weeks close to full grown what do you think.
 

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