new to turkeys, help wanted

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by irf1983, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. irf1983

    irf1983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm thinking about raising a few turkeys for meat. will an old chicken run work for housing? will they use a coop like the chickens or just a branch in the run? what is the smallest breed to raise for meat as I don't need any monsters. thanks!
     
  2. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you post any pics of the coop and run?

    If chickens have been in there you need to consider the risk of Blackhead.
     
  3. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Midget whites are small -- for turkeys -- and they win taste tests when compared to other breeds, including the ones sold in supermarkets. Mine usually free range but we chase them into the chicken run at sundown and they roost there at night. We've had construction going on this week so they have been cooped up with the chickens and are spending time in both the coop and the run. They've taken to roosting inside during parts of the day.

    I'll need a bigger nest box if we don't build something different for them by next spring, but otherwise I think the chicken coop would be fine for just a few turkeys.
     
  4. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any turkey breed will work for meat. The smaller the bread (i.e. royal palms, midget whites) will be much smaller at 20 or 24 weeks than the broad breasted strains. but you can always buy some broad breasteds and butcher them earlier than 20 or 24 weeks. It's all in what you want. If you wanted to keep a trio around for breeding for the following year, I would suggest NOT buying broad breasteds. if you wanted something that was bigger than a dozen pounds at butchering age, and still wanted to keep a trio over the winter, I would either keep those smaller breeds until they are older (36 or 40 weeks maybe even older) or to get bourbon reds, spanish blacks, narragansetts, or something else similar in size.
     
  5. irf1983

    irf1983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'm not interested in breeding at this point. Just 2-3 birds for butchering, but I dont have a huge family, so I only need smaller birds. How large are the midget whites at ideal butchering? and how long does it take to get there? Will the hens be laying eggs by that age? Thanks!
     
  6. Tunastopper

    Tunastopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Waiting this late in the year to start, you might not have the luxury to being picky or getting just a few. You raise what you can find. You can control the size by how long you let them grow. Even comerical turkeys are not as big as when I was a kid. We use to never see anything smaller than a 25 lb bird in the stores. Now your lucky if you can find one over 15 lbs.

    I like the taste of a standard turkey but with some age to them. To me the midgets (broad-breasted whites with royal palm turkeys cross) taste like a home grown broadbreasted turkeys. I have not seen the taste test that Mr Chicken wrote about. I have seen other taste test that Bourbon Reds won. I wonder if they one the taste test based on the fact that they where the only turkey that was not full of salt water.
     
  7. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just to correct, it was Pat S who mentioned the taste test. I think she might have meant the "Ark of Taste" but I could be mistaken.
     
  8. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen it mentioned in at least a couple of places. One was Mother Earth News, I think. I did some general searches on the internet, the information would probably come up with a google search on heritage turkeys and taste test. My recollection is that white midgets won and bourbon reds were second. Hasn't Steve at Sands Poultry weighed in on this, as well?

    This is our first year raising turkeys, so I don't have a personal opinion, myself. (But I do know that homegrown chicken beats out regular store bought turkey by a mile!)
     
  9. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:THe ALBC did a taste test a few years ago and the yes Pat the Midget was #1 and the Bourbon Red was 2nd. Last place was a store bought butter ball. From personal taste test we have done I rank them the same way.

    Steve
     
  10. guanyin

    guanyin New Egg

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    I know people will scream it can't be done, but I have raised turkeys and chickens in the same housing- and together- for 15 years ( maybe it is just dumb luck!)
    The only problem I have had is an occasional frothy eye in the mature adults, that has cleared with an ointment the vet gave me. I had one broad breasted bronze turkey hen- Witch Hazel- who was with me for 10 years- she died peacefully in her sleep one night. She would raise the new hatchlings when they came in the mail for me each year- sure saves on incubators!

    I love my turkeys! I teach my dogs how to herd using them! They will follow me around and I sing to them. I have had many breeds. The heritage ones ( standard bronze, Burgundy, Narangasset) are perfect for my 2 person family- they dress out about 7-12 lbs- perfect for a big feast for us and leftovers. I have a few of the double breasted bronzes for sale.They have only one bad day![​IMG]

    Will they roost? Yeah- on top of the barn, in the trees, etc. Some nights are a whoot getting them into the barn if I am late! I have an old shed ( 9 x 12), put bars across the aisle so they can roost at nite, and used some old wooden ladders as additional roosting spots.

    Good luck!
     

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