New to turkeys- tell me everything!

CrazedGirl

In the Brooder
Mar 16, 2018
26
25
49
Maryland
Someone near me is selling a pair of bourbon red turkeys. We have our chickens and we want to add turkeys to the mix; however, the care! I don’t even know where to start. We live in Maryland and have plenty of wild turkeys in the state that do well all year round.

Structure for security?
Predator proofing?
What to feed them?
Are females good mothers/do they even go broody?
How do we keep them semi-confined to know that our 3acre yard is home?

I don’t even know where to start but I would love to jump at the chance of getting them before someone else takes them. I want to know as much as possible, and have everything set up before I get them as well.
 

R2elk

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8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
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Natrona County, Wyoming
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Someone near me is selling a pair of bourbon red turkeys. We have our chickens and we want to add turkeys to the mix; however, the care! I don’t even know where to start. We live in Maryland and have plenty of wild turkeys in the state that do well all year round.

Structure for security?
Predator proofing?
What to feed them?
Are females good mothers/do they even go broody?
How do we keep them semi-confined to know that our 3acre yard is home?

I don’t even know where to start but I would love to jump at the chance of getting them before someone else takes them. I want to know as much as possible, and have everything set up before I get them as well.
Start by reading the threads that are in the Turkeys - Sticky Topics Index.

I do not recommend getting a pair of turkeys because the tom can be really hard on a hen when he only has one hen. I try to keep at least 4 to 5 hens for one tom.

I have not had a turkey hen that has not gone broody although others have had some of their hens that did not go broody. Each individual turkey reacts differently. Some are great mothers and some, especially first time mothers are not so good. I currently have a yearling hen that has raised 12 poults to 9 weeks old without any problems. She was confined away from the general population for the first month which is when so many things can go wrong.

Adult turkeys can do well on a good all flock or layer feed that is at least 16% protein. Newly hatched poults should be on a quality turkey or gamebird starter that is at least 28% protein. It isn't just about the protein because a good turkey or gamebird starter will also contain the higher amounts of lysine, methionine and niacin that the turkey poults need for proper development and growth. The starter is recommended for 6 to 8 weeks followed by a good turkey or gamebird grower that is usually 24% protein for another 6 weeks. After that they can be switched to an adult feed.

During the daytime, I free range my turkeys on an approximately 2 acre area that is fenced in with 2"x4"x6' welded wire. This fence has no top rail. It is important to not have a top rail as a top rail encourages the turkeys to use it as a perch. When perched on a top rail they will almost always get down on the wrong side of the fence.
 

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