New to turkeys this year

HHandbasket

The Chickeneer
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
3,319
62
241
El Dorado County, California
After two years of raising chickens and now having enough free-range space out in the sticks to add a couple of turkeys to our flock, we are planning to get a couple of poults this year. I am thinking of getting straight run poults from Ideal (I know the difference between heritage and hatchery, but we want to see if we do well with them before making investments in heritage breeds). Anyway, we are looking at getting 3 to 5 straight-run broad-breasted bronze poults. Yes, these will be eaten this coming fall. Not pets or show birds, just looking for something we can raise, process, and eat.

Is this a pretty decent breed to start with?

Any particular advice regarding housing, etc.? We have a pretty big space out in the woods, and they will be able to free range with the chickens on about 1/4 acre of ranging space. They will also be given 20.6% turkey grower, as well as treats and leavings from the garden (everything from sunflower heads to pumpkins). What are their water requirements? How do they do with nipple waterers, or is there a different delivery system that they do well with?

Thanks for any advice y'all can share.
 

dwest

In the Brooder
8 Years
Nov 5, 2011
21
0
22
Kintore Ontario Canada
The broad-breasted bronze is a decent starting place to learn a bit about raising. I had them last year and was pleased with them. I would recommend a higher protein starter, around 28% to get them going for the first 4 or 5 weeks at least.
 

dsqard

Crazy "L" Farms
11 Years
Jun 11, 2010
5,400
938
401
Not an expert here but I did a little research last year before hatching out some poults. I would check to see if you have a problem with blackhead in your area (search for information on it). If you don't then you can keep the turkeys with the chickens. I don't have a problem with it here and have kept my turkeys with my chickens the whole time. If you decide you like raising them, I really like the Bourbon Red breed. Very tastey and they don't get huge. The tom we processed for Thanksgiving dressed out at around ten pounds and the hen we had for Christmas was around eight pounds. They were hatched around Easter. I have kept a hen and a tom to see if I can hatch some eggs this spring. I have really enjoyed having them and they learned to go back in the pen from the chickens. I did have to clip their wings since this breed are very good fliers but other than that, they have been pretty easy to raise. Two other suggestions I picked up from here, have a few chicks in the brooder with them so that they show the poults where to get food and water and I agree with dwest, higher protien grower food. The local feed store should carry gamebird food. I fed it to both the chicks and the poults when they were growing and it does come in medicated form if you like using the medicated type. I really like the Nutrina brand for the gamebird food.
 

ColbyNTX

Songster
10 Years
May 2, 2009
1,745
10
161
Woods, TX
The 20.6 feed should be fed after 12 weeks for the rest of a turkeys life. Should be started on a 28-30% feed for first 12 weeks. If you are getting BB's,you shouldn't get them in early spring. They are ready to process in 4-6 months, When a BB is 8-9 months, they won't fit in the oven. Timing is everything with a fresh turkey. If you want to eat a fresh bird, what would be the point of it when you get a BB in March, butcher in July and freeze until late November? If you get heritage birds in March, they can eat all they want until November and still fit in any oven this Thanksgiving or next. If you insist on BB's, order for June or July and heritage for March or April.
 

HHandbasket

The Chickeneer
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
3,319
62
241
El Dorado County, California
The other option is process the first group in June/July and order a second group of poults to be delivered in June/July and process THOSE closer to Thanksgiving. We can do 2 groups in 1 year, yes?

I will look for the 28-30% turkey starter. I have seen it, and I know my local guys can get it.
 

ColbyNTX

Songster
10 Years
May 2, 2009
1,745
10
161
Woods, TX
The other option is process the first group in June/July and order a second group of poults to be delivered in June/July and process THOSE closer to Thanksgiving. We can do 2 groups in 1 year, yes?

I will look for the 28-30% turkey starter. I have seen it, and I know my local guys can get it.


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