New to turkeys

chickenwhisperer

Songster
12 Years
May 29, 2007
927
2
159
Chicken Country, U S A
Tomoro, I will be picking up 6 poults from the the feed store, for my buddies mom.

She wants to be sure she gets a tom and a hen or 2, the rest are for Thanksgiving and such.

How early will we be able to tell the difference between the sexes?

Will we need to remove the eatin-turkeys and keep them differently?

And btw, her pet turkeys will live in her chicken coop with the chickens, is it better to intro them when they are chicken-sized?
 

pdpatch

Songster
11 Years
Apr 5, 2008
619
5
140
Hastings, Nebraska
Sexing turkey chicks can be done by experts. They can look at the sex organs in the cloaca and tell with 95% accuracy. At least one variety of Turkey's can be feather sexed with in the first few days after they are hatched, but I can't remember which one ( I think the Great Whites but not sure).

The easiest way to sex a turkey is at around 2 to 3 month and using the snood. At least for the first month or two the turkeys should be fed Wild Game starter as this has the correct vitamins and minerals to give them a good start. You can keep them all together but with a small flock it kind of traumatic for the one you are going to keep when you go in to get the one your are butchering. For last years batch we kept them all together, i don't know if it's just me but the remaining ones we have seem to act a bit differently when I am around.

As far as when to introduce i don't know, we have eggs laying chickens, one rooster for breeding, and turkeys for breeding the next batch of meat birds. Yes we have a couple that we are sort of fond of but all our poultry have a job here.

Tom
 

Frosty

Crowing
13 Years
Mar 30, 2008
2,926
145
321
ND
What kind of turkeys are they getting? If they are getting the BB (Broad Breasted) type, it really isn't the best idea to keep ANY of them as pets. They tend to get severe leg problems due to the excessive weight. It can be controlled somewhat by watching their diet, but I still wouldn't recommend them as pets. It can be heart breaking... If they are heritage varieties, that would be much better.

Day old poults, you can kind of tell by looking at the snood bump, then the difference disappears for a few months. I keep mine all together and have never seen them react when some of their buddies disappear. I do go out of my way to not stir them up when I bring some out, so they don't all get chased around (which also keeps the adrenalin down so the meat won't be tough).

Before you put them in with chickens, check with the county ag folks or any close neighbors who have turkeys. Chickens can carry diseases that don't really affect them but can make the turkeys sick (such as a disease called 'blackhead') It isn't a problem everywhere, I would check.

And one last word of caution: TURKEYS ARE ADDICTIVE! There... you were warned!
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Edited to add: Depending on how many chickens there are, you might want to wait util the turkeys are a bit bigger than the chickens. If there are a lot of chickens, you don't want them to gang up on the turkeys.
 
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chickenwhisperer

Songster
12 Years
May 29, 2007
927
2
159
Chicken Country, U S A
I only ended up getting 4 poults, 2 bronze/ 2 white.

They are happily pecking around with the laying chicks till this weekend when we decide if they stay here for now or go straight up to the farm.

Im pretty sure they are the meat bird type, as this is the only turkeys the feed store got in.
Im thinking about the weight factor . . . and pet factor.

Maybe these arent gonna end up as pets at all, maybe we ll have to get a heritage breed.

So even if they are allowed to range and forage, they will still pack on the pounds anyways?
Are they similar to cornishx in that they just arent meant to live long?

Ill have to see if the feed store is gonna get any heritage turkeys in, its still early in the season, right?

Otherwise itsa minimum order probably for turkeys . . .
 

pdpatch

Songster
11 Years
Apr 5, 2008
619
5
140
Hastings, Nebraska
Q:So even if they are allowed to range and forage, they will still pack on the pounds anyways?
Yes they will, but as free range it will be slightly less and slower rate. They still will be big birds if they are BB Bronze or great whites.

Q:Are they similar to cornishx in that they just arent meant to live long?
They could live to be between 4 to 10 years, but that is rare.

Q: Ill have to see if the feed store is gonna get any heritage turkeys in, its still early in the season, right?
Yes it is. But it also depends on the store.

Q: Otherwise its a minimum order probably for turkeys
Some farm/feed store will special order but those are usually have a min, unless you can find several to share an order.

Tom
 

chickenannie

Songster
12 Years
Nov 19, 2007
3,152
40
231
Pennsylvania
By the way, don't put turkey poults in with grown chickens -- they are too little and the hens will peck them and injure them. Wait until the turkeys are at least chicken-sized before you put them together.
 

chickenwhisperer

Songster
12 Years
May 29, 2007
927
2
159
Chicken Country, U S A
Yeah, the poults are in with my hen chicks right now, and see to be doing great.
They have learned how to drink water from the rodent bottles and everything.

I mixed up a couple batches of 50% chick starter and 50% gamebird, they are all eating it right now, but the turkeys are going into the tractor very soon, so everybody can get their specific diet.

The poults are soo cute with their little nubs pokin off their noses.

Anyways, I did my part, I got them.
The deal was, my friends mom would raise them, keep her tom and hen, and the rest get cooked.
I will explain the situation to her and if she wants to try with these birds, fine; if she wants to get some "pet" turkeys, we can do that too.

This is all making me very hungry, time for a midnight snack!
 

paduanchook

Songster
12 Years
Jan 17, 2008
209
6
131
McDavid Florida
I was given a couple of turkeys as young adults. They were not very healthy when I got them, I nursed them to health and they seem happy, the Tom makes me laugh when he gobbles at me. He is a joy and the hen has started laying eggs. But my problem is this: the Tom has something wrong with the joint of his leg, it moves sideways a little bit when he walks. Will this get worse as he gets older? Do I need to buther him? He is not a broadbreasted bronze, nor excessively heavy. He seems to be ok for the moment, but it looks weird when he walks, possibly uncomfortable for him, I don't know. Any recommendations?
 

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