Newbie to raising Turkeys for meat.

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by cluckey, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. cluckey

    cluckey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 17, 2014
    My husband and I want to try Turkeys this year and would love some advise from some turkey raising experts.
    Here are some questions:
    1. What are good meat bird breeds?
    (we had Cornish X chickens and it was a horrible experience. I'm a bit tainted from getting fast growing big birds)
    2. If free ranging do they retreat to their "coop" at night? Do they need a coop? (we have coons and coyotes)
    3. Can they be raised with our meat chicken chicks if we order them at the same time?
    4. What housing conditions do they need? Space requirements?

    Any other advice would be appreciated! We want to raise a small flock, ideally have one for Thanksgiving Dinner and have a few for the freezer.
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    Read the Turkeys 101 thread.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-turkeys-what-do-i-need-to-know#post_11309891

    Meat bird turkeys are the broad breasted varieties. Heritage varieties will not get as big and will take longer to get to a good size for processing but can b e processed at smaller sizes if not willing to wait for maturity.

    Turkeys can be taught to go in a coop in the evening.

    They will get bigger than your meat chickens and could cause them harm. Also depending on where you live there may be the threat of Blackhead which the chickens will survive and could become carriers to infect your turkeys which without proper treatment will not survive.
     
  3. cluckey

    cluckey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 17, 2014
    Thank you! That is very helpful. Are the broad breasted breeds similar to the Cornish X chickens? Do they have awful health issues? We had some Cornish X chickens and I felt awful for them the whole time we had them. They seemed so uncomfortable.
     
  4. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    In my opinion the BBs are not as bad as the Cornish X but I raised both and didn't have trouble with either. My formula was to feed the Cornish X a quality feed of at least 22% protein for the at least the first 2 weeks. I grew them as fast as I could and started butchering at 4 weeks of age up to 12 weeks. I never tried to keep any of them long term and also allowed them to free range as much as they would.

    For the BBs I started them on a good quality feed of at least 28% protein for at least the first 2 weeks followed by a 24% protein for another couple of weeks and finished them with a 20% after that. I gave the turkeys lots of room and lots of free range time. Mine would dress out in the mid 30 lb. range for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Good luck.
     

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