Old McJungle has a farm, now i need to know about turkeys!!!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Jungle2354, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. Jungle2354

    Jungle2354 New Egg

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Conway, South Carolina
    I have been raising chickens for some time. Messed with hogs rabbits and several other critters. But know I am gonna give turkeys a try. I have about 3-1/2 acres and plenty of predators in the surrounding woods, so free range is not something that I really wanna risk. I need some ideas on coop sizes and maybe some pics to get me headed in the right direction. Also any info on run size would be great. I am gonna do 7-8 giant whites just to let people know in case they have any experience with this particular breed. Thank you all for any help in advance.
     
  2. MountainDirt

    MountainDirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 23, 2013
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    I'm trying turkeys for the first time too. Six Bourbon Red and six Chocolate from Porter's Turkeys. I was going to try the padlock system with mine using electric netting. Gonna grow plenty of grains, cover crops, and other stuff for them with a 3/8th of an acre and then next year rotate and separate out the two breeds for mating.
     
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  3. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2013
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    Giant Whites (aka White Holland) turkeys are broad breasted and usually require butchering within 4-6 months unless the feed is regulated and lots of free ranging is available. They usually do not breed naturally, so you will need to re-establish a new flock once or twice a year.

    Are you looking to make a permanent coop and pen structure or just something temporary for this flock until butchering time?
     
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  4. Jungle2354

    Jungle2354 New Egg

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Conway, South Carolina
    Something temporary till its butchering time.
     
  5. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eight T-posts...depending on how tall you are, at least 6 1/2 feet tall t-posts because they go into the ground about 12-18". Chicken wire - no larger than 1 inch holes. Sink the posts. Wrap the chicken wire - have the wire extend on the ground about a foot around the pen - you'll have to cut a slit at the corners. Secure the wire to T-posts with zip ties. Use some more chicken wire or plastic deer/bird netting and cover the top. You will need to figure out how you want to do a gate. I have seen gates made of wood and tied with rope to the t-posts and I have seen just a chicken wire flap with the opening edge stapled to a piece of 1x2. The flap has to be a couple feet longer than the door opening so that you can secure it well without leaving any seam openings.

    Around the outside where you have chicken wire on the ground, dump dirt, pile some rocks or like we did, we used cut logs. This will keep something from digging under walls of your pen because a predator would have to know to start digging a foot away from the side of your pen and then dig a foot long tunnel to get to the birds..they won't do that.

    You can put plastic or a tarp over one end of your pen. Make a few roosts with cinderblocks and landscaping timbers or 4x4's (put the wood in the cinder block holes and you can make the blocks as high as you'd like. Put the roosts at least partly under the tarp so the birds can roost there in the rain or in the shade of the tarp if it's hot. Feeder in the area under the tarp..somewhat centered so that if it is windy rain, you won't get real soggy food in the feeder. Waterer can go by the door...so you don't have to haul heavy water thru the pen.

    When you are done with the pen...move the logs, cut the zip ties, roll up your chicken wire to be used again. You will have to rock the t-posts back and forth to loosen them as you pull up...hard work, but they will come up unless you set one into a root..LOL.
     
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  6. neverbdone

    neverbdone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lake Isabella, CA
    What is referred here as giant whites are Broad Breasted Whites. Not White Hollands. White Hollands are a heritage breed and do mate naturally and are excellent parents. BBWs are very different than White Hollands.
     
  7. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I stand corrected. I don't know anyone who has White Holland but they are in the SOP and it says the following: "(May be referred to in commercial terminology as Broad Whites or Large Whites.)"...however I did make an assumption regarding the breeding and I apologize. By weight, they are no bigger than our Heritage Bronze.
     
  8. Jungle2354

    Jungle2354 New Egg

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Conway, South Carolina
    Thank you so much for your info. You have very useful. One more question then I will leave you alone. What do you recommend for food? I just do crushed corn from local feed and grain for the chickens. Also I alternate with Tractor supply high protein food for the chickens. Would that all be fine to give the gobblers?
     
  9. chknoodles

    chknoodles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turkeys are "Gamebirds" and require a higher protein than chickens and a different vitamin/mineral combination. A Heritage breed turkey will be growing for 2 years..first year to develop a strong skeletal structure and muscle and the 2nd year to put on weight to maturity. Check your yellow pages for a Co-op or feed store that caters more to farm animals. Tractor Supply is a wonderful place and we have left them quite a wad of cash over the years, but when it comes to gamebird feed, they are lacking. Corn or a scratch mix is a fantastic treat for a turkey, but it cannot be the whole menu. Look for a turkey/quail/gamebird feed that is about 30% protein and feed this for the first 6 months. Others will say "I feed my turkeys the same thing I feed my chickens and they did/do just fine." Yes, those birds survived on what they were fed and probably had a higher fat ratio than muscle and they probably didn't grow to their full potential (although free ranging will allow the birds to eat lots of protein-rich bugs and that helps). It has been years since I lived in Charleston, SC...so I can't recommend any particular feed store operation.
     
  10. Jungle2354

    Jungle2354 New Egg

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Conway, South Carolina
    Thanks again for the help. I actually live in Conway just inland from Myrtle Beach. All the info has been outstanding grade A stuff. Cant say thanks enough. I will post some picks once they arrive from Murray McMurray.
     

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