Questions about pet turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by MplsGuy, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. MplsGuy

    MplsGuy New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2016
    Hello Everyone,

    I just joined the forum today after lurking here and there throughout the years as I contemplated getting chickens, which never happened. I was recently revisiting this nagging interest of mine when, somehow, my attention was drawn to the seemingly forgotten turkey.

    Everything I read about them (more personality, friendlier, etc.) made me consider getting a few turkeys strictly as pets. I'm drawn to the standard bronze, as I really love its close resemblance to the wild turkey.

    I've read threads on this forum dating a few years back, but was hoping for your thoughts on these issues:

    -Is three (hopefully one Tom and two hens, but I know it's a game of chance when you start with poults) a good number for a backyard flock? Is two too few?

    -Is a shed 8 feet wide, long and tall big enough for a coop for 2-3 birds?

    -Could I just use dried leaves as coop bedding and add new leaves over dirty litter? (Trying to be economical.)

    -Is a fenced run measuring about 16 feet long by 7-8 feet wide adequate for 2-3 birds? (I'd let them out into my yard when I'm home. I live in the city, so it's not a huge space, but the backyard is about 64 feet long and the entire lot is about 6,900 sq feet, 1,000 of that comprised of the house.)

    -Do I need bedding in a run? Or is plain dirt OK?

    -How often do you think I would have to clean out the litter in a run/coop of that size?

    -I tend to see a lot of people talking about the other heritage breeds more than the standard bronze. What's your experience with the standard bronze from a pet perspective?



    I'm far from making a final decision on whether I'll do this, but for now, all of the reading and research is a lot of fun. Thank you for your time and help!

    -MplsGuy
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    Just my opinion but if I lived in town, I would not have any turkeys.
     
  3. MplsGuy

    MplsGuy New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2016

    Thanks for the input. Is it because they're too big? Loud? Messy?

    Thanks.
     
  4. weirdturkeyfreak

    weirdturkeyfreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in the city and have birds, i only have oneturkey i used to have 4. As long as you have the correct permits and your neighbors dont complain the city cant take them away from you
    Turkeys are very social creatures so 2 will be fine. Maybe 3. Keep in mind they may fight, depending on who is dominant, if they are. I change their bedding once a week sometimes every two weeks depending on how gross it gets. Leaves are fine, do not use straw or hay because i've had birds who got allergies from that. 8x8 barn is okay for 3 birds, as for their run? I never really got to expirament with that-- they do like to fly so you'll want to put a top on it unless u train them to stay in the yard (either way their curiousity will have them explore, keep an eye on them).

    The main thing i have to worry about in the city are raccons, possums, dogs, cats, and hawks. So build sturdy fencing. Turkeys will fight other animals but only if they have to.

    Dont get turkeys that are bred for eating (they have a lot of health problems and die quickly) standard bronze are okay. Also, dont feed them meat bird food (that stuff that you cant really tell what it is because its all ground up) its designed to make birds fat. I use wild bird seed, stuff u see at your local grocery store, the stuff i buy contains rye, millet, corn, and sunflower seeds. You'll want to give them a balanced diet.

    When i think of more i'll let ya know. also send me a message if you have more questions! I love to help with this stuff
     
  5. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    You proposed diet is not good for adult turkeys or any poultry as far as that goes. Wild bird seed can be used as a treat only and should not be any more than 10% of their diet. It contains far too high of a level of fat and too low of a percentage of protein. A wild bird seed mixture typically contains approximately 10% protein while straight sunflower seeds is about 14% protein.

    Adult turkeys should have a balanced feed with at least 16% protein. Adult hens that are laying eggs also need supplemental calcium which is normally fed as free choice oyster shell.

    As far as meat bird food being bad because you can't see what is in it, there is a tag sewn onto the bottom seam of the bag which lists the ingredients and their percentages. You don't have to be able to see what is in the feed to be able to tell whether it is good or not.
     
  6. MplsGuy

    MplsGuy New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2016

    Thanks for the advice. Sounds like your yard was able to handle the birds and still look presentable to neighbors? I was wondering if that's why the other poster didn't recommend them for city lots -- because of the wear and tear to a city lot.

    If I went forward with this, the run would be covered. I have 5-foot fencing for the whole yard, but I know turkeys can fly over that.
     
  7. MplsGuy

    MplsGuy New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2016

    Thanks for the info on feed. Good to know.
     
  8. weirdturkeyfreak

    weirdturkeyfreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Birds are scavengers they can eat just about anything. I was just suggesting wild bird seed because thats what works for me, everybody does it different, i've known people who put their turkeys on strict corn. I just referred to meat bird food that way because it was the only way i could think to describe it. But like i said, everybody does things differently, and i was making a suggestion (that works for me).
     
  9. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Based on the actual definition of scavengers, most birds and particularly turkeys are not scavengers.

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/scavenger

    Turkeys are omnivores and can eat most anything but a diet such as you described is not a healthy diet for turkeys since it is far too low in percent protein and too high in fats. Edited by Staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2016
  10. mjbws

    mjbws Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, MplsGuy - Did you ever get any turkeys? I noticed you stated you wanted to get them strictly as pets. My daughter, who is a vegan, wanted to rescue a broad-breasted from being a Thanksgiving dinner. The result is Ginger, who truly is one of the best pets we've ever had! We live in the city zone, with close neighbors. Granted, we only have ONE turkey, so she fits in great! The neighbors all love her! Since Ginger's a pet, she's mainly indoors as part of the family. She roams around our house like an indoor cat or dog would. At night, she goes in an extra-large dog crate with all of her toys, food, water, and bed. When she is outdoors, we are always with her and she sticks right by us. I do have a chicken coop with a run that I'm planning on putting in the backyard, but she would only stay in there during the day for short periods. We've had her since day one, so she is very attached to us!!! I never thought in a million years that I would have a turkey as a pet, but now I'm wondering why I didn't get one sooner! [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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