Raising Eastern Wild Turkeys?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Getaway Gal, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Getaway Gal

    Getaway Gal In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2009
    Hocking Hills
    Does anyone have experience with raising Eastern Wild Turkeys? I am curious about what is involved with them that would be any different than any other breed. I know from the hatchery websites that a permit could be required...what is involved with that? How are they to keep vs. other breeds? Can you free range them? Will they run off with other wild turkeys? Can you keep them with other breeds? Any information you could provide would be great.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Kennyog

    Kennyog Songster

    May 7, 2009
    Oak Grove
    In Missouri you MUST have a permit.Also,you have to have pens to keep them in before your permit is issued.You cannot let them free range in Missouri.That was told to me by the Missouri Dept. of Conservation.I was wanting to raise some and there is too much regulation for me.I'll stick with the domestic stock.Take care.
  3. chunky_ficken

    chunky_ficken In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2009
    Pacific Northwest
    I have Easterns, and where I live, I do not need special permits. I have never raised any other type of turkey, so I can't tell you the difference between raising them and other types.

    I will say that they are fun to raise and can be as tame as you make them. They do like to travel a bit, they have hopped over my fence quite frequently. I keep their wings clipped, but they still can make it over my 5' fence. I had a hard time deciding to wing clip them, because they can still get over the fence, but it has kept them more close to home. I just wanted to give them an edge over any potential predators. Wild turkeys can fly quite a distance.

    I have even gotten a call from the principal of the middle school down the street that my most tame turkey was out on the play ground playing with the kids.........also, we have a 3 month old BR/RP cross turkey and a BBB hen, and everybody gets along.

    My Tom stays in the yard, but the hens will go on a walkabout now and again, especially after their poults leave the nest. They seem to want to wander for a couple of weeks after setting hard and raising their young.

    After about 2-3 weeks they become interested in the gobbler again and begin to mate. About 2-3 weeks after mating, they start looking for a place to nest. I have built nest boxes for them, and 2 of 3 use the boxes, but one of them prefers the tall grass I keep in part of my yard.

    I have tried hatching their eggs in an incubator and had 50% success. I have had much better success with the hens setting on their eggs. If you have a breeding pair, and the hen begins to lay, mark each egg so you can keep track of how many they lay. They will begin to spend more time on the nest after 10-12 eggs, and then they will set hard when they stop laying.

    I have three hens, and between the three, they layed between 13 and 18 eggs each.

    Yes, you can free range them........mine have access to 24% poultry feed and plenty of grass and bugs.......plus the wife feeds them apples and watermelon.

    Mine don't like to roost in the coop I have....they prefer to fly up on the edge of a pen I use for chickens.......and they will roost in trees if you have trees.

    That is pretty much my experience with my Easterns......we have had a lot of fun this summer hatching out 2 different runs of poults, and we're looking forward to next summer. I've been told that I could possibly even have a fall hatch.......but who knows?

    Hope this info helps........and have fun!

  4. guertinderek

    guertinderek Hatching

    Mar 27, 2013
    Do the male tom eastern wild turkeys grow beards an how big is your bigest tom an how big is his beard an do they acttualy look like the eastern wild turkey an im geting 15 in may how big of a pen should i build for them thank you very much hope to here back from you soon. would you be able to post a pic of your tom??
  5. Ravie

    Ravie Songster

    Aug 4, 2010
    Greenfield, Indiana
    I have raised Rio Grande turkeys which are very closely related to Easterns. I have also raised Beltsville and Broadbreasted meat varieties.

    All of my turkeys have done well free-ranging, but I feel that the wild variety was much more efficient. In fact, I don't have to do much to keep them happy. They sleep in trees, eat bugs and grass. They do have access to chicken layer feed, but I never actually see them eat it. That doesn't mean they don't, it's just that the wild turkeys are a bit more "wild" and standoffish than the domestic varieties.

    The domestic turkeys are very docile and tame. In fact, they're rather endearing. They follow me around like dogs, and will even tolerate wearing little hats (hey, I have small children and they find it amusing). They come when called and want to be a part of EVERYTHING we do outside. The wild turkeys hang out with us too, but tend to be about 10-15 feet away while observing us.

    I let all my birds intermingle, but they all form their own groups. Wild turkeys actually hung out with the guineas, and the meat and Beltsville birds had their own little group. /shrug
  6. jonaspolaris

    jonaspolaris Hatching

    Jun 6, 2012
    We have 5 wilds right now. They are fun to raise and fun to watch strut around. We keep ours in a large pen and they seem to do well. The pen is about 20' by 20'. I haven't raised any other breeds but they are pretty easy to raise and haven't been a lot of trouble at all.
  7. chicks and hens2

    chicks and hens2 Chirping

    Sep 28, 2011
    This is all great information for me.My DH has been busy building nest boxes for the new hoop coop,which they go in and out of throughout the day to get their feed and water. Otherwise they are in an enclosed garden space for right now that is 24' x 48' or so. They seem perfectly content. We have only had them for a couple weeks and the 3 hens are between one and 1- 1/2 yrs old or younger. One or more of the hens started laying eggs 3 days ago. we now have two eggs but I don't know who is laying it yet. The first one was laid on the garden soil, which I moved inside the hoop coop and put inside the temporary nest which is an X-large dog kennel which has some wood shavings and old grass clippings in. Today the second egg was laid a little closer to the coop.
    Do you close yours in at night? I haven't seen any mating going on, but that could have happened prior to us buying them.
    We in Washington state aren't required to have permits. They can free range but the wings were clipped before we got them.Do you usually clip one or both?
    We don't have a top on the "pen"( garden) they are currently in and they never have tried flying out. The fence they are in is only 4' high.The one they will be permanently going to is 8 feet high on three sides and 6' on a third side which is our neighbors fence.
    These are not very trusting yet, but I don't think their previous homes spent much time with them so we are taking it slow.
    The Jake struts around and fans his tail but I haven't seen him even come close enough to even try mounting them.
    They seem to be a great breed for us and we're very happy with them.They are getting to the point that they are easy to lead the to walk into their coop at night as long as I walk slowly to the side and behind them and wait for them without startling them.
    Hope this helps. We are also raising BBB poults that are in a brooder and will be kept in a different enclosure and hoop coop as they will be a much bigger bird and are here until the holiday's.
    Do you raise yours for meat at all or do you sell the poults? If you eat any of them how old before you process one are they? We will keep these as our breeding stock and plan to eventually have one for the dinner table.
    Oh one more thing. The eastern Wild turkey are mostly all dark meat including the breast, but the breast will not be as big as any broad breasted varieties, at least that is my understanding. Please correct anything I have wrong here as I know very little, just what I've read or experienced or by information passed onto to me from others.
  8. majorpuppy

    majorpuppy In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2015
    This is an old thread. But can a chicken raise the wild turkeys???? I was told they would die if a chicken raised them.

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