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Really want to try some turkeys! Next year.....

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Willow's Meadow, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Songster

    Apr 16, 2010
    So I already have chickens. But next year I would love to try raising some turkeys to kill and eat. But I don't know much about them. Anyone have any tips for a someone intrested in raising turkeys for the first time? What breed? Any tips on caring for them? I see a lot of different types of turkeys on Cackle Hatchery. Like Large White or Bronze. What's the difference?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  2. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    I've been raising my BB bronze turkeys alongside my chickens, with no difference in how I treat them. They even go into the coop at night with the other birds. 10 weeks old, and do they ever have a personality. Butchering time may be a bit hard. Whites provide a pretty carcass, Bronze are traditional, and may have some black pin feathers that remain after plucking that may turn some folks off.

    I'll definitely be getting more turkeys next year, as they are a treat to raise (so far).
  3. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Songster

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    If you just want meat, broad-breasteds are fine. But they don't fly! If you want fun and variety, get heritage turkeys. They come in lots of colors, fly if you don't clip the wings, and have a body shape that is much closer to a wild turkey. They won't have as much meat, but they will reporoduce naturally for you if you keep a couple over winter.

    Depending on diseases in your area, you may or may not want to raise turkeys and chickens together. Check with your local extension office.

    Books are full of cautions about how hard turkeys are to start on feed and water. I haven't found them to be any harder than chickens. I do give them extra light for the first couple of days to help them find food. I don't really know if its needed or not.

    I lived for chickens until I got turkeys. Now I go out and sit with them for about 30 minutes a day just to relax. I love their noises and they are very friendly.

    There is no way you won't have fun with turkeys. I agree with dogfish, butchering your turkeys will be a little heartbreaking.
  4. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Songster

    Feb 22, 2010
    All the advice that I have says turkeys need a higher protein diet than chickens. If you are intending to eat them that is probably very important advice.
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Songster 10 Years

    Mar 30, 2008
    I raise BBW turkeys for meat and heritage for fun. If you have a bunch of turkeys that all look alike, it isn't as hard to butcher. I will say that young BB turkeys can fly, and I have found them sitting on top of a 6 foot fence. If you can let them free range, it helps slow down the weight gain and is easier on their legs.

    I love it when they find me in the garden and start chattering behind me like they are discussing why I am throwing perfectly good plants away... Caution: Turkeys are addictive! Don't say that we didn't warn you! [​IMG]

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