Rescued Turkeys on Thanksgiving - Any Advice?

Nupe

Songster
5 Years
Jun 13, 2014
593
213
156
Georgia
The hubby and I rescued 9 turkeys from our neighbors. They're an older couple and the old man has had several surgeries over the last year. The lady hasn't been able to care for them as well as needed and no one would buy them because of the abysmal conditions they were in. I didn't see it but my husband said they were separated 3 or 4 to a 6x9 pens with no shavings or roost and a tin roof over them so they never saw sunlight. Poor critters were living in their own poo. They all ate laying mash in the spring/summer and then only scratch grains in the winter. Last summer, most of the few turkeys brooded died with splayed legs.

We sectioned off about 1200sq feet of 4 foot field fenced yard with an old shed we converted to a coop. There's also a bushy tree/weed thing with plenty of shoots and a large canopy to get under. I doubt they'll use the coop much. They foraged and preened all day. Only a few squabbles between the toms but 2 of the 3 doesn't seem too interested in the alpha roll. After only a few hours it seemed their colors had improved. We think they approve of their new surroundings but since we got them they haven't gobbled. We heard them gobble all the time when at the neighbors'.

I have no idea the age of these turkeys. There were 3 toms and 6 hens. I think they're all BB. 2 toms and one hen is white and the rest are bronze. I don't plan on separating them as long as they get along so I'm guessing we'll have some colorful mutts. One hen was sick and despite seeming to respond well to her new environment, she died last night.

My plan is to fatten them up over the winter and get them healthy for the spring to breed so that I can replace the flock ASAP but I'm not sure if I should even eat these birds. They may end up dogfood. I want my main flock to be no more than 12, 10 hens and 2 toms, and the rest will be tractored for meat.
 

Wee Farmer Sarah

Crossing the Road
Oct 8, 2018
4,339
27,395
892
North Central Massachusetts
The hubby and I rescued 9 turkeys from our neighbors. They're an older couple and the old man has had several surgeries over the last year. The lady hasn't been able to care for them as well as needed and no one would buy them because of the abysmal conditions they were in. I didn't see it but my husband said they were separated 3 or 4 to a 6x9 pens with no shavings or roost and a tin roof over them so they never saw sunlight. Poor critters were living in their own poo. They all ate laying mash in the spring/summer and then only scratch grains in the winter. Last summer, most of the few turkeys brooded died with splayed legs.

We sectioned off about 1200sq feet of 4 foot field fenced yard with an old shed we converted to a coop. There's also a bushy tree/weed thing with plenty of shoots and a large canopy to get under. I doubt they'll use the coop much. They foraged and preened all day. Only a few squabbles between the toms but 2 of the 3 doesn't seem too interested in the alpha roll. After only a few hours it seemed their colors had improved. We think they approve of their new surroundings but since we got them they haven't gobbled. We heard them gobble all the time when at the neighbors'.

I have no idea the age of these turkeys. There were 3 toms and 6 hens. I think they're all BB. 2 toms and one hen is white and the rest are bronze. I don't plan on separating them as long as they get along so I'm guessing we'll have some colorful mutts. One hen was sick and despite seeming to respond well to her new environment, she died last night.

My plan is to fatten them up over the winter and get them healthy for the spring to breed so that I can replace the flock ASAP but I'm not sure if I should even eat these birds. They may end up dogfood. I want my main flock to be no more than 12, 10 hens and 2 toms, and the rest will be tractored for meat.
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
32,922
159,872
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
The hubby and I rescued 9 turkeys from our neighbors. They're an older couple and the old man has had several surgeries over the last year. The lady hasn't been able to care for them as well as needed and no one would buy them because of the abysmal conditions they were in. I didn't see it but my husband said they were separated 3 or 4 to a 6x9 pens with no shavings or roost and a tin roof over them so they never saw sunlight. Poor critters were living in their own poo. They all ate laying mash in the spring/summer and then only scratch grains in the winter. Last summer, most of the few turkeys brooded died with splayed legs.

We sectioned off about 1200sq feet of 4 foot field fenced yard with an old shed we converted to a coop. There's also a bushy tree/weed thing with plenty of shoots and a large canopy to get under. I doubt they'll use the coop much. They foraged and preened all day. Only a few squabbles between the toms but 2 of the 3 doesn't seem too interested in the alpha roll. After only a few hours it seemed their colors had improved. We think they approve of their new surroundings but since we got them they haven't gobbled. We heard them gobble all the time when at the neighbors'.

I have no idea the age of these turkeys. There were 3 toms and 6 hens. I think they're all BB. 2 toms and one hen is white and the rest are bronze. I don't plan on separating them as long as they get along so I'm guessing we'll have some colorful mutts. One hen was sick and despite seeming to respond well to her new environment, she died last night.

My plan is to fatten them up over the winter and get them healthy for the spring to breed so that I can replace the flock ASAP but I'm not sure if I should even eat these birds. They may end up dogfood. I want my main flock to be no more than 12, 10 hens and 2 toms, and the rest will be tractored for meat.
They really need more room than you are currently providing.

Fattening them up does not equal healthy especially when dealing with BB turkeys.

Keeping that many toms and hens in the same enclosure means there will be injured hens come breeding season. The injuries may be severe enough that some hens may end up dead.

Once breeding season comes, there will be battles between the toms.

Scratch grains is not an acceptable feed for any poultry. It is a treat only and should be used as a treat.
 

Nupe

Songster
5 Years
Jun 13, 2014
593
213
156
Georgia
They really need more room than you are currently providing.

Fattening them up does not equal healthy especially when dealing with BB turkeys.

Keeping that many toms and hens in the same enclosure means there will be injured hens come breeding season. The injuries may be severe enough that some hens may end up dead.

Once breeding season comes, there will be battles between the toms.

Scratch grains is not an acceptable feed for any poultry. It is a treat only and should be used as a treat.

The first paragraph was the conditions I found them in. I know scratch isn't a complete food. I mentioned it because I'm pretty sure their diet is what caused all their babies to have splayed legs. Right now I'm feeding them the same "rooster booster" that I feed my chickens which is about 20% protein but they are more interested in foraging the ground. It's still amazing to me how they immediately take to that knowing they've never been on grass. Also, I misspoke on the pen square footage. It's roughly a 60'X60' fenced area and their coop is 12X12.

I plan on finding them a higher protein flock feed and maybe a vitamin supplement to put in their water for a while.
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
32,922
159,872
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
The first paragraph was the conditions I found them in. I know scratch isn't a complete food. I mentioned it because I'm pretty sure their diet is what caused all their babies to have splayed legs. Right now I'm feeding them the same "rooster booster" that I feed my chickens which is about 20% protein but they are more interested in foraging the ground. It's still amazing to me how they immediately take to that knowing they've never been on grass. Also, I misspoke on the pen square footage. It's roughly a 60'X60' fenced area and their coop is 12X12.

I plan on finding them a higher protein flock feed and maybe a vitamin supplement to put in their water for a while.
Quality all flock feeds will contain the higher amounts of lysine, methionine and niacin that will help them. It isn't all about the protein content.

The splayed legs may or may not have had anything to do with the feed the adults were getting. They were most likely caused by improper feed for the poults. Poults really do need a quality turkey or gamebird starter (recommended for the first 6 to 8 weeks) which will normally have 28% to 30% protein. What is more important is the much higher levels of lysine, methionine and niacin that a good turkey or gamebird starter contains.

A good vitamin supplement is to get a quality vitamin B complex available at any grocery store. Mix one half capsule or tablet in one gallon of water. It needs to be their only source of water and must not have any other additives. It also needs to be made fresh daily.
 

Feather Hearts

Crowing
Oct 4, 2016
1,102
2,800
317
with my birds
I love my turkey poults so much, its hard to believe that someone could mistreat such sweet animals. I'm glad that they are out of that terrible situation and in your capable hands. Thank you for saving them.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom