Rescuing a turkey?!?!

1goose2ducks

Songster
Mar 17, 2018
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Since my family and I are having a hard time becoming a vegetarian we are going to try something a bit different to help our feathered friends. Adopting a turkey from a farm on thanksgiving. I have two questions. The first is will it live to a full grown adult. I know meat chickens have to be culled but is it the same with turkeys? The second is will it be able to get along with my chickens or my ducks better?If any of you have adopted or bought meat turkeys please share any advice/stories! Thanks.
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
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Jul 18, 2013
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Turkeys raised for consumption are often broad breasted turkeys. These types of turkeys are expected to be butchered when they are so many weeks old. They tend to grow huge if let to grow older. They get so large that their legs can not support them. They grow so large that they are unable to breed naturally and are artificially inseminated. My neighbor kept one that was supposed to be eaten for Thanksgiving. He did not do well. Had to be picked up to be put inside every night as he couldn't get over the rather short barrier. Not an easy thing to pick up a turkey that weighs about 50 pounds. He could barely walk.

On the other hand I had a heritage breed of turkey. Those can breed naturally. They don't get unusually large. They can live for years. Mine lived with geese and chickens and did okay.

I would suggest you ask some questions at the farm where you are getting your turkey. Find out the breed and whether it is the broad breasted type or a heritage breed.
 

rjohns39

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I too would recommend a heritage breed turkey. Mine get along fine with the chickens and ducks. Sometimes act out a bit, but always short termed. And for the bonus, if you spend a lot of social time with your turkey(s), it (they) will become like a big feathered dog. An added bonus, young Toms and Toms in general keep aerial predators at bay. I'll never forget the sight of four BR Toms taking flight to intercept a red tail hawk. The hawk can certainly out fly them but it was still amazing to watch.
 

rjohns39

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I will go one step farther. Do Not adopt a single turkey. Turkeys need companions of their own kind which means that chickens and ducks are not suitable companions. If you adopt a couple of hen turkeys they will do much better for you than toms will.
In the "for what it's worth category" R2 is my go to source for all things Turkey. If he says it, believe it...
 

cassie

Free Ranging
13 Years
Mar 19, 2009
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Since my family and I are having a hard time becoming a vegetarian we are going to try something a bit different to help our feathered friends. Adopting a turkey from a farm on thanksgiving. I have two questions. The first is will it live to a full grown adult. I know meat chickens have to be culled but is it the same with turkeys? The second is will it be able to get along with my chickens or my ducks better?If any of you have adopted or bought meat turkeys please share any advice/stories! Thanks.
If you get a broadbreasted turkey it will not do well. Another thing, chickens can carry diseases like blackhead that affect turkeys. The heritage turkeys can make fine pets particularly if you get them newly hatched and work with them.
 

cassie

Free Ranging
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Mar 19, 2009
7,378
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I will go one step farther. Do Not adopt a single turkey. Turkeys need companions of their own kind which means that chickens and ducks are not suitable companions. If you adopt a couple of hen turkeys they will do much better for you than toms will.
Just a comment. For many years I had a bronze tom turkey for a pet. This was a long time ago so I don't think he was the same as the bronze broad breasted turkeys of today. He got pretty big, about fifty pounds, but he wasn't enormous and he had no trouble getting around. I raised him from the time he was a baby chick. I could do anything with him but he hated my husband with a purple passion.
 

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