So many turkey questions!

ephiemarie

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 12, 2013
17
12
94
New to turkey raising, and I’m a little lost, but the birds seem to be thriving. I’ve got 3 poults that are about 8 weeks old—Eastern Wild, Narraganset/Bourbon Red, and a Royal Palm/Bourbon Red. The last two are half siblings and came from the same farm. They currently spend their days outside in their pen but still sleep in a dog crate indoors at night (with 1x4 perches but no heat lamp anymore).

My questions:

1.) I’m confident the royal palm cross is a male and the Nar cross is a female. The Eastern has been displaying since two weeks and has thick legs and square head, but a super tiny snood. We tell him size doesn’t matter. Safe to assume he’s a late-blooming male?

2.) The two cross breeds have a close bond and roost together, and they do their silly pretend courting act. Meanwhile, Eastern boy tucks his head under his wing and shows no interest in either of them. I’m worried about the males fighting come spring, but maybe Mr. TinySnood isn’t interested? He fully believes he’s a people and looks at them with disdain for being lowly turkeys.

3.) Seriously, when will they stop crying???? If they can’t see me, they peep like their hearts are breaking. Hello, predators, here we are.

4.) I live in WI. What’s the coldest winter temp they can endure in an uninsulated shelter during the winter? I’m totally cool with bringing them indoors if needed. I mean, they sleep in my bedroom right now. ‍

5.) If Mr. TinySnood is displaying at my kids when he’s cruising around the living room, is that cause for concern? He’s never been aggressive toward us and really enjoys a good snuggle and a dust bath in my hair, but I don’t want him turning into a bully bird.

6.) How many mealworms are tooooooo many mealworms? Cuz these birds looooove them some worms! They eat game bird chow (just switched from the starter crumbles), but I’m a sucker for their cute puppy-like begging antics with the worms.

7.) These are strictly pets. How long can I expect them to live?

THANK YOU!!!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I love September
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
46,206
82,109
1,522
Wisconsin
Generally you can tell for sure the sex of a turkey after 3-4 months. One displaying so young is always a boy.

Turkeys are loud. Poults are really loud. It would be best to distance yourself a bit from them, especially a Tom. You don't want them too human bonded. It can lead to aggression. I slowly spend less time with mine as they mature. I recommend you distance yourself some so he becomes a turkey.

I'm in Wisconsin. My turkeys spend many nights roosting outside. Turkeys are very winter hardy. The wild ones roost in trees all winter. Yours will be fine. They will be too warm inside. I would recommend you put down hay or straw to stand on in winter outside on top of the snow.
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
34,733
169,765
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Narraganset/Bourbon Red, and a Royal Palm/Bourbon Red.
If the Narragansett was the tom, The cross with the Bourbon Red is sex linked with hens being Golden Narragansett and toms being Red Bronze. If the Bourbon Red was the tom, the cross is Red Bronze whether male or female. If the Royal Palm was the tom the cross with the Bourbon Red is again sex linked with hens being Golden Narragansett and toms being Red Bronzes. If the Bourbon Red was the tom, all the offspring are Red Bronze.
1.) I’m confident the royal palm cross is a male and the Nar cross is a female. The Eastern has been displaying since two weeks and has thick legs and square head, but a super tiny snood. We tell him size doesn’t matter. Safe to assume he’s a late-blooming male?
Not all varieties develop their snoods at the same rate. It is not necessarily a late developing tom trait. Late developing toms have other traits that take longer such developing adult breast feathers and going bald.
2.) The two cross breeds have a close bond and roost together, and they do their silly pretend courting act. Meanwhile, Eastern boy tucks his head under his wing and shows no interest in either of them. I’m worried about the males fighting come spring, but maybe Mr. TinySnood isn’t interested? He fully believes he’s a people and looks at them with disdain for being lowly turkeys.
If you have two toms and a hen, you will have fighting and it will not be good for the hen's health. It is not uncommon for even a low pecking order tom to knock a more dominant tom off of a hen's back during a mating attempt. This can lead to serious injuries to the hen when the tom scrambles to stay on the hen's back. It often leads to a rip in the hen's side.
3.) Seriously, when will they stop crying???? If they can’t see me, they peep like their hearts are breaking. Hello, predators, here we are.
This is your fault. You imprinted them and now they feel that they are lost without their "mother". If they had been hen raised they would "cry" anytime the hen would be out of their sight.
5.) If Mr. TinySnood is displaying at my kids when he’s cruising around the living room, is that cause for concern? He’s never been aggressive toward us and really enjoys a good snuggle and a dust bath in my hair, but I don’t want him turning into a bully bird.
You are raising him to have no fear of people. You imprinted him and once he grows up he will not understand that there is a difference between people and turkeys. He will get to the point that he treats people the same as he would another turkey. The results will not be good when he decides to move up in the pecking order.
6.) How many mealworms are tooooooo many mealworms? Cuz these birds looooove them some worms! They eat game bird chow (just switched from the starter crumbles), but I’m a sucker for their cute puppy-like begging antics with the worms.
Turkeys can start experiencing kidney problems and gout at protein levels of 40%. Mealworms are 50% protein. Mealworms and all other treats combined should not exceed 10% of the total diet. If you continue giving excessive treats, do not expect your turkeys to live long healthy lives.

I have had heritage turkeys live to be 11 years old. There is no reason to think they cannot live longer with proper food and exercise since the ones I had were taken by predators.
 

ephiemarie

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 12, 2013
17
12
94
If the Narragansett was the tom, The cross with the Bourbon Red is sex linked with hens being Golden Narragansett and toms being Red Bronze. If the Bourbon Red was the tom, the cross is Red Bronze whether male or female. If the Royal Palm was the tom the cross with the Bourbon Red is again sex linked with hens being Golden Narragansett and toms being Red Bronzes. If the Bourbon Red was the tom, all the offspring are Red Bronze.

The Bourbon Red Tom is the father of both poults. One has a Narragansett mother, and the other’s mom is a Royal Palm. There was only 1 Tom and 2 hens at the farm, and two batches of poults—one group bronze and one group white/tan cream colored. I’m so confused!

If you have two toms and a hen, you will have fighting and it will not be good for the hen's health. It is not uncommon for even a low pecking order tom to knock a more dominant tom off of a hen's back during a mating attempt. This can lead to serious injuries to the hen when the tom scrambles to stay on the hen's back. It often leads to a rip in the hen's side.

Ok. So should I try to find another hen or two to add to the flock? And if so, when should I do so? Now? Springtime?

You are raising him to have no fear of people. You imprinted him and once he grows up he will not understand that there is a difference between people and turkeys. He will get to the point that he treats people the same as he would another turkey. The results will not be good when he decides to move up in the pecking order.

We will begin distancing ourselves from the birds, but is there anything else I can do to prevent future aggression and promote respect of humans as the birds mature?

Turkeys can start experiencing kidney problems and gout at protein levels of 40%. Mealworms are 50% protein. Mealworms and all other treats combined should not exceed 10% of the total diet. If you continue giving excessive treats, do not expect your turkeys to live long healthy lives.

Thank you! We will lay off the worms! I appreciate your frankness and the time you took to reply!
 

R2elk

*
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 24, 2013
34,733
169,765
1,641
Natrona County, Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
The Bourbon Red Tom is the father of both poults. One has a Narragansett mother, and the other’s mom is a Royal Palm. There was only 1 Tom and 2 hens at the farm, and two batches of poults—one group bronze and one group white/tan cream colored. I’m so confused!
That would indicate that the parents either aren't what they are claimed to be (very common) or that at least one if not more are carrying hidden recessive color genes.

A Bourbon Red Tom over a Narragansett hen and a Royal Palm hen will only produce Red Bronze offspring although the different batches will have different hidden color genes but they should not affect the colors shown.
Ok. So should I try to find another hen or two to add to the flock? And if so, when should I do so? Now? Springtime?
I would eliminate one of the toms before mating begins in the spring. I would also add more hens. I try to keep a minimum of 4 to 5 hens for one tom.
We will begin distancing ourselves from the birds, but is there anything else I can do to prevent future aggression and promote respect of humans as the birds mature?
I suspect it is too late but you can try.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom