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Starting with turkeys...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by DVTO2, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. DVTO2

    DVTO2 Songster

    Mar 10, 2010
    I have perused some old threads and got some ideas but thought I would ask some questions specific to my situation, and location, here in Northern CT.

    I have had a very successful first season raising yellow sex links for eggs. I built what turned out to be a very functional tractor (with much good advice from BYC members, you can see it on my page) with a covered run. I haven't let them free range because I have lots of predators, hawks that live on the property, regular visits from coyotes, etc.

    I'd like to try raising turkeys and unlike my chickens, am thinking I would like a heritage breed. I'd be raising them for meat and I like the taste test results for Bourbon Reds and Midget Whites and so am thinking about them, leaning towards the Reds. I'd like to keep breeding them as well.

    My first question is, if I start with adults, can I free range these birds, and if so, do I need to build housing for them, or will they just roost in the trees. I have 7 acres, mostly wooded, with about 2 acres of pasture/backyard.

    How far will the birds roam? I would locate their feed (and coop if I went that route) near my chicken coop, which is about 500 feet from a public bike path, separated by a strip of woodland - will they terrorize the cyclists? Do I need to contain them in a fenced area?

  2. PatS

    PatS Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    My birds are in a fenced yard (fence is 6') and have two acres to free range. When someone walks (or rides a bike) down the street, they run the length f the front fence, yelping and gobbling. When someone comes in the gate, the girls yelp and the male rushes to investigate. So yes, if you don't have a fence between your yard and the bike path, they will be out there, checking out/scaring the bikers. (Turkey motto: "Hmmm, looks dangerous. I better investigate.")

    Even with a wing clipped, they could probably get out of the yard, they just haven't chosen to yet.

    Last month's full moon, an owl tried to take one of my BR females (6 mo.-old). She was roosting at midnight on our porch railing, right next to the back door. But it was an exceedingly bright night. Since then, I've put them to roost in the chickens' outdoor, wire covered run. I don't like to leave them in there with the chickens during the day, so if we go out of town overnight, I think they'll either go into a covered kennel, or I'll chance them spending the night on the porch railing if it isn't a full moon.

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