Stupid question: When do turkeys look distinctively turkey-ish?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Rosalind, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    I ordered some turkey poults with my chick order this year.

    DH does not approve of turkeys, it turns out. I thought I could bring him around, but he is completely convinced that he will end up having to slaughter them himself (he doesn't want to, although he eats store-boughten--I can slaughter them or get a friend to do it) or that they will cost substantially more to feed (I'll buy the feed out of my own pocket).

    However, too late, the turkeys are ordered, and 5 Sweetgrass/Calico poults are due to arrive next month. At first they're going to look pretty much like big chicks, so I'm going to tell him they are packing peanuts. Two weeks later it will be June and warm enough to put the chicks out in the coop. DH does not go in any coop of any kind if he can possibly help it, and we have two--one for the chickens and another built by the previous owner that is going to be the Turkey Coop.

    When can I expect them to look really very much like a turkey, as opposed to a big chicken? At what point should I expect DH to come screaming in the house that there are TURKEYS in the bleeping yard? Bearing in mind that DH cannot tell a domestic turkey from a wild one, and goes out of his way to pretend the coops don't exist. I'm hoping I can get all the way till, oh, September, before he realizes that not only are there turkeys, but they are my turkeys...
     
  2. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    lol I kinda sorta did something like this to my wife. I only had to sleep on the couch for a few days [​IMG]
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    52
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Turkey poults are often smaller than chicks. They will have a bump on their nose (snood) to distinguish them from other gamebirds. It takes a couple weeks until they start to look more like a guinea than a chick.

    Turkey poults are also fragile. They have to be taught to do everything. You will have to either put them in with chicks to teach them to eat and drink or do it yourself. They won't hit the ground running like other poultry.
     
  4. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    They will be in the brooder with the regular--I mean, the chicken--chicks under a nice toasty heat lamp until early- or mid-June, when it starts being 80-90 degrees outside here. DH is used to me fussing over a brooder in the spring, it won't surprise him. I usually do watch very closely and teach anything that isn't eating/drinking to get the hang of things, as well as cleaning pasty behinds with a warm washcloth if needed.

    The chicks I ordered are Silkies and true Araucanas, both of which are banty-sized. Will the poults be smaller than them? I sorta thought they'd be about the same or slightly larger.

    I'm trying to convince my Cochin hen to be broody, as she's a pretty good foster mom. So far, she hasn't been terribly interested in setting on fake eggs, although she did give our Pyrenees the stink-eye and made him back away from the nest boxes.
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    52
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    They will be in the brooder with the regular--I mean, the chicken--chicks under a nice toasty heat lamp until early- or mid-June, when it starts being 80-90 degrees outside here. DH is used to me fussing over a brooder in the spring, it won't surprise him. I usually do watch very closely and teach anything that isn't eating/drinking to get the hang of things, as well as cleaning pasty behinds with a warm washcloth if needed. The chicks I ordered are Silkies and true Araucanas, both of which are banty-sized. Will the poults be smaller than them? I sorta thought they'd be about the same or slightly larger.

    They will look like turkey poults before then and will be huge compared to silkie and bantum sized chicks. You will have to separate them out as turkey poults often look for reasons to die on you. Chickens can give the turkeys diseases which cause them to die quickly. Turkeys poults also don't do well on the ground before around 10 weeks.

    You seriously should consider a separate place to brood the turkey poults.​
     
  6. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    Hmm. OK, I can keep them separated, that's not a problem. It's a big barn and I've got plenty of big old Rubbermaid boxes, hardware cloth, lamps and feeders.

    When you say "huge," how huge is that exactly? Like, bigger than a big meat chicken? I've got quite the mix of breeds in all sizes, could they pass for a big standard chicken for a few weeks? When do they start going bald?

    This is the same guy who, upon seeing our neighbor's escaped Narragansett in the yard, thought it was a wild turkey and didn't understand why it was all alone without a flock. I'm thinking he won't look too close.
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    52
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    The best thing I can tell you is to expect a bird that doesn't look like a chicken after a couple weeks.

    By 8 - 10 weeks they are scruff and tall and gangly like a teenage boy. LOL
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    109
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Maybe you just need to admit that you ordered some turkeys before he put his foot down, 'you snooze you lose' [​IMG]

    I've got 3 BBB poults coming May 1 as a trial balloon, will put in the freezer and *hopefully* replace with some 'real' breed next year if I can keep them far enough away from DH that he doesn't find reasons to disapprove [​IMG] (He knows they're coming, just not thrilled about expansion of our species count)

    Totally jealous of your getting a neato breed, make sure to post about how you like them! [​IMG]

    Have fun, good luck, (perhaps you could tell him they're guinea fowl to eat ticks... wow, those guineas sure are growing big... gee, do you think maybe they're not guineas after all... LOL)

    Pat
     
  9. PQ

    PQ Chillin' With My Peeps

    588
    1
    141
    Feb 5, 2009
    Platina, Ca.
  10. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Kinda depends on how bright your husband is too. My daughter came home from college this weekend and saw my six week old turkey in the bathroom and thought he was a chicken. And we've raised turkeys before so it's not like this is some new animal she couldn't identify. (sigh)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by