Success! Turkey poults in the garden!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by moenmitz, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since my weeder geese have to be supervised in the garden, their time in there is limited. They are free ranging the yard now, so they dont need to be fenced, but it just pained me not to be using my garden fence for something other than keeping the cats out, lol. It was a lot of work to put up! I decided to introduce my 6 week old turkey poults to the great outdoors. Since they still look like dinner to the cats, they needed protection. I temporarily stole the duck house and yard (sorry guys) which is adjacent to my vegetable garden. The poults are AWESOME in there! They have not touched a plant in the three days they have been in their, other than to snatch a bug off of it. Because they are still pretty small, they dont trample the plants, and they spend their entire day lookng for bugs. They are starting to till up the soil between the rows nicely, and have not damaged any plants or roots at all. I do not use any pesticides or chemicals of any kind in my garden, so organic bug control is a big plus for me. Not sure how they will do once they are bigger, they might squash things then, but they are definitely being a big help now. Another plus- they fill up on so many bugs that they barely touch their feeder-I am going through WAY less feed for them now, which, at $33 for a 50 pound bag is a big deal! (Organic turkey starter, or even organic game bird feed is impossible to find aorund here. I have to drive to MMH, which is about 40 minutes from here, to get the turkey feed, and they are ridiculously high. Anybody know if I can switch them to chick food since they are supplementing their diet with lots of bugs now? Would that be sufficient protein? I can get organic chick starter from my feed store-they order it in, still $22 a bag, but cheaper than the turkey feed!) Anyway, thought I would share this for those of you who have poults taking up space, and bugs in your garden! I am sorta hoping they can do such a fantastic job on the bug control that i can justify not killing them. We have really gotten attached to the durn critters!
     
  2. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chick starter is not high enough in protein for turkeys. If you can't find turkey starter then try to at least get gamebird starter. They need lots of protein. If they are getting lots of bugs that will help on the protein requirements but I would still get them on a higher protein feed of at least 27% or more.
     
  3. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How long do they need to be on starter? They are 6 weeks now. Is grower lower protein?
     
  4. Red Tie

    Red Tie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My turkey starter is labeled for the first eight weeks then on to the finisher feed. That is assuming you are eating them. I don't know what you switch them to if they are pets.

    I love my little turkeys. They are so cute and make the sweetest sounds. But, they do taste so very good...

    [​IMG] Jane
     
  5. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some recommend starter up to 16 weeks. I just bought a bag of starter that is 30% protein. It is either put out by MFA or Purina. Pricey...very pricey.
     
  6. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are doing organic feed as well, so even pricier. Argh. I cant get organic game bird feed ANYWHERE, my feed store can order organic CHICK starter from Purina...that is it. The organic turkey feed I have been driving almost an hour to get, and it is $33 a bag...just nuts!

    If I were to give them just chick starter, or grower...could I supplement with something to make up for the protein difference?
     
  7. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorghum or processed alfalfa pellets is sometime added at the feed mill to increase protein in feed. But it will probably be harder to find the organic wild bird starter. Now days you can really tell it's not used much in feed since there is so few fields of sorghum or alfalfa around and most of the alfalfa processing plant are now gone.

    Some times we use bologna that was on sale at the grocery store, but even on sale that can get expensive.

    Purina does make very good feed but it's usually not cheap.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  8. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:moenmitz,
    I am so glad to hear about your little mini-ecosystem you've got going with the turkeys in the garden. I do something similar... when the japanese beetles arrive, I put my 5 guineas in the garden and they go crazy eating every beetle in site. They love it, and no more work for me!
    This spring I put a "trampoline" pen inside my garden fence for my turkey chicks and moms. Well, they were running short on space inside the pen, so I let one turkey family out (3 poults and 1 mom) and they insist on living in the garden now. I put out water and feed for them, but they have not disturbed a thing (in terms of vegetables). They eat bugs, dust bathe next to the potatoes plants, and they nibble grass along the paths. The mom doesn't disturb plants either. The hen mom just started laying eggs in a nest next to the compost pile under some vines. Not sure that's the best idea, but I thought it was interesting that they seem so happy living in the garden. I did have to put up a small barrier where I just planted new seeds because I was afraid they'd dust bathe there. At night they fly over the 3-foot chicken wire garden fence to roost on the pasture fence about 10 feet away. In the morning they fly BACK into the garden!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  9. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:LOL- I Was just reading one of your posts about being a "hillbilly" cause of having turkeys hatching in a wheelbarrow on your porch! My husband and I are often joking about how "redneck" we have become-hanging out in the barn watching TV with our goats and geese. At least we aren't alone! I am glad to know you are having success even with mama in the garden-maybe mine will be able to stay there after they are grown after all.
     
  10. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, hillbilly is the last thing I ever would have called myself, but that's what chickens can lead to apparently...
    Good luck with yours!
     

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