talk turkey

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by snugglepup, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. snugglepup

    snugglepup Songster

    Apr 15, 2007
    Creedmoor, NC
    Ok, so we've been tossing around the idea of trying some turkeys next year. The big goal would be to raise our own thanksgiving turkey. So what do I need to know? What breed is the best for this purpose? How are turkeys different from chickens. How many should I buy if I want 3 to survive to butchering age?
  2. I had been thinking of doing this myself next year as well, so i will be interested in the responses. I plan on buying from a hatchery, they usually make 15 as the min to buy. I my self was thinking of getting the giant broad breasted turkeys, i heard they make good birds for the table reaching around 18-25lbs.
  3. boilerjoe_96

    boilerjoe_96 Songster

    Apr 4, 2007
    West Lafayette, IN
    My Bronze Broad Breasted Turkey was hatched on 4/30.

    Last Thursday I processed him and got a 22 lb bird dressed.

    really didn't do anything special. It ate a lot of Chick Starter. 21% or 22% as I recall. For past 6 weeks has been eating Layer Crumbles. I heard Turkeys need higher protein but I didn't as it lived with the Chickens.

    I do let my birds out all day long and he was a grasshopper eating machine. He also loved the Alfalfa field next to the coop. So maybe he got extra protein there....

    If you want 3 I would say get 3....

    He was a moderately friendly bird. Pooping machine though. He down fall was pooping on my hay baler in hte barn that hurried up the processing a little(I had been putting it off)...
  4. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    I started with 6 bronze brested at the end of may and had 4 when it came time to process (1 died at day old, and I culled 1 due to badly splayed leg)
    at 3 months old our tom dressed ready for the freezer was 38 lbs. the largest hen was 30 a medium hen was 25. and our girl Leftovers is still growing.
    We started with a 30% protein wild game bird starter and at 8-10 weeks switched to 20% grower.
    No special care or maintenance other than giving them big beefie roosts low to the ground so they dont hurt their legs jumping down.

    FYI if your used to chickens then turkeys will stink. they poo more and its bigger so you wind up cleaning out the coup alot more.
  5. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

    Jul 14, 2007
    EXIT 109 on 95
    Quote:Where do yo cook a 38lb bird?? I have problem with a 26lb one.
  6. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    I havent quite got that part figured out yet!
    I might have to cut it in half and smoke it instead of baking.
  7. snugglepup

    snugglepup Songster

    Apr 15, 2007
    Creedmoor, NC
    So your turkeys live in with the chickens? Could I run them in the chicken tractor like I do my broilers? I heard turkeys just die for no reason. But then... I've had that happen with chickens.
  8. WindyOaksYokes

    WindyOaksYokes Songster

    Jul 17, 2007
    Central Virginia
    I have two royal palms that are supposed to be good too for eating and then I have 2 blue slates....

    Personally all of mine free range together... but turkeys sleep on top of coop/run at night while chickens are all inside... I have had no problems until recently... the tom turkeys are starting to mess with a few of my hens... Im not sure if they are being mean or just playing.... the turkeys will run and chase the hens and then peck a little. They do not bother my roos though, and the roos have been protecting the girls for the most part. All I really have to do is yell out the turkeys name and they will stop. I have heard that others will not put their turkeys with the chickens because of one reason or another. I guess it is up to the individual. IF we get anymore turkeys, I will say, we have decided to build them their own coop/run.

    Good luck and have fun
  9. If you want a large turkey I would go with the broad breasted bronze, If you want a fast growing turkey The whites are good and have a nice dressed appearance they are one of the dumbest birds though actually had one go into the duck pool lay down and go to sleep ended up drowning no more whites for me only have gotten 1 to the slaughter age. if you want a pretty lawn ornament while waiting for them to get to slaughter age the blue slates and the royal palms are really pretty birds. My preferance is the bronze turkey they seem really hardy. You should not house turkey with chickens they can get blackhead also limit their worm intake which is also associated with blackhead. special requirements I dont think there really are any but if you do get them as day olds you should also try and get you some banties around the same time because turkeys need to be taught how to eat and drink many have died of thirst or starvation when they have food and water sitting right there. Once they are established they seem to do pretty well. If you want 3 to survive your best bet would be to get 6.
  10. nccatnip

    nccatnip Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    Piedmont area NC
    What time of year is best to get day olds to process for Thanksgiving?
    If you were to raise them for sale, how much would you charge for the processed bird?

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