Thinking about adding turkeys to my flock

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Mycookoonest, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Mycookoonest

    Mycookoonest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2008
    Hudson Valley NY
    I know nothing about turkeys (expect they make for a good Thanksgiving dinner). Is there anything you can tell me about a breed to look into, temperment, toms... etc? I don't mean to sound ignorant to this but well I am!
     
  2. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    So you want a breed of turkey to eat?

    I would suggest Broad Breasted White.
    Bronze
    or Beltsville Small White
     
  3. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When you get started the poults can be extremely fragile. They are born too dumb to live - almost literally. Their mother is supposed to teach them _everything_ and with her gone they have to struggle to learn it on their own. Because of that, you need to be more careful with them. Raising them with a couple of chicks seems to work best, since they learn what to do by watching the others.

    Be careful, turkeys are incredibly addictive. They are much less skittish and genuinely seem to want to be around you. I was keeping one poult inside because he had a cold and the container didn't have a lid. I didn't think anything of it until a couple of days later when this poult had managed to trek the house to find me. I had been out in the yard and when I came in and heard him crying I called out and we played Marco Polo until finding one another. Once I had him in my hands he relaxed and went to sleep.

    You want to feed them a high-protein feed because of how quickly they grow. 20-22%, if not more, works best. You can find this in feed stores under different names. If you don't actually have a turkey feed then gamebird and meat/broiler feeds work just as well.

    They are very curious. Our hens like to cause trouble in the yard when we let them out of their pen. If we're trying to fix a broken lawn mower they are making funky little trilling noises and chirps while investigating. Then they "help" by taking anything shiny and running off.

    The noises are great; to me they're exotic. The trills, chirps and other non-gobbly sounds are unique and would be missed around here if we didn't have them. Even the poults have a softer, quieter cheep than chicks. For some reason a chick's calls go right through me. Ducklings are just as bad. But poults, goslings, quail and chukars are almost soothing.

    Don't worry about toms being aggressive. Most are big babies, just like with roosters. There will be bad ones in the bunch, but so far I haven't come across any.

    You may want to ask specific questions. There is too much information to tell in a single post without getting specifics [​IMG]
     
  4. Mycookoonest

    Mycookoonest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2008
    Hudson Valley NY
    Wow that's an open ended question... [​IMG] ! Didn't realize! I just started my flock and am really interested in turkeys. From what I get a sense of is they are really friendly. I don't think my Hubby and I are going to be into butchering. We both are a bit of softies when it comes to animals.

    What about a breed of turkey good for just being a pet?

    So I guess I would have to be Mommy to the babies... and show them the ropes.
    How loud are they? We are unable to keep roos because of crowing (neighbors ya know they just don't understand) but I don't know if they would mind gobbling... I guess it's no worse than their dogs barking right?

    Do they get along with chickens...

    Gosh I sound really stupid!
     
  5. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southern Illinois
    If you are only interested in turkeys as pets then go with the Royal Palms. They don't get as large as even the other breeds of Heritage turkeys so they naturally eat less. Awsome dispositions and beautiful to watch.

    I'll post some pics of young Royal Palms tommorrow or Monday.
     
  6. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't sound stupid at all. Everyone has to start somewhere [​IMG]

    Gobbling doesn't happen very often. Usually our toms gobble for only two reasons: when they see a possible threat or when you gobble at them first (seriously. You can even be a horrible gobbler and they'll still gobble back). Otherwise they are mostly quiet, and even their gobbling is -much- quieter than roosters.

    I'm going to second the Royal Palm due to the size. But honestly, any heritage breed/variety is going to work out for you. Look at the varieties and decide which one is the prettiest. Unlike chickens, there aren't any breeds of heritage turkeys. The Royal Palm, Blue Slate, Black Spanish, Narragansett, etc are all considered "varieties." They have roughly the same personality, mothering skills, egg laying abilities and, size (give or take a few pounds). The only differences are going to be the history and color.

    Any of them will make great pets and turkeys lay a lot of tasty eggs for you to collect from Marchish through August. They are seasonal layers so if you want turkey eggs year round try freezing the eggs in ice cube trays to use through the winter (put the yolk in one cup and the white in a second - the eggs are huge). They make great omlets.

    They get along fine with chickens. My turkeys and chickens are kept in the same pen without any problems, though you have to be careful when they're little since they can catch a disease called blackhead.
     
  7. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When you get young turkeys expect a lot of the following. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    Struttn1 I love yor window stickers.
     
  9. smpezzi

    smpezzi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hubby is interested in turkeys too, he just asked me the other day how long to incubate turkey eggs [​IMG] (I know NOTHING about turkeys other than preparing frozen ones for dinner lol) glad to see this thread
     
  10. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2008
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    28 days incubation.
     

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