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Thinking about getting turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by unlikelyfarmers, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. unlikelyfarmers

    unlikelyfarmers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2007
    Hello, I'm new to the site. My husband and I have 12 chickens down from 18, (barred rocks, rhode island reds mostly),3 peacocks and 15 rabbits ( 12 mini lop varieties, 2 dwarf rabbits and a larger lop) . Our feed store is selling turkeys (white, slate and black). We are considering getting a few but are not clear if the slate and black turkeys are considered domestic and if they are able to fly or not. Please let me know if you have any insights or suggestions on their ability to fly, personality traits and/or tips on how to raise them. Any information is appreciated. [​IMG]
     
  2. Motherhenandflock

    Motherhenandflock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turkeys have a reputation for being really dumb. When they are young, they need help learning where to find the food and water. You can put day old chicks in with your turkeys to "teach" them. Or I've heard you can put shiney marbles in their food and water to attract them.
    As far as flying, I think any turkey can fly or at least flutter up to a certain age. You know, wild turkeys roost in trees. But the Broad Breasted White and Bronze get so big, so fast, that they can't fly. Heck, they can hardly move! There is a way to trim their feathers so they can't fly, or fly away.
    They are very endearing. They have a plaintive "peep, peep, peep, peep, peep". And they will love you. They will sit on your lap or shoulder. That is not a good idea when they weigh 20 pounds. [​IMG]
    I just love mine! But 3 of them are destined for our table. I read somewhere that someone named their turkeys:Thanksgiving Christmas, and Easter.
     
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Welcome! Check to see if the Whites are Broad Breasted (good for eating not good as pets). The Slates (and I'm assuming Black Spanish?) are heritage breeds and do fly. However, our Slates (both toms and hen) did most of their flying during their first year and pretty much stick to the ground unless they are particularly happy (kinda have a flightly dance) or stressed (predators). The only good flyer we have is our Royal Palm hen who flies in and out of the run as she wishes (6ft. fence). The Slates are easy going, but if you have more toms than hens be ready for some dust ups as the toms rearrange their pecking order.

    If you are going to get them for pets make sure they imprint on you thoroughly (carry `em around and hand feed `em). What they lack in intellect (pretty good if not stressed) they make up for in curiosity and wanting to hang out with you.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    John
     
  4. unlikelyfarmers

    unlikelyfarmers Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the information. It's helpful. We have a large wooded area around our property and I'm thinking they will wander off into the woods if we don't keep them in an enclosed pen. It doesn't sound like a fence will work to keep them in. I can deal with dumb as long as they are friendly. We were considering getting 4, maybe 1 Tom and 3 hens (not sure if you call the females hens). We'll see how it goes...I always like the idea of adding new birds/animals to the menagerie. [​IMG]
     
  5. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    If you start them out in an enclosed pen and only let `em run when you're around, they'll learn to stay around (when they're just feathered out they'll get curious and will follow box turtles off into the woods!). Once they get situated they'll be o.k. (excepting the hens when they get broody - they will be out in the stickiest thorny bushes they can find and they do bite (this is why our Royal hen is named Miss Hiss). Provide them with a secure, somewhat secluded nesting area (we use a tarp/wire covered chain link dog pen) and they'll use it - most of the time. We have plenty of woods and these guys don't go far. Oh, they can be trained to go in at night - but it takes some serious consistency (pull them off the chimney return them to shed...) for a few months.
     
  6. Motherhenandflock

    Motherhenandflock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ivan3 have you ever tried to clip their wings to keep them more or less grounded? I understand you have to keep clipping every 4 weeks or so because the feathers grow back?
    My Bourbon Reds are just a few weeks old and I don't want them leaving when they are older. I could loose them forever to the riverbottom.
     
  7. unlikelyfarmers

    unlikelyfarmers Out Of The Brooder

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    Ivan3 - maybe we'll try that. I wanted to make this as easy as possible on my husband (he's the pen builder). We had a white turkey once, my step-son found her at a gas station wandering around and brought her over to our house. We had no clue what we were doing and she just stayed outside...no pen and slept on the ground at night. She's the reason we got chickens, she was so friendly and when she died (she laid a whole bunch of eggs and just passed) I missed her. We thought chickens would be similar.

    Anyway, I appreciate both of your advice and I'll let you know how it goes!!
     
  8. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Motherhenandflock: The Bourbons (at least our neighbor's guys) were homebodies. They stuck right around their place - next to road! We think someone stole the big guy. His replacement was torn to shreds by a dog last wk (nice folks, but I've no respect for their daytime security). We have Wild Easterns in great abundance - our guys could bug out with them at any time - but they haven't. I don't know any more about clipping/pinnioning than I've read here and on EZ. but I'd either have a covered run or clip `em if our guys were within easy flying distance of a river. I'm sure someone who knows the drill will chime in. I'd like to let our toms sleep out in their run, but there are way too many predators here, and I'm way too fond of `em to not to keep them in their shed at night.

    Unlikely Farmers: Yes, the chooks are independent and clannish, but ours always show up on the back deck at sundown to sit around us preening and gossiping until they head to the coop. The turks: hand raise `em and you've got friends for the duration.
     
  9. unlikelyfarmers

    unlikelyfarmers Out Of The Brooder

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    After some debate, we bought 4 turkeys (3 black and 1 slate). We have no idea what sex they are but are guessing that we may have 3 Tom's and 1 hen. They have all their feathers and we got them at a discounted price because they had been there a while and weren't selling. They are pretty friendly already...my husband had one perching on his hand while he was setting up their temporary housing. We're hoping we can let them just roam around free during the day and herd them into the shed at night. Our neighbor across the street has a few and the Tom follows him everywhere. We're glad we went for it! [​IMG]
     
  10. Betsy

    Betsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congrats on your new birds-turkeys are fun!
     

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