Thinking about raising some turkeys this year...help please

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by jack & mommy's duckies, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. jack & mommy's duckies

    jack & mommy's duckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I'm having a blas with my web foot friends. And I'd love to raise some meat turkeys this year...and I have a few family members that would love it also.

    But I need a little help...

    I'm thinking on having 15-20...and I'm just thinking of the meat birds from the feed store orders (they get them from Frey's hatchery). But I'm very afraid of having sick birds and having sickness around. I've had 1 experience of seeing turkeys (blue slate, spanish and burbons) at a friends farm and they are always sick....they are always needling them, and their faces are always swollen.

    Now with all of that here my thoughts on how I would handle this....and let me know if my thoughts are right or if I should just stick to grocery store birds.... (oh ya I raise ducks, geese and quail.....)

    -I would brood them in the garage (proper brooder and heat for sure)...I brood my others in the house
    -Feed Purina Turkey starter...and so on as they age and needs change
    -when it came time to outside...I'd put them in my carport for a covered area but they will still have feed but there are bugs and what not for extra. Locked up at night for safety...
    -then process when ready....

    Also, I"d love to do meat chickens also but not thinking I can have them together.......

    thoughts please.....

    Thanks so much [​IMG]
     
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Here are my thoughts:

    1) There is something wrong with your friends' turkeys that is not normal. I wouldn't continue to visit them if you plan to raise your own.

    2) 15-20 BBW is a LOT. Are you planning on selling some? Have you given birth to a small army that you must now feed? If neither of those things are true. 15-20 is way too many for just a single family. That many will basically give you enough to eat turkey every day for a year.
     
  3. jack & mommy's duckies

    jack & mommy's duckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks....that was my thoughts on the friends turkeys..... Once I got birds I don't ever go there or wear one pair of shoes there and only there. And never come right home to my birds. Always my pen shoes/boots and shower and different clothes. I don't let them here and i don't let anyone into my pens.

    As for the number of birds. I have 3 aunts that each want 2 birds each...so that is 6. And I know my mil wants a few also...and that will leave me with a few for myself.

    I"d love to hear more thoughts...
     
  4. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    jack & mommy's duckies :

    Thanks....that was my thoughts on the friends turkeys..... Once I got birds I don't ever go there or wear one pair of shoes there and only there. And never come right home to my birds. Always my pen shoes/boots and shower and different clothes. I don't let them here and i don't let anyone into my pens.

    As for the number of birds. I have 3 aunts that each want 2 birds each...so that is 6. And I know my mil wants a few also...and that will leave me with a few for myself.

    I"d love to hear more thoughts...

    Even if you process young you're looking at about 200 pounds of turkey minimum and that takes up a lot of room. Crowded turkeys are not happy, healthy turkeys. I don't know how big your carport is but you might want to think about the number of turkeys you're looking at. When we raised our first batch of bbw turks we had one dress out to 38 pounds meaning he was about 50 some pounds when he was out walking around.​
     
  5. jack & mommy's duckies

    jack & mommy's duckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How long did it take them to grow that big.....I'm thinking of only waiting until about 14-16 weeks.

    And I love the opions and thoughts......research first and then act second.

    Keep the thoughts coming
     
  6. jasonm11

    jasonm11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Friend I am a newbie as well and I only have 5 birds. 4 hens and one jake, all are around 12-20 lbs right now and between 4 months and 2 yrs old. I have them in a 6'x24' covered run attached to a 5'x7' coop. I can tell you from my limited experience that even 10 birds will be too much in youre carport unless you are going to let them out and only keep them cooped at night. By the way the carport is gonna stink to high heaven unless you clean the poo out at least a few times a week. I love my birds but would never house them so close to my house. IMHO [​IMG]
     
  7. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BBB and BBW are eating and pooping machine, but it takes less time to get the to a weight to butcher, about 20 weeks. This is the time when cost of feed per size if about optimal. Of course you can butcher sooner or later, 15 weeks is about the soonest to get decent meat from them. Since they have been breed to grow faster and larger then a Heritage turkey the eat more and have more waste. But in the 20 weeks you have them they will eat a bit more then a Heritage at for 30 weeks. Near the end it will seem as though you are being eating out of house and home.

    At around 15 weeks there housing requirements become more then a Heritage Turkey needs, you can get an assist here by free ranging them during the day. We had 11 birds in a 10 by 26 covered pen and a 8 by 15 coop for over night. Since they are much slower and can't fly very high if at all we did this for protection from predators at night.

    They can be a bit of a problem to get started, since we can get only a starter/grower mix we added a vitamin supplement to there water for the first few weeks.

    Instead of plain scratch we use fancy scratch it's about 1/3 corn and the rest is assorted seeds. We used it as a treat for them always first thing in the morning, then placed in there pen at night to make it easier to get them back in.

    Tom
     
  8. jack & mommy's duckies

    jack & mommy's duckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Excellent information.....I'm still sitting on the fence about this. Sounds to me like the needling and sick turkeys doesn't seem to be the norm. Which was my #1 concern. Butttttt the number I would want is still a big question to me. Space is not an issue. the carport thing I was thinking on using is 15' wide by 45' long. And the one side is the garage so wall all teh way up...and the other side faces the feild and it is walled all the way up. I'd just need to run a fence off the back so they can't free run in the back yard unless I let them.
     
  9. jack & mommy's duckies

    jack & mommy's duckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe I should ask this........

    How safe is it to let them free range and sleep with ducks and geese??? Maybe I should test the water with a heritage breed first. People are always needing homes for toms/jakes. And get just one or two and see what it is like and go big next year.

    The Aunties will just have to wait another year for free turkeys [​IMG]
     
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you don't have a predator problem, free range is best. Even my BB turkeys did very well on free range, and scavenged most of their feed themselves. My BB turkeys don't get as huge the first year as most people's seem to. Maybe because I don't keep feed available for them when they are loose. I have had 4 month old BB turkeys roost on a 6' fence (the fence was supposed to keep them in after a dog killed one). They also commonly wandered a quarter of a mile from home but came back a few times a day and at night. Biggest that I ever dressed was 27 pounds, a 5 month old jake. Unless you have a source for heritage, if you are just doing an experiment this year, keep in mind that most heritage turkeys cost twice as much as BB turkeys.
     

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