Thinking Of Getting Turkeys....Advice, please?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Lesalynn, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Lesalynn

    Lesalynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Darnell, Louisiana
    I am thinking of getting some turkeys to raise in the spring. I need lots of advice and info on the do's and don'ts concerning turkey raising. Should they be separate from the chickens? If I decide to get them, I will start off with only 6. How much space will they need? Should the roosts be any different than for chickens? I have no idea where to start, which is why I am here. I would like to have a plan well in advance.
     
  2. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    First, check with your county extension office or feed store to find out if there is or ever has been a disease called blackhead that's passed from chickens to turkeys in your area. If there has or is you definitely need to keep the turks and the chicks apart....far apart.
    Second, are you planning on commercial turkeys for meat purposes or are you going to be raising heritage turks for breeding/selling/ or meat? This will make a difference in how they're raised, fed and housed.
    I believe, and I could be wrong but I think the magic number for turkey housing is four square feet per bird BUT that's really only applicable if there isn't any free range or area to run in during the day. If they have plenty of room to roam around and graze during the day being a little cramped at night will not stress them too much.
    Turkeys have big feet and heavy chests so they like a nice sturdy roost. My big Broad breasted turks didn't roost because they couldn't get their fat butts that far off the ground. My heritage birds like their roosts to be as high up in the air as possible and they all fight for the window seat which invariably goes to the toms.
     
  3. Lesalynn

    Lesalynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Darnell, Louisiana
    Thanks farmerlor, I'll check with our extension office on Monday about the Blackhead thing. I'll be wanting to raise turkeys just for our use. You know, to put in the freezer, bring to the camp and deep fry, give to family and friends....that sort of thing. We have plenty of land for building them their own structure with a big covered run for them to range on. We have our chickens the same way. I like them to have plenty of space to roam, but to still be protected from our dogs and whatever else might want to get at them.
     
  4. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    also, maybe go visit some turkeys. my turkeys went from tiny, cute and sweet, to giant, kicking, thwapping monsters. i cannot change their bedding without getting creamed in the process. i don't think i'd do it again.. but we'll see how thanksgiving goes... maybe I'll change my mind and decide it was all worth it.
     
  5. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    They are fun.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Lesalynn

    Lesalynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Darnell, Louisiana
    I love that picture, Dogfish!! [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the bits of advice, ya'll. I have made up my mind to definitely get half a dozen come spring. Now, I just gotta spend the next few months gathering facts and setting them up a home.
     
  7. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Have you decided on a variety or a size that you want? The Midget White and Beltsville White are the smallest, medium size goes to Royal Palms, Bourbon red etc, largest are the standard Bronze and White Holland.

    Midget White

    [​IMG]

    Beltsville White

    [​IMG]

    Bourbon Red

    [​IMG]

    Royal Palm

    [​IMG]

    White Holland hen - notice the size. she is beside a 5 gallon waterer

    [​IMG]

    Bronze hen


    [​IMG]

    Steve
     
  8. Lesalynn

    Lesalynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2009
    Darnell, Louisiana
    Those are some beautiful turkeys, Steve. I really hadn't decided on which type to get yet. But those Bourbon Reds are GORGEOUS!! So are the Royal Palms. I'm not so much concerened with size, really. I just want some great-tasting turkeys that are also pretty to look at. And it'd be nice if they didn't get real mean. Thanks for posting all those pics. Gives me a starting place. [​IMG]
     
  9. Pampered Hen

    Pampered Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2009
    Vermont
    It has been mentioned, but turkeys are considerably larger than chickens. Keep that in mind when you place their roosts. They need to be further spaced apart and away from the wall or their tails will get in the way. I just separated my bourbon red pair from the chickens (girls only flock) because my turkey hen was too aggressive towards the chickens and began to stress them out. They still free range together, but they have separate housing and runs.
    I have spent a lot of time with my poultry and the turkeys are a lot of fun to have around. I love their vocalizations. Other than the tom's loud gobble and then hen's bark, their sounds are really sweet and pleasing. They are also very curious and sociable. My hen in particular loves people attention. I'm tempted to volunteer her as a "therapy bird" because as soon as she settles in someones lap she become the most docile bird. I have had friends over and they just loved to sit with a turkey on their knees.
    My original intent was to raise them for Thanksgiving. But I lost 8 out of 10 in a brooder disaster and ended up getting too attached to my survivors. If you have a soft side (like me) beware of their charm! Before you know it they steel your heart and you just added another "pet" to your household... I have seen posts of seasoned meat chicken keepers loosing their resolve over the turks.
     

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