To let Run free or not to Run Free that is the question

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by frank53061, May 27, 2012.

  1. I have 17 Red Bourbon Poults and 8 Chics that are almost 10 weeks old and they love there greens I will pick some every other day and put it in the 25 foot by 25 foot run.
    I am conflicted weather to allow them to free range with my adult Chickens.
    Its not that I,m afraid of pecking that's normal its if the Turkeys will come back into the run to be put back into there coop at night.
    My Chickens in the past have always come back to be secured
    every night.
    Its a gamble with the Turkeys and at 10 weeks is this old enough I don't want to loose any of them if possible.
    The only trouble with the Chickens is once in awhile they see greener grass so to speak across the road and have to be herded back.
    I have 3 acres of woods and 1 acre of yard not fenced.
    Any advise.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Do wild turkeys frequent your property? If so, I would be concerned that yours might join them.
  3. No wild Turkeys that I have ever seen but I have seen more deer around I hear that dear will use Turkeys as a early warning and tend to hang around.

    Or not LOL.
  4. ccrawf

    ccrawf Songster

    Nov 6, 2009
    Springfield, Missouri
    The best option would obviously be to have fence around them. I have a similar set up, about 8 turkeys, 10 chickens and now 5 geese (2 adults and 3 goslings) that share the same coop. They have a fenced in yard that they run in most of the time, but occasionally I let them out to run around in the yard. I have a lot of area that isn’t fenced in and it is definitely greener. Sometimes they get out in the road, or cross it to the neighbors. The geese tend to lead this trek, so I just have to watch and herd them back. I have a white plastic bucket I use to feed them scraps in, and I just take that out and they come running. I also have 4 peacocks that are in a separate enclosure, and I often let them all out to run together.
    I don’t have any problems getting them back in their own coops. The peacocks will go into the chicken coop during the day, but they know to go back to their enclosure at night. Actually, I try to get them in earlier, or else they tend to fly up in the trees and then it is difficult getting them down. Sometimes the turkeys like to fly on top of the coop and I have to chase them down. Once in a while a chicken or turkey will get in a tree instead of going in the coop. I think a lot of it is training them what to do and where to go and making sure they do it regularly.
    I have 10 acres, and about 7 of it are woods. Mine never seem to go very far from the house. There were wild turkeys around in the past and at one point several came in the yard, but I’ve never had any of mine run off with them. Deer aren’t a problem here either. I think that unless they are totally enclosed, you will always have to go get them on occasion and bring them back.

  5. I guess my biggest fear is loss after all the work I put into them and not loosing one.
    Thanks for all your information it helps a lot.
  6. What age would you think would be good to let them out of the run supervised?.
  7. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

    Jan 27, 2007
    The earlier you let them out (after they've feathered out and have spent a couple of weeks penned in) and herd them back in, the better. Let them out an hour before they usually roost. Keep a couple of those light wt. bamboo plant stakes (about 4ft.long, at most garden stores/depts). When they start to eyeball the trees/roofs, instead of grass/bugs, hold the stakes in hands with arms outstretched to sides (about a 10-12ft. `wall' of `herding force'. slowly guide the turks back to run. Repeat every day you have the time.

    Takes about a month of consistent `training' before you can count on their returning to run on their own (make sure to have BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds/some scratch in run on return - reinforcement).

    Always range the juveniles supervised. They are very curious birds. Ours would try to follow box turtles right out into the forest without a thought about where they might have ended up (pretty slow parade, that...).
  8. Thanks for the Information everything you said makes since I have already got some long poles that I use to heard them back to there coop inside the run.
    I was brought up on a cattle farm so herding I have experience with just not Turkeys.
    Its funny that you mentioned a Turtle because just this last week the turkeys were all at one side of the run one day just standing in a group staring just out side of the wire for 15 to 20 minutes I could not see what they were transfixed on the next day my daughter said there was a turtle in the run and all the turkeys had it surrounded just staring at it LOL.

    Thanks again for all your help.
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  9. doop

    doop In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2011
    n.e minnesota
    I think you'll be fine to freerange this year, but next year your hens will want to go off and nest. My birds were good about going in at night til they started to want to set on eggs. I finally got one to set where I wanted, but another has been gone for 4 days now. She probably doesn't stand a chance out in the woods with all the predators around here. Next spring I would keep them in until they lay their egg for the day.
  10. Great suggestion I think thats what I will do.

    I have let out 1/3 to 1/2 of my young turkeys while I am at home to keep a eye on and crossing my fingers they are doing what Ivan3 said to do and just let a few out to start with and they will not go far from the rest who are still penned up.
    So far this is working great.
    There has not been any conflict's with the older Chickens that I also let run free range while I am at home they just look each other over and keep walking around the yard.

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