To raise a turkey for Thanksgiving?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by whitejerabias, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. whitejerabias

    whitejerabias Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 6, 2011
    Starting out with chickens in the spring and I really want to get a few turkeys to have some great meat at the end of the year. Can I just raise them alongside and in the same home? The chickens will be for eggs and I do not plan to keep a rooster. What are some key things I should be aware of when keeping the two species together? Also, any good husbandry books for raising meat turkeys? Are toms as nasty as roosters can get?
     
  2. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Blackhead can be a problem, esp in some area. Chickens can host it with no ill effects but pass it to the turkeys with fatal results.

    I count my self lucky that it does not seem to be a problem in our area and have had chickens and turkeys together.

    Toms can be agressive, esp in spring. My experiences has been they are no where as bad as a phycotic banti rooster, but the trouble is if a tom does turn on you it has a lot more weight and power behind it.

    Storeys has a good guide on turkeys and there is quite a bit of free info online.

    Timing your chicks to be ready for thanksgiving or Xmas is importaint. Heritage breeds will take six months or likley more to reach a decent size. Broad breasted turkeys take half the time, 12-14 weeks can produce a dressed out turkey over 20lb.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  3. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yucaipa, CA
    IMO, a heritage bird will take at least 9 months but it will taste 1000x's better. No need for marinade, brine, injection, etc. just oil and a

    Turkeys will do much better with chickens in the brooder. The chicks will teach/show/remind the turkeys to eat.
     
  4. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    AR
    I've done this lots of time. I always keep the two seperated for health reasons (blackhead). The first one, I raised for Thanksgiving was a Broad Breasted White then I tried a Bronze. Didn't like the size (to big) or the taste. The third one was a Black Spanish. This one was a real nice size bird and tasted wonderful. Heritage, IMO, is the way to go. The Heritage birds will do a better job of moving about and looking for food. I had mine on a small grassy lot with an indoor place to sleep. Provide a nice dry place for them to sleep. Mine were sleeping on the ground, no roost. Thick beding will help keep the breast clean. I do recomend raising 2. I would give one to the neighbor and keep the other one for myself. Hens and toms, didn't see a difference in taste or temperment.

    Hope you have good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  5. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lancaster, PA
    I have a friend who raised some turkeys up with his chicks this year - he had no trouble with blackhead (because they grew up together) but some of his feed got moldy, and it killed some of the turkeys (moldy feed is NOT GOOD for chickens, but they can stand it a lot better then turkeys.)
     
  6. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    Broad breasted will take 4-6 months and a heritage bird will take 8-9 months. I don't keep turkeys and chickens togather. I don't have blackhead issues but they are on a different diet! Turkeys need a 28-30% diet for the first 12-14 weeks and then no less than 20% after that. Chickens start on a 20% until they are laying then a good 16-17% layer feed. You don't want your chicks to eat the high dollar turkey starter! I think the heritage birds really taste the best. If I want to eat a BB turkey, I will just go get it at the store when it's on sale.
     
  7. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    Quote:Blackhead has nothing to do with them growing up together. You either have it or you don't!
     
  8. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Blackhead has nothing to do with them growing up together. You either have it or you don't!

    Blackhead is an organism that generally is carried by earthworms in the soil - Day-old chicks (even if their parents are carrying it) are not born with blackhead, it is not chronic [​IMG] . Therefore as long as they are raised off the ground and fed 100% on store-bought grain (like my friend's were) the chances of the chickens getting it in the first place are next to nothing. It is only in contact with the organism through stepping on soil or the consumption of an earthworm or similar bug carrying the organism do chickens get it, and then are able to pass it on to turkeys.

    (I haven't raised many turkeys, but I know a thing or two about chicken health and diseases [​IMG] )

    ETA: spellchecking
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ND
    Quote:Blackhead has nothing to do with them growing up together. You either have it or you don't!

    Blackhead is an organism that generally is carried by earthworms in the soil - Day-old chicks (even if their parents are carrying it) are not born with blackhead, it is not chronic [​IMG] . Therefore as long as they are raised off the ground and fed 100% on store-bought grain (like my friend's were) the chances of the chickens getting it in the first place are next to nothing. It is only in contact with the organism through stepping on soil or the consumption of an earthworm or similar bug carrying the organism do chickens get it, and then are able to pass it on to turkeys.

    (I haven't raised many turkeys, but I know a thing or two about chicken health and diseases [​IMG] )

    ETA: spellchecking

    I think ColbyNTX knows about blackhead, he was just replying to what you wrote. The way it was worded it looked like you were saying that thereason the turkeys didn't get blackhead is because they grew up with the chickens (like growing up with the chickens will prevent it). If you don't have it, they can be on the ground with no problems. I let mine freed range as much as possible. In my opinion, if they just eat store bought grain, what would be the difference in flavor from a store bought bird or eggs? Plus when they are loose, I see a lot less ticks and grasshoppers [​IMG]
     
  10. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    Quote:Blackhead is an organism that generally is carried by earthworms in the soil - Day-old chicks (even if their parents are carrying it) are not born with blackhead, it is not chronic [​IMG] . Therefore as long as they are raised off the ground and fed 100% on store-bought grain (like my friend's were) the chances of the chickens getting it in the first place are next to nothing. It is only in contact with the organism through stepping on soil or the consumption of an earthworm or similar bug carrying the organism do chickens get it, and then are able to pass it on to turkeys.

    (I haven't raised many turkeys, but I know a thing or two about chicken health and diseases [​IMG] )

    ETA: spellchecking

    I think ColbyNTX knows about blackhead, he was just replying to what you wrote. The way it was worded it looked like you were saying that thereason the turkeys didn't get blackhead is because they grew up with the chickens (like growing up with the chickens will prevent it). If you don't have it, they can be on the ground with no problems. I let mine freed range as much as possible. In my opinion, if they just eat store bought grain, what would be the difference in flavor from a store bought bird or eggs? Plus when they are loose, I see a lot less ticks and grasshoppers [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The way it was worded stated is that if they were raised togather then there is nothing to worry about.
     

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