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Turkey Advice Needed!!!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by goosemama, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    We were given 11 turkey eggs as a gift with no info what breed they were. Ten of them hatched in our Bator 7 weeks ago. They are in a shed now that its warm outside and graze our lawn with chicks and 5 goslings born in the same batch. Very friendly. Had them on 20% chick starter as I couldn't find turkey or game bird feed at our TS store. Also gave them grated hard boiled egg every day and some greens for about 4 weeks. They are growing well but I have just this week thinned the protein down by adding cracked corn & rolled oats to the 20% crumbles for my geese which feed outside with them. Does l6% poultry pellets sound a better source of feed? or should I stick with the 20% as I've read they need more protein than geese or chickens. I notice the geese nibble the grain a little during the day, but mostly stick to grazing the grass.

    Also what age will they be when heavy enough for butchering? I don't know the breed but they are dark brown with white striping on wing tips and tails and greyish head and neck, then there is one pure white one with a little black striping on the tail. This is our first time hatching and raising turkeys and are not interested in doing this every year (chickens & geese are enough) so all will go in the freezer whenever they get big enough. Hard to imagine them at 20lbs by November?
     
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2009
    Yes, turkeys definitely need higher protein, something like 22 to 24%, ESPECIALLY if you want to eat them. You could get by on lower protein if you just want them for pets, but they'll grow a lot slower on a lower protein diet, and probably not get as large in the end.

    Most heritage breeds are six months minimum before they flesh out enough to be worthwhile, and 8 -10 months is better. Heritage breeds never get that classic plump form of a broadbreasted white or bronze turkey, which are the turkey equivalent of Cornish Cross chickens.

    Still, its a fun project. I've got 19 Royal Palm/Calico Sweetgrass mutt poults from my own birds, that are about 2 to 6 weeks old. I'm going to see if they get enough size to use by fall, I realize they'll be scrawny, but hey, if I can get enough off a bird for a decent meal it will be worth it.
     
  3. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Thanks Denninmi for your advice - you've helped me out before in the "Goose" category as well!!! I just called the man who gave us the eggs for our incubator and he says they are Bronze and the one white one we got was a Royal Palm. He didn't have any idea about protein content for their feed as he keeps them as pets and doesn't eat them. I feel that way about my geese but with all the peeping these turkeys make I don't think I will feel bad to put them in the freezer.

    I'm in kind of a bind because I let the turkeys, geese, chickens & guinea hens graze together. They are separated by a fence from the older chickens and 2 older geese but just for awhile until they get acclimated. But to feed the geese and lower their protein from 20% to prevent angel wing and then feed the turkeys higher protein means I'll have to separate them. I hate to pen them after they've been grazing on the lawn and enjoying some freedom. I am having a shed delivered in August for the geese so can separate them with their own grass grazing section and be able to feed them lower protein then.

    I'll probably get 3lb turkeys at the end of the Fall season - more suitable to shoe leather or jerky than Thanksgiving dinner, haha.
     
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2009
    You may be able to work out something that will allow your turkeys and geese to still live together and yet satisfy each groups nutritional needs.

    Because turkeys fly, you might be able to set a feeding station for the turkeys up on a table or some other platform that they can fly up to but the geese won't reach.

    I threw my five broadbreasted bronze poults into a duck/geese pen because I don't have their pen/tractor thing done yet, and I had to get them out of the garage with 100 degree heat coming. I put their feed up on top of the house that the ducks and geese lie in, and its worked out fine. The turkeys like it up there because they enjoy perching, so they go up and eat their high protein food. I've seen them take some of the 18% duck/goose pellets, it certainly won't hurt them. So far, these turks at about 7 weeks old are still small and light enough to be able to fly.
     
  5. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Thanks that's a good idea to put the higher protein feed up higher - we must have an old table or something we can put in the grassy area they all share. The turkeys fly up to the roosts we had made for our peacocks under our deck about 5 foot high so they are pretty mobile.
     
  6. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    Turkey poults do best on 26-30% gamebird or turkey starter until they are at least 12 weeks old then you can drop them to 20% if you want them to thrive. They will live on the 16-20% but its like raising a puppy on adult dog food!
     

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