Turkey basics vs chicken basics

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by mramericauna, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. mramericauna

    mramericauna Just Hatched

    23
    5
    14
    Sep 28, 2016
    Western Kentucky
    OK folks, I am familiar with raising chickens I have a few chickens now, but I'm considering getting a few turkeys. Now this is my assumption that raising turkeys is very similar to raising chickens only more space per bird is required. Am I correct and what info do y'all seasoned turkey raisers have for someone new to turkeys?
     
  2. mramericauna

    mramericauna Just Hatched

    23
    5
    14
    Sep 28, 2016
    Western Kentucky
    I guess it is worth mentioning that I live in the city limits so free range is not an option.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,735
    4,440
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Getting poults off to a good start can be difficult for some people. Poults are clumsy and need to be taught to eat and drink where chicks just seem to go for it. So expect to spend more time the first week or so tapping your finger at the food and water and observing them to make sure they are eating. They also need the brooder a bit warmer for the first week, 95-100 degrees. They need a higher protein starter for the first few weeks as well.

    They get pretty mobile by the third week and will need more room. Turkeys can fly much better than chicks, well heritage varieties can. You will need to choose between the shorter lived broad breasted or the various heritage varieties that can reproduce and live much longer.

    Turkeys want to roost high and outside, so they need to be contained in a covered run to keep them from roosting everywhere. A long run can give them a place to run up and down to burn off energy.

    Turkeys are nosey and will follow you everywhere. They are much different than chickens. They can harass other poultry species so they are best housed with other turkeys only.

    Turkeys can be quite vocal, both hens and toms so expect some noise.

    Once you try turkeys I think you will always need a few around.
     
  4. mramericauna

    mramericauna Just Hatched

    23
    5
    14
    Sep 28, 2016
    Western Kentucky
    So if I wanted to maintain 4 adult birds how much run space and coop space do I need? I am interested in Narragansett turkeys.
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,735
    4,440
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    It depends on how you want to house them. Turkeys use a shelter for mostly roosting but they will roosters outside if provided roosts if the weather isn't too bad.

    5-10 square feet per bird is recommended for the shelter or shed. Range or a run should be as big as possible.
     
  6. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

    3,634
    1,820
    291
    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    I highly do not recommend having turkeys in town. Without a completely covered area (heavy duty bird netting) it would be extremely difficult to keep the turkeys on your own property.
     
  7. mramericauna

    mramericauna Just Hatched

    23
    5
    14
    Sep 28, 2016
    Western Kentucky
    I live in kind of a wierd place. My house is zoned in the city limits, and my mom-n-law who lives 50yds away is in the county. I have a total of 3 acres now, and when she passes her 2.? Acres will become my wife's. But I was thinking an 8x10 coop with a run coming off the 10' side out about 30-40'. Using the steel cage wire 1x2 mesh sides and top and putting an extra row of chicken wire around the bottom. Most likely going to use 4' chicken wire run it around the bottom 2' and fan the rest out on the ground. Like I said I only plan on 3-4 adult birds at a time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  8. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,164
    709
    261
    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    I find turkey poults extremely easy to get started. They are the ones teaching the chicks where the feed and water is. Last year I couldn't get high protein starter easily, so I raise a bunch (30+) poults with the chicks on 20% starter. They did great and the ones I didn't sell are now running around the farm like they hold title to it.

    They are the first ones over the top of the brooder, as you mentioned. I think they get bored and/or lonely for people and go exploring. I could always tell when one went over the wall because they would get really loud trying to get their mother or siblings to come rescue them (which I did, of course).

    I usually house extra roos in my turkey pen. That only went sideways once, but works fine almost all the time.

    I tell people that chickens are the "gateway poultry" to turkeys. Once you try turkeys, it is hard to go back to only chickens.
     
  9. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

    3,634
    1,820
    291
    Feb 24, 2013
    Natrona County, Wyoming
    I do not recommend using chicken wire with turkeys. Turkeys pacing back and forth along chicken wire can cut their snoods off as well as cause other injuries to their heads. Half inch hardware cloth is a much better choice than chicken wire. A 10'x30'-40' run is not very big when it comes to turkeys and can lead to lots of boredom which can cause all kinds of problems with turkeys. Again when it comes to turkeys, an 8'x10' shed is not a very large area.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,735
    4,440
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I don't have troubles raising poults either, but I have read many post of people losing poults. I also use chick starter and gave mine daily doses of scrambled eggs last year and they grew better and fast so that's my new recipe.
    when I purchased poults they arrived a bit weak and needed help getting started. I now hatch my own and they are stronger right out of the egg.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by