Turkey care

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by ligeia, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. ligeia

    ligeia Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2009
    I just got Bourbon reds which we will be keeping as pets. I haven't been able to find much information about taking care of turkeys past raising up babies as I guess they're largely raised for food. [​IMG] Mine were raised to be pets (one year olds) and I got them quite suddenly as they needed a place to go. Now I need help! I have kept chickens before, are they going to be similar to caring for a house full of chickens? Right now my birds have a yard to run around in and I have a hole cut in my shed which leads into a closed off area for them for night/nesting/etc. The yard is surrounded by a six foot fence, which I'm assuming is high enough. Do they need a perch off the ground? How large of a nesting box? How often do the females lay eggs assuming they're healthy and eating well? How cold can they get before they need heat lamps? I live in the desert where it only freezes maybe three or four times a year. How hot can they get, for that matter? Sorry there are so many questions! Thanks for any advice people can give me. [​IMG]
     
  2. M@M@2four

    [email protected]@2four Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2008
    USA
    I have several turkeys...mine all free range with my chickens, go in the barn at night and just roost right along with them on my lower roost--about 2-3 feet off the ground. They don't seem affected by the cold as it snowed here just a few days ago and they still like to be outside during the day--doesn't seem to bother them. They eat right out of the same feed trays with my chickens, ducks, and geese and drink out of the same waterers with now problems. They're great foragers and like to just be oustide and eat bugs and grass. They do like to go in at night and can still be prone to being attacked by predators(atleast more so at night), so I do shut them up. They are great protection for my chickens during the day and seem to scare off hawks and other animals of prey. My females do not use nesting boxes like my chickens do--they prefer to nest right on the ground in a quiet corner and lay and egg a day in the warmer temps and if it's cold, they lay every 2-3 days. I have never used heat lamps for them unless they were poults, but my temps drop down to single digits in the barn and they stay toasty warm--no joke--they're bodies are SO warm!!! Just reach under their wings and feel! [​IMG] They do pant when they are hot, but we have hotter temps up to 100 and they just lay under a shaded tree or the deck to keep cool. I do spray them every once in awhile to cool them off, but have never had one over-heat. I think I answered all your questions...some people may tell you not to allow your chickens and turkeys together for fear of, "black head" but I have never had that problem and have always kept them together. [​IMG] Good lucK! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  3. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    Quote:We raise ours with chickens, ducks, geese and they get along just fine. Our's don't like to go inside the house other than to lay eggs and for that we built 18 by 18 inch square nest boxes for them on the floor of the chicken house. Ours stay outside in all weather, the only time we force them to go inside is during a hurricane. They roost on a pine log about 6 inches in diameter and 3 feet off the ground. They do need a wider roost than chickens since they weigh more, if it's to narrow it seems to hurt their feet and they won't use it. A turkey hen can clear a 6 foot fence if they want to, since you just got them you might want to think about wing clipping until they call your place home. If they hop the fence before they get used to being there they may very well take off. This time of year though don't clip very much as mating season is just around the corner and the hens use the wing feathers to help protect the backs from the toms.

    Steve in NC
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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  5. ligeia

    ligeia Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2009
    Thank you for all this great info, everyone! [​IMG]
     
  6. Backswampcub

    Backswampcub Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2008
    Richlands NC
    I think you will enjoy turkeys. I was into chickens and one day I saw a heritage turkey. I said to myself I have to have one of those. A quick look through the Bargain Trader and I found bronze turkeys for sale. I now have Beltsville whites and bronze. I am on Steve and Sharons list for Bourbans and more Beltsville now. Be careful they are addicting and so interesting to watch. If you ever thought a rooster was the Barnyard pimp. A turkey will strut his stuff and show that rooster who the real pimp is.
     
  7. ligeia

    ligeia Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2009
    haha, yeah. So far he's been strutting around and showing off for the dogs. They seem very convinced that he's hot stuff even though they're not even the same species! [​IMG]
     
  8. moduckman

    moduckman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2009
    Cairo, Missouri
    The need a rooting pole for sleeping at night and they do not need a heat lamp. Mine will not go insto the chicken hose to roost until the temps go below zero, with snow coming down. Turkeys seem to have a personalty more so than a chicken. You'll love them.[​IMG]
     
  9. ligeia

    ligeia Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2009
    I read somewhere I need to worm them? Is this true? Is there anything else I need to look for or do to make sure they are healthy? They were raised with chickens for a year so definitely exposed to other birds but seem very healthy thus far.
     
  10. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    Quote:We worm ours in the spring when it starts to warm up and in the fall before winter.

    Steve in NC
     

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