Turkey Newbie! So excited! Questions on Hovers and Feed

BravoPavo

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
9
0
9
Hey y'all!

We just ordered our first shipment (from Meyer) of baby poults, and we couldn't be more excited! They should be hittin' the road to us here in So.Cal tomorrow. There's 24 of them coming. Hubby and I built a fabulous brooder, it's big: 4Wx8Lx4H, it is wood framed, plywood sides, and transparent plastic on the top, with ventilation doors at the top. (Pictures to follow!) We built it tall so that the babes could grow up tall and still be comfy. However, while they're teeny-tiny, we are building a hover for them to huddle under, with a lamp closer to them, so they can cuddle up. Got a waterer, will change daily, with added apple cider vinegar, starting out with butcher paper for a floor, and two 250W heat bulbs. We will dip their little beaks in water to help them learn. (Learned all that from you guys, thank you!!)

So from what y'all are saying, it sounds like the little buggers are fragile, and not so smart. Here's my concern- if we build a small hover and put it in the middle, will they be smart enough to get up under it? Is giving them the option to not be under it, not ok? Will they get 'lost' from the hover and get cold? We're in Southern CA, so 'cold' is used very loosely here, but at night it could still be chilly for a baby!

And secondly- we want to feed them organic. Couldn't find any organic poult starter, just high protein (20%) chick starter. I read that some hard-boiled egg could up the protein for them. Is that ok to introduce immediately? Anything else to use to add protein for them?

And one more please! We have a lot of mulch around the farm. All organic, nice mulch. After there's 'training pad' of paper is done, can we add the mulch from our farm? Or are their little immune systems not ready yet, do we really need sterile sawdust without any microbial activity?

Any other gems of advice for us?

These guys will grow up to be pastured, organic, happy, well-loved Cali turkeys, and we want the best for the little guys! We sure appreciate all the advice we've got on this forum. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge! Hopefully soon we will be able to contribute some wisdom ourselves!

Thanks again!
 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,236
346
SE Michigan
What kind of turkey poults did you buy? That will impact the care aspects.

Heritage turkeys are pretty tough little buggers once they pass the hatch. Even then, it is wise to protect the unbalanced little buggers from tipping into a container of water and drowning, from catching a chill (their hair does not seem to insulate as well as chick down), from getting wet in dew or rain, and from swallowing things that shouldn't be swallowed until they get a good complement of feathers, about 5 weeks of age.

Broad breasted turkeys have been compromised to the point that they have lost much of their turkiness. I haven't been able to make friends with one, they mostly look to you for food and don't really care otherwise.

When they do have access to grains, please be sure they have access to chick grit.

Soil carries parasites, but so does most everything else. Just give them every opportunity to thrive and they will make you happy. Turkeys are so friendly and inquisitive...they will be friendly to the point of annoyance if they bond with you.
 
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BravoPavo

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
9
0
9
Thanks for the reply!!

These are the heritage breeds. We got some bourbon reds, some midget whites, and some blue slates. I agree that the BB's seem very unturkeylike and sad.

You are so right, these guys are friendly! We have some now that are adults, we got them as juveniles (thus our new-to-poults-ness) and they crack me up. They gobble when we laugh and they follow us around. So cute.

As far as parasites in the mulch- would the store-bought sawdust bedding stuff have parasites too?? And the mulch is largely from / will be in the same pasture that they will be in as adults, so then is it ok to just let them acclimate to the local intestinal flora or should we wait until after their little immune systems are better?

Thanks so much for the advice!! Happy turkey wrangling!
 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,236
346
SE Michigan
As long as your materials are fully composted, it's a great bedding. I would sanitize somewhat by spreading out in the sun or under a tarp in the sun to inactivate mold spores as much as possible. It won't kill all your microbes, and as the microbes rebound, the birds will consume a greater quantity of them naturally.

Earthworms carry parasites as do mealworms (the wild caught ones) so limit exposure until they are bigger. Toss a little bit of grit in too.

Store bought bedding will mostly have dust, not parasites. Some beetles and weevils may move in after the bags are stacked at your favorite store. No harm there as long as the bedding hasn't been wet.

What the birds scratch up is good for them.

My birds don't like hardboiled or scrambled eggs. Go figure. They love fish, though.
 
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BravoPavo

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
9
0
9
Fish! Great idea! Thanks! The feed I bought has some fish meal in it. I suppose I can just add a bit more.

Any input on the hover problem? They'll figure out to stay in the warm zone if need to, right?
 

TurkenItUp209

Chirping
5 Years
Ask for gamebird starter. Feed stores that carry nutrena in Cali usually have it, it is 28% protein. Other wise keep them warm, observe them eating and drinking and you are good, and it seems you know that. I have 6 Narragannsett eggs going on lock down tomorrow and 11 more on day 10!

Good luck with your poults!
 

BravoPavo

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
9
0
9
I found game bird starter, but they didn't have any organic! Major bummer. I wonder if this Nutrena brand you mention is organic, I'll look into it, thanks! Eventually I would love to make our own, but for now I just want to make sure they have what they need. They will be sold as organically raised birds, so it's important that it stays true. We are an all organic farm, so we make sure no funky stuff touches any of our produce or critters!
 

BravoPavo

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
9
0
9
That's a good idea! We can stick the hover in the corner, then it will only have two open sides to it. Less confusing for their tiny brains! Ha! I'm concerned about pile-ups too though... Im so glad this forum exists, or I never would have known anything about 'pile ups' or any of that! Thanks for the thought
 
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