Turkey questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Shrader, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. Shrader

    Shrader Chillin' With My Peeps

    201
    0
    139
    Apr 7, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I posted this under "Flew Away" but then realized it should be its own topic.

    I'm thinking of getting a turkey or two. Are they solitary birds, or social like chickens? (Can I get just one or will he be lonely?) How old do they have to be before they're... well, edible? Can I get a baby in the Spring and have him for Thanksgiving? (Sounds so morbid -- but that would be the reason for getting one.)

    justusnak -- do your birds stay in the covered pen all the time? Do they ever need to get out and stretch their wings?

    Thanks.
     
  2. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    12,685
    50
    331
    Jan 11, 2007
    PA
    If you're getting it to eat, I don't think you have to worry about it getting lonely. Broad breasted varieties reach butcher weight in about 16 weeks. I would suggest you go that route, as heritage breeds take much longer to put weight on.

    Jody
     
  3. Hotwings

    Hotwings Chillin' With My Peeps

    833
    1
    161
    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    I am too would like more info on turkeys.
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    4,511
    179
    291
    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    This is a good place to start:

    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/turkeymanual/ALBCturkey-1.pdf

    (heritage breeds - but there are varieties that will fit in a standard oven) BB's can top 50Lb.

    You could probably pick up a used Storeys Guide to raising/processing turkeys online.

    Broaded Breasted Varieties (doomed anyway by traditional method of genetic engineering, i.e, selective breeding) will just keep eating until their legs give out.

    From our limited experience the BB's are the most social and friendly...
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2007
  5. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    17,489
    85
    351
    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    We have raised turkeys for the fair. We got the white broad brested variety. We got 6 tom turkeys at the end of Feb., which for a fair in Aug. is enough time to get them up to 40lbs. I know that sounds big and it is unless you are showing for market. The drawback to having all tom turkeys is that the older they get the meaner they get to one another. You have to keep them seperated or they will fight to the death. If you want one for Thanksgiving, I would get a couple of them in July and the only reason I say get a couple of them is because turkey poults are just as fragile as chicks when is comes to starting them. Things happen unexpectively. Oh, and by the way our 40 and 50lb turkeys were the most delicious birds I have ever tasted. I thought they would be tough as nails getting that big. We had to make a pan to get it in the oven. Thank goodness my sister-in-law has a big oven.
     
  6. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    1
    131
    May 16, 2007
    Central Ohio
    By all means get double the number of chicks that you think you will want. Not only will you have unexpected loses but once you eat a 35/40 lb. turkey that has that nice fat covering you'll wish you had a couple more in the freezer. It is a challenge finding a pan big enough for a bird that size(think resturant supply house), but they are basically self basting and it's hard to end up with a dry bird. Just start the oven low and go slow then at the end turn up the heat if it's not brown enough. Oh yeah, and it takes several days in the frig for a 40 lb. turkey to thaw.
     
  7. LynnGrigg

    LynnGrigg Chillin' With My Peeps

    470
    0
    139
    Jun 6, 2007
    Winston Salem, NC
    Has anyone raised the"mini whites"? I have seen them for sale by hatcheries and had thought about going that route. I don't know what we'd do with a 50lb bird!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by