Turkey questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by lnm03, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. lnm03

    lnm03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! I am new to turkeys but have 40 chickens and processed about 20 meat birds. I called today on a 15-20 lb live turkey (tom) that I am wanting to get for Thanksgiving for $20 and I am suppose to pick up after 6 tonight if I want him. I can not process until Friday. So here are my questions:

    1. Can I put him in with my chickens or is that a no no?
    2. To pick him up I am putting him in a large dog crate if I cant keep him with the chickens can I keep him in there? Im not so sure I want to because it wouldnt give him too much room and I dont feel like that is how he should live the last couple of days but I am searching for options.
    3. Can I feed him layer mash for the next 4 days or do I need to go out and get special food?
    4. Do I withhold food the day before we process?
    5. Is it the same process as a chicken or is there something else I should know?

    Thank you for the advise!
     
  2. kcravey

    kcravey Out Of The Brooder

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    This is my first year with turkeys also - but my chickens dominate over them. Even the 2 month old baby chicks chases the toms. They get all puffed up and act all big but will run from a hen (and baby hen ha ha!). Ive read lots of places dont mix turkeys with chickens because the chickens can give the turkeys black head. But then the flip side, the turkeys can prevent the chickens from getting Marecks. Everyone I know keeps them all together without any problems. I try to keep mine separate but my turkies keep flying out of their yard to visit the chickens. Ive given them this HUGE yard to keep them from complaining (they were in a pvc tractor I moved all the time). So its impossible to net the whole thing.

    We are doing our first processing on the turkies this next monday. Im feeding them adult game bird feed. I would think layer feed is ok - mine always fly out of their pen and go into the chickens anyway and eat their feed. They LOVE scratch and will do anything you want (i.e. follow you and go where you go if you have scratch). Im planning on fasting mine for 24 hours before we process them also - I read that is best....

    BUT - something to think about - do you realllllllly want to bring a strange bird into your birds..what if he is sick?? A large dog crate should be ok also to go get him. And what if he is agressive towards you? Mine have gotten to the age they are puffing up on me and following me. I havent been attacked by one yet... but I have read about a lot of attacking toms on here!

    Im also planning on soaking them in ice/water and kosher salt for a day or two also. Heard that really makes them more tender. Good luck to us both on our home made turkies this year!!
     
  3. lnm03

    lnm03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thats why Im not so sure I want to put them in with my chickens...its only 4 days and I dont want to expose them to something just for 4 days.........but i dont really think I should keep him in the dog crate for 4 days either??? I have a outdor 5' x 5' square kennel but its only 4' tall and he will fly out of that right? I could always put a top of some sort on it...hmm.....


    When I butcher him is it the same as butchering my meat birds?

    Thank you!
     
  4. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. kcravey

    kcravey Out Of The Brooder

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    Keep us updated on how it went! You are going before me on Friday, we are doing ours on Monday. Another guy on here just did his also and posted alot of interesting tips. He used a choke chain to tie the feet up and attached to a branch. Then also used that to scald them. (didnt consider they would be too heavy for one person to scald alone...)

    And mine are definitely flyers and would fly out of a 4' pen. Mine like to roost way up high.. but its only a few days... Good Luck!
     
  6. lnm03

    lnm03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We decided to do it Saturday because I dont get home till dark on Friday so we figured daylight would be better.

    I will keep you all updated on how it goes!

    Thank you for all your helpful info!! [​IMG]
     
  7. kcravey

    kcravey Out Of The Brooder

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    Have you thought about how you are going to scald them?? We've never scalded before... Im trying to get all we need before hand...maybe I should go practice the set up ....[​IMG]
     
  8. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    We use a big old cast iron washpot for scalding, I think its a 50 gallon size. Found it at a yard sale for $50. The first time we used it I went and built a fire under it, had the fire going good so we "did the dead" on the turkey and I thought the water would be ready by then. I didn't figure it takes awhile to heat 30 or 40 gallons of water to scalding temp. By the time we got the water temp right the first one was almost done dry plucking. lol

    I remember somebody said they used a metal trash can for scalding?

    Steve in NC
     
  9. kcravey

    kcravey Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:oooh! I have seen others using rubber things also - I have a ton of rubber trash cans....maybe heat 10 pots up.... hmmm... i gotta get this figured out this week!
     
  10. lnm03

    lnm03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    no I havent quite figured that out....I have a turkey deep fryer that I usually use for my chickens but I dont know if it is big enough? So we will see!
     

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