Turkey treats

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by thecityman, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 5 turkey poults that are one week old. I am trying hard to include in their diet as many things as possible that they would encounter and eat in the wild. This is mostly from my desire to familiarize them with catching and eating bugs and trying to (to the extent possible,which I know isn't a lot) match their food intake/nutrition to what they'd have in the wild. But I also admit that its also incredibly fun to watch them all go crazy chasing the live bugs that I throw into their pen every night! VERY ENTERTAINING. Anyway, I wanted to ask you experts two questions: one, is there any reason I may not know about why I shouldn't feed 1 week old turkey poults substantial amounts of bugs (about 6-8, 3/4 inch long bugs every day). I'm using a bug that we around here call "wood roaches" (don't know the real name). For all practical purposes the look exactky like a GIANT household roach (creepy, hu?) but they are found outside, usually around rotting wood. So we're not talking about a hard shelled beatle or anything. They are BIG, but the turkey's have no problem getting them down! As I said, very entertaining to watch! I know thats a LOT of protien, and there could be something else I'm not thinking about with feeding a substantial amount of live bugs, so I just wanted to check. I doubt it could be a problem since they'd be eating bugs exclusively in the wild, but still, I want to be sure.
    My other question is this: Do any of you have any other food item that you use as"treats"....something they go crazy for even if you have to control the amount they get? They love these bugs SOOOO much that its just enjoyable to see how excited they get when I feed them those treats. But frankly, I'd like to find something that doesn't require so much work! You can imagine how much time and effort it takes me to round up about 35-40 live bugs, especially fast ones like these, every day. I've thought about buying live crickets from a bait store.?? I've tried worms but they don't enjoy them NEARLY as much. So if you all have any ideas, I'd love hearing them. Also appreciate thoughts on whether its ok to feed so many live bugs to young turkeys. Thanks all.
    Kevin
     
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are 3 weeks old, and they literally perk up and get very excited when they see me coming with leafy greens. I've got a big crop of spring salad greens like lettuce, escarole, orach, spinach, etc., all of which have now gotten too tough or bitter to eat due to an extra warm spring. But, I'm putting them to good use feeding them to all of my birds, 24 in total.
     
  3. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Boiled rice, fried rice, boiled and mashed egg yoke (a great tip from BYC), lettuce, grass, ants eggs, chilli plant leaves, any greens almost, grubs (we have some awesome caterpillars). We have mum to guide ours but I don't think you have, if I remember correctly, so you probably need to think about mixing the diet rather than giving too much of one thing.

    We haven't tried fruit yet but our older ones went crazy for a fallen papaya the other day.
     
  4. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    I love this site so much! I never would have thought of a single one of the items listed by the two previous posts. ANd Thi is right...there is no mother hen except me! ha. I also loved the description of the previous poster saying how their turkeys "perk up" and get excited when they see you comming! I'm trying hard to minimize human contact with my turkeys, but you obviously understand where I'm comming from and how fun it is when I give them something they love. [​IMG]
     
  5. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Why? They enjoy company. Orphans do especially. They need a protector, teacher and guide - and that's you. [​IMG]
     
  6. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

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    SHould have explained that.....its because my turkeys are rescues after their mom and their nest was ran over by a bush hog when the field they were in was mowed. I put the eggs in an incubator and hatched them. (a controversial move, I know) My hope is to return them to the wild, so I've taken a lot of steps to try and keep them as wild as possible. I fully understand that many of you will probably tell me they can never be wild now (didn't get to imprint on mom, won't be scared enough of people and predators, etc etc etc). However, there is a great deal of research that says they CAN be successfully released, just not at a very young age. I REALLY hope this post doesn't turn into a big debate over whether they'll be releasable or not, or for that matter whether I should have let the eggs rot or rescued them. Those decisions have been made, right or wrong, and now want to give these the best chance I can. I even have a turkey decoy and a turkey hen call that I use a lot around them when I feed, etc. (yep, just imagine me hiding behind a fake turkey when I put feed in their brooder box and so on....ok, stop laughing now! haha). I'll have to make the release decision later and will judge their wildness, etc at that time. Whatever negative thoughts you might have about my actions, at least know my heart is in the right place in trying to save these guys. Meanwhile, if anyone has any constructive comments about how to successful prepare them for release, I'd love to hear it. I also don't mind hearing thoughts about whether they will ever be releasable, but I just don't want to start another thread that turns into a big argument. I love this site and the people on it, and I don't want to be a constant source of arguments. That being said, of course its a free world and I do have a thick skin and am PERSONALLY very confident that I did the right thing, so I'll listen to what anyone has to say. Again, I just don't want to keep causing controversy! Thanks everyone.
     
  7. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see what you're trying to do. I'm no expert, being new to poultry of any kind, but I would say that they still need a parent figure at the moment and have no adult turkeys to attach themselves to. Would you be willing to let them make their own decision about going back to the wild when the time comes? I think that they would probably leave when the urge takes them?
     
  8. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are feeding bugs and stuff, make sure that they also have access to grit to help digest their treats. Don't know how much I would worry about them being around humans... One of my domestic turkeys hatched out a clutch and was soon joined by a wild hen with her babies. It wasn't long before they started following me into the barn at feeding time and wait impatiently for the feed. They kept their distance, but didn't mind me being around. The turkeys left the area that fall, the following spring there was a tom hanging around watching me. I am pretty sure that he was from the wild hens bunch. He was here for a few weeks and then left. I haven't seen wild turkeys close by since then.

    Also use caution feeding earth worms... they can carry the disease 'Blackhead'. If you have any organic gardeners in the area, they love potato bugs, grasshoppers... dandelion leaves, grapes are a favorite, too (had a heck of a time trying to keep the wild babies out of my grape plants!). They also like apples. My turkeys keep fallen apples cleaned up which in turn cuts down on yellow jackets in the yard.
     
  9. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cityman -- when I was a teenager, my older sister lived at home still for a couple of years after graduating from college with degrees in wildlife and fisheries biology and worked for the department of natural resources here. She brought home a lot of injured and orphaned wildlife to rehab, which was certainly an interesting and often rewarding experience for me as a teenager at the time who was very willing to help out with these animals. So I do have some experience with this sort of thing. Among the wild critters she brought home were a couple of roughly day-old pheasant chicks someone brought to them for whatever reason, a lone wood duck a few days old that survived the rest of its family being squished on the highway, and an injured Canada goose (adult). Later as a adult, I also raised 8 wild mallards I hatched out after something, probably the stupid neighbor's dumb white cat, killed the mother during the night while she was sitting on her nest under the shrubs by my front porch. Everybody above all went back to the wild in the end.

    I think that you'll find that wild birds like your turkeys will seem somewhat "tame" when younger, but as they get older you will notice that they are truly wild turkeys and not domesticated barnyard birds. They'll get progressively more flighty and skittish around humans, which is just natural and is a good sign (try not to take it personally when they reject you, Dad, since it's something all teenagers do anyway!)

    I don't think you'll have any real problem in successfully releasing them into the wild. And I think you're definitely doing the right thing by getting them to forage for themselves on the types of foods they would find in nature, because these birds won't find big plastic feeders full of Purina turkey pellets out in the wild
     
  10. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cityman -- another thought for you about collecting wild food -- do you have Japanese Beetles in your region ? If so, go to the hardware and get some Japanese Beetle traps -- the bags will fill quickly with bugs, and these are great treats for birds. My chickens love them. This would be a pretty easy way to get a quantity of insects quickly. Of course, you wouldn't want to overfeed on any one item.
     

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