Turkeys? Lots of questions!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Chickywicks, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Chickywicks

    Chickywicks New Egg

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    Feb 8, 2009
    Hello everybody,
    This is my second post here, and its just great. We already have a small flock of chickens, and we would like to expand to turkeys. We have some books coming in at the library but i have some general questions.
    1) we live in CT, will the cold (ish) winters be a problem? is there a certain breed that is more hardy in cold than others?
    2) What breed would be the "friendliest"? or are they all the same?
    3) I plan on free ranging them for most of the day, but how big should a coop be (per turkey)?
    4) How different is raising turkey poults from raising chickens?

    Any help or advice is greatly appreciated?[​IMG]
     
  2. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    do a search for turkey raising here on the byc and you'll find a lot of good topics.
     
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    BOCOMO
  4. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Quote:Turkeys.... Turkeys.... did somebody say turkeys? [​IMG]

    1) there are members here that live in Canada and the upper Midwest where it's about as cold as it gets. lol From what I have heard them say they do fine. Ours have housing availible but very rarely ever go in them other than to lay eggs. We are in Eastern NC with a very mild climate and ours stay out year round, We have had some low 20's and upper teens this winter at night and they roost outside with theit head tucked under a wing and do just fine.

    2) The breeds do seem to have differences. For the ones we raise, Beltsville Small White- are the best layers, and the most standoffish.

    Midget White- The best tasting table bird, they are people friendly but not overly so, the hens go broody quickly

    White Hollands- one of the largest heritage breeds, very calm natured, good layer, curious but not under foot

    Royal Palms- Very striking colors, when people come to the farm they seem to notice them first, good layers and also very broody hens

    Bourbon Red- the most curious turkey we have, they follow you around like puppy's. To the point of it's hard to work in their area as they are underfoot. Good layers and good table birds taste wise.

    Standard Bronze- Huge turkeys ours are only about 8 months old and are waist high on me. Once they finish filling out they will be our biggest. They are calm natured and semi curious, some people get nervous about them just due to the size when they see them. Don't know about laying yet- we should find out in the next few months.

    We have pics of our birds on our website if you want to see them.

    3) For the coop size if they are going to be outside ranging during the day you won't need anything that big, Ours take roughly 2 feet of roost space per bird, the nest boxes are 18 inches square. Like I said ours roost outside so the house is just used for laying and feed storage.

    4) Turkey poults can be touchy to raise for the first couple weeks, Never over crowd them, make sure they are eating and drinking at first, if they are over crowded some can get pushed aside from the food and water and "starve out". They need a higher protein feed than chicks, we use 28% game bird starter for turkeys.

    Hope that helps some? If you have any other questions please feel free.

    Steve in NC
     
  5. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hello,

    The one thing I will say is not to acquire broad-breasted turkeys. I did this very thing last spring. I was naive about what commercial breeding has done to broad-breasted turkeys. They were still little fellas when I found out that they would probably snap an ankle beneath the massive amount of weight they would gain and they might have sudden heart failure due to stress on internal organs. I just didn't imagine people would place these demands on an animal just for food.

    How naive am I?

    If I could start again I would have a heritage breed of turkey (smaller, maintains more natural features) or an Eastern wild turkey.

    My turkeys were meant for my bf to have for the holidays, but the two we had, Turkle and Ataturk, quickly grew on the our family. So much so did they become our pets that we spent summer and fall afternoons in their company. They were curious, funny, and easily imprinted. After all the chickens went into the coop, Ataturk and Turkle would hang out in the back yard, despite approaching dusk. Sometimes they would gallop out of the chicken yard when we let them out, flap their wings, and turn on their reptilian feet and leap a couple of times. They were hilarious!

    Turkle lived to be about nine months old, but had to be culled due to a collapsed cloaca after her first few eggs. Ataturk now weighs 50 lbs., but he is dying from congestive heart failure.

    I just can't imagine how they must feel with their bodies growing out of proportion, etc. They must experience pain that I can't fathom. It's sad.

    Ataturk
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  6. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    Quote:Hello,

    The one thing I will say is not to acquire broad-breasted turkeys. I did this very thing last spring. I was naive about what commercial breeding has done to broad-breasted turkeys. They were still little fellas when I found out that they would probably snap an ankle beneath the massive amount of weight they would gain and they might have sudden heart failure due to stress on internal organs. I just didn't imagine people would place these demands on an animal just for food.

    How naive am I?

    If I could start again I would have a heritage breed of turkey (smaller, maintains more natural features) or an Eastern wild turkey.

    My turkeys were meant for my bf to have for the holidays, but the two we had, Turkle and Ataturk, quickly grew on the our family. So much so did they become our pets that we spent summer and fall afternoons in their company. They were curious, funny, and easily imprinted. After all the chickens went into the coop, Ataturk and Turkle would hang out in the back yard, despite approaching dusk. Sometimes they would gallop out of the chicken yard when we let them out, flap their wings, and turn on their reptilian feet and leap a couple of times. They were hilarious!

    Turkle lived to be about nine months old, but had to be culled due to a collapsed cloaca after her first few eggs. Ataturk now weighs 50 lbs., but he is dying from congestive heart failure.

    I just can't imagine how they must feel with their bodies growing out of proportion, etc. They must experience pain that I can't fathom. It's sad.

    Ataturk
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/14135_l_1c947c7dc5d05182051d26de99ad03ba.jpg

    We had BBW's one year and I agree. We got them strickly for meat, they were nice calm turkeys but overall I wasn't impressed. They grow alot of them in our area of NC, huge turkey farms.

    Steve in NC
     
  7. Chickywicks

    Chickywicks New Egg

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    Feb 8, 2009
    Thanks everybody! We have some books in the mail but this definatly helps a lot!
     
  8. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Eastern NC
    Quote:Glad to be able to help. Just remember "everybody loves a turkey" [​IMG]

    Steve in NC
     
  9. TexasVet

    TexasVet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, but I'm not a turkey lover. I raised some Rio Grandes that were great and friendly, even following us around like puppies, until breeding season arrived. Take about an about face! We had to take a stick with us any time we left the fenced yard to fend off the viscious Toms. One of them hated my riding mower so much that he'd chase it for an hour or more, repeatedly lunging for my legs.

    I've gotten rid of all but the last hen, and she's leaving soon.

    Sticking with chickens and ducks from here on out,

    Kathy in Texas
     
  10. ShadyGlade

    ShadyGlade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Don't let one bad experience ruin turkeys for you forever! Try finding calmer varieties or calmer lines of the kind you like. We had one tom that got vicious in laying season, but nothing we keep for breeding stock is temperamentally aggressive for humans.
     

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