Want to get turkys, have questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Chick_In_The_Burbs, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    I would love to pick up two poults, name them Thanksgiving and Christmas, and have ethical, happy birds for holiday feasting. I do have some questions though.

    1. How much space would they need in sq ft? I know what the law requires but it's the same for chickens as turkies, which doesn't make sense to me (4 sq ft)

    2. Are there breeds that would do better with ground level housing? I was looking at using an old dog house with a door added for their 'coop'.

    3. Are there any other considerations I would need to look at for raising two birds together? Would I need to be sure to get a boy and a girl to prevent fighting?

    Also, any other advise is welcome. I live in suburbia and I haven't convinced DH this is a good idea yet but simple is best.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012

  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Okay, well I'll get this started but keep in mind I've had my pair of Royal Palms a whole two months so expert I am not.

    1. Mine spent their first 5-6 weeks in a 10x6 chain link dog run in which I installed a tree branch for a roost. This was to get them acclimated to this being their new home since they were about 4 months old when I got them. Once I thought they knew it was home, I started letting them out for short stints under my supervision. I gradually increased the time until they were out all day with the rest of the flock, returning to their pen at night to sleep. One night they decided to sleep in the main coop and have slept there every night since. They are able to go in and out the chicken door, hang with the flock all day, and jump up onto the roosts to sleep at night. My coop is 10x10 and currently houses 16 adult chickens, 6 ducks, the two turkeys, and some chicks who are growing out. I don't have a pen, per se, but they have a fenced yard that is 240x60.

    2. Heritage turkeys can and will fly and can get up to quite high places. Mine easily jump from the ground to the top of their former dog pen, which is 6' high. A friend assured me they would soon be roosting on my house (oh my). However the breeds bred for meat, that are the turkey equivalent of the Cornish Cross Chicken (Broad Breasted Red & White) grow very large and very heavy and do not have the heritage birds ability to fly/jump. From what I have read, turkeys are happiest, the higher they can roost (heritage). Mine are a little dissatisfied with my chicken roosts that I lowered to 3' after some birds developed bumblefoot when my roosts were higher.

    3. Mine are a pair but that is what I wanted. My plan is for this pair to be my breeders and their offspring to be Thanksgiving and Christmas. I would imagine two girls would not fight but have no experience in that area.

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