Want to Start Raising Turkeys with my Chickens

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by IndianaHomestea, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    I just started raising chickens about 6 months ago and feel pretty good about it as far as knowledge and comfort. Some are for eggs and my new flock of baby chicks will be for meat.

    I would also like to start raising heritage turkeys for meat.

    I know ZERO about turkeys at this point :) Anyone with turkey experience want to share some general tips/advice for a newbie like me?

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  2. UrbanviewFarm

    UrbanviewFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2012
    State of Jefferson
    Turkeys are a little more fragile(especially as poults) than chickens but for the most part the care is the same. Many people reccommend keeping chickens separate from your turkeys for health reasons. In reality mmy turkeys are always escaping to hang out with the chickens and unless they are brooding young there hasn't been any harm done so far.:D
     
  3. mkcolls

    mkcolls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2011
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    We jumped into a mixed flock last year. Chickens, turkeys and guineas.

    We read a lot of material, books, magazines and a search online that happily brought us to the BYC site. Before we ordered our chicks, poults and keets we called our County Extension office to find out if Blackhead was a problem in our area. They said no and we ordered away.

    We got Royal Palm and Narragansett breeds. The RP are smaller. Both breeds took longer to mature than a Broad Breasted.

    We brooded them separately, mainly because of the different food. Now we have feeder options and the flock is mixed.

    We did not have any problems with fragile poults. One female was sent with an eye injury. She is blind in that eye, however, other than startling easily if approached on her blind side she has been fine. She brooded a clutch of eggs this summer and hatched 5 poults (none were her's) She lays 6-7 eggs a week and laid 6 weeks after her flock mates stopped for the season. She is also DH's favorite.While we raise our birds for eggs and meat she will not be going to freezer camp. For those who have gone to freezer camp the meat was tender, flavorful, and juicy.

    Our turkeys have been our favorite overall bird. They love to be with us. They are entertaining. They will fly up to the roof of the barn. They have flown up to the wires to our security light and roosted (they also broke connections several times). They supervised the house painting last year ( from the roof or the trees by the house). They run to greet us when we come out of the house or when we arrive home. We love to see them run from the lower garden up to the house when they hear the door open and close. We have one RP female who sits on our lap to nap.

    After 9 months our male no longer flew over the fenced run. We stopped trying to keep the females fenced. They free range from morning until dusk. Except for some excursions into the neighbors field they stay on our property. They always come home at night.

    Good luck with your turkeys. They are a great addition to a backyard flock.
     
  4. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    Thanks for all of the great info! Do I need a separate coup for the turkeys at night? Also, when raising them as chicks, is everything the same as far as heat lamps etc.?
     
  5. 20736

    20736 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2012
    My turkeys love to roost up high - like up to 10 feet high.
    They do have higher protein needs than chickens.
    Poult mortality of 10% is considered good. That's my average.
    They do posses wonderful character and you should enjoy them a lot in the long term.
    Good Luck.
     
  6. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    oh ok, cool. So if they're roosting that high, there really isn't a need for a coop, right?
     
  7. nickie

    nickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 25, 2011
    north central KY
    There are people who don't bother housing their adult turkeys, but most do. Make sure your roosts are strong, my toms (black Spanish and bourbon red) run 25 lb each add a couple 15 lb hens on one roost and that's A LOT of weight wiggling and jostling around every night.
     
  8. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    Poults require a higher protein food (such as Game Bird Startena), as do the adults. Depending on the prevalence of blackhead in your area (call your local ag dept for the prevalence answer) it's okay to house/range your adult chickens and adult turkeys together. You should provide a general feed, such as Flock Raiser to meet the nutritional needs of the diverse flock. Due to the general feed, you'll also need to offer additional oyster shell for your lay hens. The heritage breeds take forever to mature but they sure are yummy! Also, please keep in mind that the heritage breeds are very good at flying. Good luck.
     
  9. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    I have 150 ducks, 200+ chickens(layers and meat birds), 4 geese and 33 turkeys that free range and are housed together in a large open barn. I start all of my hatchlings together on 22% game-bird and poultry feed, until they are 3 weeks old. At that time they go to the barn into a 10x10 dog kennel, set up in the barn, with chain-link fencing panels, the bitties can go through easily, but not the adults. feed is reduced to 19% poultry feed, until they go in with the adult flock, when they can no longer fit through the fencing. The turkey poults do not go out until they are 6 weeks old, because they are a little more fragile more susceptible to a sudden chill. When my birds go into the adult population, they all get, corn, laying pellets, and mixed whole grains, plus treats of fresh veggies and fruit leftovers or over-ripes from our 100% organic vegetable garden and fruit orchard. I usually have a bucket of oyster shell available, but never mix it with feed. They will consume what they need. I also through egg shells from the incubator and kitchen out the door and they will gobble them up. If a hen goes broody and sneaks off to hatch a brood, when she brings them home, I will give her a hiding place to keep her bitties, but she can take them for walks to explore and she will usually ween them in a few weeks, when she has taught them flock edicit. When I put on the security lights around dark, they all start for the barn. Most of the chickens have started to roost by then, followed be the ducks making their way out of the pond and the geese bring up the rear. The turkeys usually like to roost on the highest places they can find outside, except in bad weather. I go out about dark thirty and close the barn doors. In the morning when I open the barn doors, they come out in reverse order, geese & ducks straight to the pond, then the chickens to the pasture with the turkeys. I feed them around noon and about 4pm. This is what works for me. Out of the 120 chicks I put out about 2 weeks ago, I lost 3 chicks. I feed no medicated feed and have very good immunity with my mixed flocks. Some of my turkeys got fowl pox this summer, but not one other problem in over 7 years with my mixed flock. Fowl pox is not a serious or life threatening virus and I have not lost a single turkey. I hope this helps.
     
  10. erinszoo

    erinszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2011
    North Central Oklahoma
    We've raised turkeys with our chickens from day one. We have found the poults to be fragile as well. We were told after our last batch to never take them outside before they are a month old and to not let them get chilled in any way to reduce mortality rates. Other than as young poults we have only lost some to predator attacks. Even though they roost, they are curious creatures and will examine anything and everything. In our experience, any animal they come across is something to be examined and tasted which means if you get a possum in the yard, you may have a dead turkey before you can leap to do anything about it. I would lock them up at night just for their own protection. Some of our turkeys (white hollands) like to roost as adults and others don't. Our girls tend to favor sleeping in nests rather than on a roost. Disease is only a problem if you have blackhead in your area as someone else said. It lives in the soil and birds get it through eating worms or the poop of other birds. It's relatively simple to deal with. If you have blackhead in your area, don't get turkeys. If you don't have blackhead in your area, you should be fine. It's either there or not. So far our turkeys, with the exception of one of our ducks, are our favorite bird. They follow us around, help dig in the garden, talk to us, want to see what's up whenever we walk out of the house, ... they are kind of like dogs with feathers. Enjoy!
     

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