We're going to get Turkeys!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by DawnSuiter, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. So excited! I wanted turkeys before chickens, but thought I should start with an introductory kind of bird first. Well.. it's official, I've got the go ahead and the support.. Turkeys are next.

    I'm scouting a source of eggs to hatch here at home since that seems to be the only real solution to get started. It'll be a long road, but I hope to have a flourishing flock of blue/grey slate turkeys by next fall!

    Any tips & advice? We're going to attempt to fashion a turkey habitat out of some unusable, for us, wooded areas. currently thinking a peremiter fence to keep our dogs out, and aviary netting as tall as we can install it to keep the turkeys in.. hopefully at least 12' high....
  2. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Southern Illinois
    Keep in mind that blue sltes do not produce blue slates. The poults will turn out mixed colors. Lilacs do breed true.

    I would advise you to buy poults to get your flock started then hatch your own eggs. I had no luck at all with turkey eggs (3 batches) I had shipped this year.

    You are about to get hooked on turkey. [​IMG]
  3. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    Welcome to turkeys! Everybody should have a few. We happen to have several hundred at the moment. lol

    To get hatching eggs this time of year is risky at best, with heat the tom's aren't as fertile and shipping is really rough on the eggs. We ship alot of eggs in the spring and fall but we don't this time of year.

    All of our turkey pens are set back in the woods behind our house and it's working very well, the leaves from the trees give lots of shade in the summer when they need it and plenty of sun in the winter. We have 6 foot welded wire around the area. The hens can jump the fence but they don't very often, if we have one that is "hard headed" a wing clip will keep them in for awhile. The toms are to big to clear the fence. The only area we have netted over is the one we raise poults in. Once they get about 1/2 grown we have been doing ok turning them out with the rest. I guess our predators aren't big enough to mess with a turkey. They have access to the chicken house but ours prefer to roost outside in all weather (we are in Eastern NC) so it doesn't really get that cold at all. We cut down a small pine tree about 6 inches in diameter and put it about 3 feet off the ground. That is the prefered roost.

    Also, as Struttn said some of the more fancy/ colorful breeds don't breed true.

    Hope that helps some?

    Steve in NC
  4. First.. I wanted to post this link to several .pdf documents all of which make up a book about Turkey Raising... here's the list of the docs Turkey Manual

    It's EXTREMELY informative, perhaps better than any of the chicken books I have so far! It goes on to include farming practices, marketing information etc etc.. I've read it cover to cover so to speak and learned a lot.

    Struttn - I saw the pics of your pens & brooder in the other thread, very nice, and encouraging to me that they can be kept in pens. Thank you for sharing.

    Can anyone help me figure out how to supplement the food? I apparently should be looking to feed them something like 28% protein, however the highest protein content I can find is a chick starter/grower at 24%.. is it possible to supplement the other 4% with something during the brooding stage. I don't plan to let them touch dirt for 3 full months, although they will be brooded outdoors on our back porch. At that point, I believe I have access to adquate feed.

    I don't know what I should know about breeding these colors. Naturally I figured a flock of slates would yeild a flock of slates. I know that there are variations, spotted etc... but what does that really mean to me? What will happen if I just let them breed? Is it like the blue chickens, that if they aren't true I'll just end up with a flock of black turkeys?

    I'm not breeding for color per se...I like the way the slate look of course which is why I started there with my idea. But in all honestly, these birds are for the freezer with enough left over to proliferate more freezer birds.
    It would of course be nice to sell fertile eggs if someone wants them or 3 month old poults...

    What do you think....?
    Thanks SO much for your time!
  5. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    I have some Blue Slates in the brooder right now, but shipping may be a bit expensive to get them to you. They're just like chickens as far as the blue genetics go: You'll get splash, blue and probably some blacks depending on your cross. It adds more color to your turkey flock while still focusing on a single variety.

    Turkey poults are a lot more fragile than chicks. If you're just starting out it can be a painful sort of trial-and-error. I almost count them as half the age in "chicken days" until they're a few months old. So a two week old poult is as fragile as a one week old chick, and a two month old poult is the equivalent of a one month old chick.

    That's not 100%. It's just the way I treat them, so they're in the brooder for a -lot- longer than my chicks are.
  6. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Songster

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.

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