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Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by harleyjo, Feb 6, 2012.
We want to get a couple of turkeys to raise to butcher. What do we need to know?
You first need to know whether you want commercial hybrid (broad-breasted) birds or "heritage" birds. One grows very quickly on less feed, but can grow so large that it puts their long-term survival at risk, the others can live for years, but their feed conversion is poor compared to the broad-breasteds and they take longer to grow out. If you are SURE you'll slaughter them when they reach weight then go with the broad-breasteds. If you aren't then go with the heritage.
Then you need to decide how good your brooding skills are. I hatch and raise turkeys and do not find them particularly difficult, but for that first week or so they need extra attention to head off any problems. If you're not having good luck with chicks then wait on the turkeys. If you're good with brooding chicks then you should not have any problems with poults so long as you pay attention that first seven days. I like to hatch a few chicks with my poults because they will teach them where the food and water is easier than I can.
Poults are gamebirds and need a higher protein level than chicks do. Chick starter is typically in the 18-24% range. Poults should receive at least twenty four percent and would be much better at 28-30%.
Other than that there isn't a terrible lot of difference between brooding chicks and poults.
In some areas there is a problem with Blackhead Disease in turkeys once they go out on the ground. You'll want to investigate locally about that. If your area does then you would be well served to keep your turkeys and chickens separated. If your area doesn't then you can run them together. Turkeys like to roost high and the heritage breeds fly very well, especially when they are young. Plan for that when you set up their housing. If you try to make them roost low to the ground they'll end up in your trees.
Thank-you this is what I needed to know. I do good with my chicks so I should be ok.