When can poults free range

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by buff_the_rooster, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. buff_the_rooster

    buff_the_rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2009
    New York
    How old should poults be before they free range? I have no older turkeys to watch them. Will they return at night like the chickens? I worry about them wondering off or going on a walk with the wild turkeys?
  2. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2008
    McCleary, WA
    They should be a min of 8-10 weeks old if you have good weather or 10-12 weeks for not so good weather and 12-14 weeks if bad weather.

    If you keep them locked up in the same place were you want them to return every night then they will, as turkeys like to roost in the same spot every nigh if possible.
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    They are also very sociable and don't wander to far from one another (except for hens when they go hunting for a nest). If you let half of them out one day and the others the following day, the ones that are out will usually not wander far from the penned ones. But, it's like Harp said, they have to be kept penned long enough before ranging them that they recognize home.

    I'd keep a close eye on them for the first couple of weeks they are out. Ours, as three month olds, went single file into the woods following a Box turtle. They didn't wander out of sight and did fly back, but you never know.
  4. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    For us, this years group, they seem to get lost easily then stand there squawking, and making noise till there found and led back so they can see there coop.

    They can be a 100 feet from the roost and can't figure out how to get back home if they can't see it. They furthest they have gone it about 1/4 mile from the roost. We have even had 1/2 back at the roost and they still get lost.

    The advice that Ivan and Harp have given normally is true but, Turkey's are animals and don't always follow Human rules.

    For now our flock is on supervised free ranging, since I am tired of going and looking for them.

  5. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2007
    One idea is to let them out just a little before sundown each day. That way they don't want to range too far. Eventually, lengthen the time you let them out -- early evening, then late afternoon, etc. And always put feed in their coop at evening and herd them back in and they will associate being back inside with getting food.

    I have trained all my BR turkeys (with about a month of patience herding) to go into the coop at night.

    In fact, today my tom walked himself into his own coop for the very first time in 9 months! (usually i herd him in there). I was astonished and pleased. Maybe now I can just come home and say "tom, go home" and he will. [​IMG]
  6. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2009
    I would wait until they can fly a bit and run like the dickens....also buy some guineas as watch dogs for them...and it helps that you stick around while they are grazing...I had neighbor dogs from 2 miles away kill 7 out of 8 turkey's and 6 chickens one day when I wasn't there for the afternoon.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009

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