Why are baby Turkeys so hard to Raise?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Sugroxz, May 15, 2011.

  1. Sugroxz

    Sugroxz Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    Pleasant Hope, Missouri
    I know there are probably going to be some that say they have no problems raising them but for me I seem to have bad luck raising any.. Can look and act to be healthy one min. and dead the next.. I have tried to make sure they was on medicated water for the first week and they are on game bird starter. Everyone I have talked with say Turkey babies are hard to raise and that is why they don't raise them.. So My question is why are they so hard to raise when they seem like hearty little guys???
  2. kelidei

    kelidei ~*Dances with chickens*~

    Mar 18, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    Thanks for posting that info... I am new to turkeys. I have five 1 1/2 wk old Royal Palm poults... so far so good! I have a laying flock of about 75 chickens so I am not completely new to poultry... I was curious though... I noticed on your website that it appears you have turkeys and chickens together. The guy at my feed store had my head spinning saying I can't raise turkeys and chickens. I know it is safer for them not to share the same ground but he made it sound like having them on the same property is the kiss of death for my turkeys... obviously you have not had issues and since you are a breeder I am curious what you would say on this issue. I was planning on the Turkeys having their own coop and yard but at times if they "bump" into each other is it really that dangerous?[​IMG]
  3. ColbyNTX

    ColbyNTX Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Woods, TX
    I don't know why people have trouble raising turkeys. I have never found it to be any more diffucult than raising a baby chick. Good brooder, good temps, warm, dry and feed and water. I do use guinea keets to train them to eat and drink. I raise and hatch hundreds every year and am shocked if I ever loose one. If I do loose one, 99 of 100 times it's one that pipped for 36 hours and I helped it out of the shell. OTSS! I don't know, are you dealing with shipped poults?
  4. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    Things I have found that help:

    1) Keep the brooder 95 degrees under the light, with room to move away if they feel too warm.
    2) Keep their water clean and their bedding dry.
    3) Grind their food up to the consistency of cornmeal. At first, cover the shavings with layers of paper towels and pretty much cover the area under the light with a thin layer of feed. Change as needed to keep their food fresh and dry.
    4) Put at least one new hatched chick in with them to help them learn to eat.
    5) Cover the brooder so there is zero chance of drafts. Keep an eye on temps after you cover it so they don't get too hot.
    6) Don't feed them cheap feed. Get good quality turkey starter.
    7) Remove any chicks that are tearing at their feet. Some have very reddish pink feet when they hatch and chicks think they are worms or somthing. Even day old chicks can tear the skin off their toes.
    8) Don't keep picking them up or messing with them. Just let them rest and eat as they need to.
    9) Clean any pasty butts asap and put Neosporin. If you are getting pasty butt, check brooder temps, drafts, water quality and make sure bedding is clean and dry.
    10) Make sure they are not crowded, and have plenty of room to get around to the water, feed, snuggle, or go a little bit aways. If you see a newborn away from the rest, he might be lost. Put him back with the others.

    If you do all that, you should have some good strong poults in a few weeks. Some say don't let them on the dirt until 16 weeks.
  5. southerngamebirds1

    southerngamebirds1 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 21, 2009
    northwest florida
    I use a cheap incubator and a blue tote from walmart to start my turkeys. I have hatched 50 this year and lost 1
    And the loss was my fault. The only thing I do is hatch a chick or three to put with them, or a little older turkey to put with them
    My stock is a little hardier than hatchery stock I get from time to time
    I hope it works out for you
  6. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    Quote:When do you let yours on the dirt?
  7. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    I agree with most of Onthespot's comments.

    I change the water OFTEN!!
    Good Feed!!
    I watch the temperature constantly just by looking at the distribution of birds in the brooder. Huddled under the lights, less ventilation. Stuck against the walls, turn off the light and open things up for a while.
    I don't add chicks or keets, and think this step is unnecessary. It won't hurt, but I've never had a turkey starve because it couldn't find food.
    Keep a close eye on the temperature.
    I play with mine all the time. I fill my hand with food and they come running and jump all over my hand and arm.
    I feed the food straight out of the bag. 30% gamebird starter, non-medicated. No grinding.
    And watch the temperature.... [​IMG]
  8. aa3655

    aa3655 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    I'm currently on my first batch of turkeys, and I can't believe how much maintenance these guys need! I've had chicks and ducklings, and they seem MUCH hardier than the poults. So far no losses, but I feel like I'm checking constantly to see that they haven't died! I think that I'm going to 'save' at least one hen and one tom to raise their own next year so I don't have to!
  9. gobblygoo

    gobblygoo New Egg

    Apr 10, 2011
    I got my very first shipment of turkeys a year ago (heritage breeds) I only lost 2, one was dead when they arrived and I lost one a week later. I went by Porter Heritage Turkey and did exactly what they suggested. Apple Cider Vinegar and brown sugar water for a few days. I kept them really warm in a large plastic horse trough where they could get away from the heat if needed. I used wood on the top to hold in the heat and a wire mesh for air flow. Right under the light I kept it at about 109 degrees. Much warmer than what I kept for the chicks I've raised. These turkeys grew up and just laid eggs this year I had 5 hatch! They ate and drank water on their own, and I never needed to add a chick in with them. I dipped their beaks into the water after 24 hours of hatching and I offered them food on paper towels. I really do think the key is to keep them nice and warm!. Good Luck!
  10. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    When do I put mine on dirt? My first outside grow out pens have wire bottoms, that sit on the dirt, but it is 1/2" x 3" wire, and they can't really get to much dirt. Plus I have a few inches of shavings over the wire. If they do dig down a little hole to bask in, they barely get any dirt contact. I put them out there when they are feathered out and maybe eight inches tall. I don't keep ages on my birds. As they develop, they are put into whatever brooder box matches their development/size/attitude/strength/activity level. Sometimes they move back, sometimes forward. Just depends. They graduate based on development, not how many days old they are. Some develop slower than others. They don't go to the big grow out pen until they are nearly body size like a small to medium sized hen. That pen has shavings too, but plain old dirt floor, and chain link so they can reach out, and they can scratch down to dirt and dust bathe for real, bask in it, stand in the sprinkler that shoots about three feet into that pen if they want.
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

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