Will be adding turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by goodolsurvival1, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    we are moving out to a 4.9acre property (buying family home from our aunt and uncle)... right now we have just buff orps (2 flocks since we have too roosters that are really good from last hatch but don't tolerate each other any more so had to make two flocks)

    We want to add turkeys and know when we get them from ruralking they are straight run. We also for stress, disease, etc. purposes the turkeys will have their own coop and maybe padlock system (we will free range all our birds but in a pasture type setup with fencing as a boundary - even tho they may fly over) that they are out in when we are home and a closed run area attached to their coop that they are free to be in at any time when closed up to the coop.

    Here are some questions that we have and figured it would be better asking here from others experience.

    1. what are turkey coop requirements?

    2. are there better turkey breeds to get for the purpose of meat plus for expanding (them productively laying, hatching, and raising new flock additions)?

    3. is there a way to make sure the turkeys stay tame (in the sense of comfortable around us and okay with handling)?

    4. do you ever have to worry about a tom being mean towards you look chicken roosters? (we have weeded out a mean rooster already from our chicken flock)

    5. I know for happiness of the flock and diseases it is probably smarter to give the turkey's their own coop that they get put in during night lockup (but it would have a 10x10 chainlink dog kennel attached to it like our chickens get so they have more room to move around till let out to free range) is it better for them to have their own free ranged fenced in system or can the too tolerate each other in one free range system? (system for us equals padlock system that they get rotated through to allow new growth)

    6. right now we feed our chickens= grounded alfalfa, wild bird seed (it has corn, milet, etc. in it), black sunflower seeds with oil, oats, and some D.E. in it (its between 17-20% protein) along with some oyster shells. during wintertime we add crack corn to the mix as a treat (separate)... can this feed mix we make something that turkeys can eat also? or do they need something more specific? I'm assuming what we aren't adding they are finding while free ranging and winter time they will just eat more feed and we may have to suppliment a little more.

    any other turkey tips for new turkey people is welcomed :)

    we are in n.e. ohio if that matters when it comes to caring for turkeys

    TIA
     
  2. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1) I don't know, but we free range and I know last year after about 4 months they were getting into fights just from being in a coop (night only) where they had 25 square feet each. We had straight run Broad Breasted 3 males, 1 female. So that was one problem. This year we are getting 15 females and 5 males, and ending it all at 3 months old. SO hopefully, fewer fights. And we are going to try to just build range roosts for them to go up at night.

    2) We were looking at the Midget White because it gets to a pretty decent size. Bourbon Red is supposed to be very easy to pluck, and we know someone who breeds them and is very successful in selling the day olds locally. That's all I really know :( the BB turkeys don't fly very much at all, the heirloom breeds can be very flighty, and may abandon your coop in favor of a tree, and definitely could clear a fence if you are pasturing them.

    3) The Broad Breasted birds we have had have remained super friendly, like ridiculously friendly. Everyone we know also says their turkeys are very friendly. Like, if you don't coop them at night they will wait by your front door because they miss you. HA! Our girl last year followed my son around while he played. They seem to just like the company.

    4) Our Boys & Girl turkeys would attack chicken roosters who were being defensive though.

    6) I would consider adding a vitamin and mineral mix &/or kelp into the feed for your chickens. Niacin is also essential if it isn't in there somewhere, I believe you can crush up Brewers Yeast tablets for it. For the turkeys, you usually would go for a slightly higher protein mix, 20-24% or more. Adding something like fish meal might help raise the protein if you are trying to avoid GMO products. We have easy access to certified non gmo corn & soybeans here, which helps. I'm sure you know, but it's worth saying: be careful not to breathe in the D.E.
    A lot of the food stuff is personal once you start mixing your own feed, based on what's available and what you believe to be important, but higher protein on the turkeys would be pretty standard.
     
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  3. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    #2. Broad Breasted turkeys are the meat bird of the turkeys. If you want the turkeys to reproduce naturally, you need to stick to heritage turkeys. You can check Porter's Rare Heritage Turkeys to see the vast number of different varieties of heritage turkeys available.

    #5. If Blackhead is an issue in your area, the turkeys should be kept off of any ground that the chickens have used. If Blackhead is not an issue then the turkeys and chickens can share the same spaces. You can check with your local agriculture extension office to see if Blackhead is a known issue in your area.

    #6. Wild bird seed and black oil sunflower seeds should be kept to a minimum (less than 10%) for any poultry. They are too low in protein and too high in fat content and should be considered as treats only.
     
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  4. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks

    I figured heritage turkeys would have to be our thing if we wanted them to reproduce naturally....the kids like the broad breasted but i didn't think they would be broody or if they did lay we have an incubator, but also thought maybe if we had a broody hen (chicken) we could put the eggs under her for her to hatch if thats something possible.

    i was reading up on blackhead and from what i read turkeys can get it from eating earth worms in ground that was never around chickens. i know people that have chickens and turkeys and ive never heard of blackhead issues... i just figured out of safety of the chickens since the turkeys are much bigger would be to give them their own coop or "space" so we can help keep all attitudes in check lol

    our feed also has a mix of layer mash in it, i think we are going to go to the crumble cuz since we got them the grounded alfalfa they leave a lot of the layer powder in their feed thing, but theyve also been getting a lot of grass and locas (spell?) that i swear they are addicted too and could care less about their feed til later in the evening lol
     
  5. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    I was looking into the midget white but our rurralking nor tractor supply sell them... even though our ruralking shows them on their image board of the different breeds... with the broad breasted i know turkeys in general don't lay as much as chickens, but when they would lay is there a good chance that they are fertilized if we would have a tom? I didn't think they go broody much but we have an incubator and could possible hatch the eggs but id have to look into the rule about putting them in with the old flock before its time to weed out the old flock.

    our biggest thing since we have kids is always going with a breed no matter what type of bird that is a more gentle breed... its also why we went with buff orps for our chicken breed. thats why we just want to make sure we do the same with the turkey breed we decide to go with as they like to help and like to pet/talk with lol the animals (our kids are 9,5,4 right now), plus i don't want to have to chase turkeys if i can so that its easier to help them when they need help etc.

    I'm assuming turkeys are like chickens to butcher... weve been looking into the technique where you don't have to pluck but you also deskinned also but takes away from hat water dunking and plucking

    ya we are trying to stay as organic as we can with mixing our own feed now... i know about D.E. and not breathing it in not that i always remember, i usually just scoop out the feed and then put a little bit on top in the scoop. Our feed store may have some other grains we can add to raise the protein %, i don't know if we can get fish meal though... I plan on getting brewers yeast in bulk in powder form and add it to the feed when in the feed bowls.

    what are range roosts? the only thing that pops up in my mind is roosts outside built for them... but is it something more than that, like with a roof or something? I'm assuming if they are high enough a predator could get them off the roost.
     
  6. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    The BBs will lay and go broody just like any other turkey. The problem is getting the hens fertilized. Because of their size and the size of the toms natural breeding does not work well. Even if the eggs are fertile, because of the weight of the hens and their inability to move their feet daintily like the heritage hens allowing them to attempt to brood and raise poults doesn't work out very well.

    Blackhead is either in your area or it isn't. It is not in my area so there isn't any way for the earthworms here to become contaminated.

    I prefer to feed pellets rather than crumbles. It seems to help reduce wasted feed.

    Cicadas (locusts) are easily captured and very desirable to poultry. Here again, they either are in your area or they aren't. No cicadas here. Mine have to settle for grasshoppers and other local bugs.
     
  7. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    we got hit hard by the 7yr locusts lol...

    we tried the pellets before (with the chickens) they could care less for them for some reason

    thats what i figured with the turkeys that werent heritage birds... sometimes our ruralking gets heritage ones... my only concern is if they are more likely to roost in the trees 1. how safe are their from predators (assuming the only thing to reach them is raccoons and maybe snakes?) 2. will they be good at staying on the property cuz i don't want hunters to mistake them during turkey season lol
     
  8. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    Sometimes if you check well before hatching season the stores will allow you to special order the kind of poults that you want. Some of the chain stores will never carry anything but BB poults. You can always order poults from one of the hatcheries but they typically have a minimum order of 15 poults. My experience is that it usually isn't that difficult to find someone who wants to split an order and the other option when the poults arrive is to immediately sell the extra poults that you don't want to keep.

    That is up to you whether or not you allow your turkeys to roost in trees. I don't allow mine to roost in trees. Poults and small hens are easy prey for great horned owls. Raccoons will feast on eggs and little ones as will skunks. I suppose that opossums are another predator that is in your area. If there are gray foxes they possess climbing skills also.

    Whether they will be good at staying on the property or not depends on your boundary fencing and how you train them.

    My roosts consist of a dead tree with added 4" diameter corral poles to improve the roost area.

    When mine are young I often clip one wing if they are tending to fly to places that I want to keep them away from. One clipping is usually all it takes since they seem to forget that they can fly by the time the feathers grow back. I never clip before they have their adult feathers.

    There are a number of varieties that do not look like wild turkeys which may or may not deter hunters from shooting them.

    Good luck.
     
  9. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 26, 2015
    Thanks for all the info

    ill have to look into hatchery options prob or maybe someone that has heritage and breeds them... i know we have owls don't know what kind... the opossums, raccoons, skunks, and black snakes will be our main predators... we have grey fox but i think their numbers are pretty low, but we have red fox. We have coyotes too but knock on wood when i was out on the land as a kid and visiting the past few yrs ive never seen anything but doesn't mean anything either lol.

    I do have a stupid question (i guess lol).... how do you train turkeys to stay at the property? Is it something like having them out in the area young as turkeys that you want them in and not in areas you dont?

    I'm assuming to clip the wings it isn't much different than chicken wing clipping or duck wing clipping... we had looked into it to do it to one of our hens that is pretty good at getting height even at her size but didn't clip the chicken's one wing then and just put netting across the enclosed run.

    curious do you have a picture of your roost area? we get some decent weather here in ohio winter sometimes and i wasn't sure if you give them a roof if you do a free range roost or if they are as easily of getting frostbite and stuff.

    just want to make sure when this stage comes i am well prepared so that the turkeys can be well taken care of... our chickens are pretty spoiled and any other animals we add will be too lol.
     

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