will turkeys fly away? plus more turkey questions

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by freshegg, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. freshegg

    freshegg Songster

    May 15, 2008
    Im thinking of getting 6 turkeys to raise for the fall- winter monthly turkey dinner. Ive read here alot they dont really like going into coops and alot of people use dog pens with a corner part covered with tarp, wont they fly away? How big of area do they need? how long do I keep chicks in the house? Are they noisy? I plan on slaughtering when they are 25-35 lbs cause I want them to fit in the oven without splitting them. I shot a wild turkey once hunting and it looked big but naked it looked like a bony chicken will that be the case with these I want a meaty bird lol.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  2. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Southern Illinois
    You can keep turkey poults for up to a few weeks in the house but by the time they are two or three weeks old you are going to be ready to move them outside. They can get pretty vocal when they start that high pitched kee kee and after a week the poop gets really smelly. The bedding will need to be changed daily when they get around 2 weeks old.

    When my poults come out of the incubator I put them in a large Rubbermaid tub with shavings in the bottom but I cover the shavings with newspapers for the first few days until the poults get familiar with the feeder and waterer. You will need an infrared heat lamp with a clamp to place at one end of the container. I place the food and water near the heated end the first couple of days then move them to the far cooler end after that. If you keep them in the house for more than two weeks you will have to come up with some type of netting to put over the top of the container or they will be flying out.

    I built an 8' x 3' x 3' rabbit hutch style cage to keep them in when they are moved out to the pole barn. I have the back, top and sides covered with a tarp and a blanket that can be lowere over the front on cool nights/days and raised when it warms. The little turkeys love the big cage. Bugs come to the lights at night and those turkeys gobble bugs for most of the night.

    When turkeys find a roosting spot they will return to that same spot every night to roost. We open our pens in the mornings and let the birds free range and they put themselves to bed in the evening and we just close the gates to keep the varmints out until morning.

    If you are just wanting to grow big meaty birds for slaughter go with BB Whites or BB Bronze but if you want to breed and raise them go with the standard breeds. The BB birds cannot breed naturally and have to be artificially inseminated.

    No they will not fly away. Turkeys do not fly long distances and usually only fly to roost or escape danger. If you purchase mature birds you will need to keep them penned for a couple of weeks to let them get used to their new surroundings then they will stay put. If you just bring them home and turn them loose they may very well wander off and not return.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

    Jan 27, 2007
    Definitely go with either BBW's or BBB's, don't bother with other breeds (Slates and Bourbons will flesh out - but they will fly, particularly during their jenny/jake summer...) they won't fly away, but they'll roost where predators might get `em - or on the roof of your car/house, etc. BB's stay close to the food.

    Some breeds continue to fly more than one would like even after they've matured...

    Best online info on housing, fencing, etc. is here (don't let the heritage breed focus fool ya, info applicable to commercial breeds as well).

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008

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