Would like to get a turkey baby...

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by cecosugi, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. cecosugi

    cecosugi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2012
    KC MO
    Over the past 12 years, we have had small quantities of chickens, ducks, guineas, pheasants, and turkeys. Of all of our little feathered friends, we most loved having the turkeys, which were always purchased as chicks, two per year. Something always happened to one baby, leaving a single turkey pet. They are so social and responsive. They just follow you everywhere, like a dog. I SO enjoyed the turkeys, but every one of them ended up having knee problems by the time they were adolescents. By "knee problems", I mean that the knee would swell, get hot, and not work properly. Sometimes they would be able to limp around, sometimes it was so painful that they would tend to sit a lot. We tried several things, including wrapping the knee, crating the turkey to limit activity, and anti-inflammatory drugs. So we stopped getting turkey babies because it was too hard, after they completely stole our hearts, to put them down. [​IMG] We also didn't have the heart to have them suffer with continued knee problems, or become the victim of a predator. So the kinder resolution was to put them down.

    For a few years, we have been without any feathered friends (building a house, etc.). But this year we're ready to start a new little flock. We got 5 little mallard (or rouen) ducks, and I would really love to add a couple of turkeys. But I'm not interested in doing so without being more knowledgeable about whatever we were lacking before.

    We always fed everyone layer crumbles, and they were free range.

    I believe they were all BBBs, and all came from Orscheln's, over several years. This year they buy from Estes, but I don't know if they always have.

    Being adolescent turkeys, I don't believe body weight was an issue. They had a lot of growing left to do, so if body weight was an issue, they would never have been able to handle grown weight.

    I've done a little searching, but I may not be searching for the right keywords. So if there is a thread about this, or a website that addresses this, I would very much appreciate a link.

    My questions are:
    Are leg problems common, or were we missing some kind of nutrition? I think I read somewhere that Niacin should be added, but now I can't remember what I was reading, or if it had anything to do with turkeys. [​IMG]

    Is there a different turkey breed that would be less susceptible to leg issues? These are pets only, so I don't care about meat weight, or whatever you would call that. I'm just interested in that fabulous turkey personality.
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Yes, unfortunately the Broad Breasted are the friendliest and doomed by selective breeding (grow fast - hit the table). You might want to check with Cackle Hatchery to see what they have available (Estes supplies Excellent Black Sex Link Chickens - but I don't know about their turks).

    You need to look at the Heritage turks (Bourbons/Slates/etc.) those will grow slowly and have very few issues related to `overgrowth'.

    We can special order small numbers (6) through our local feedstore, from Cackle (maybe they are also associated with some local shop in KC area?).
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  3. Poupoulles

    Poupoulles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2007
    Mayberry (really!)
    Turkeys are fun- what you need is a heritage breed. The broad breasted varieties start to give out around six months or so. You described them as adolescent but you have to realize that broad breasted varieties (both white and bronze) dont really have an adolescence. They get huge so fast that their legs just can't keep up, even young. The idea is to butcher them early- between four and six months.

    Since they will be pets you can just choose whichever seem prettiest to you. I would suggest Bourbon Red, Blue Slate or Royal Palms.
  4. cecosugi

    cecosugi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2012
    KC MO
    Thanks for the info, and confirmation that it's more the breed than anything else. It's kind of depressing.

    I know the Feldman's in Liberty MO gets their orders from Cackle, so I'll pop in there and see what they have.
  5. newduckie

    newduckie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2009
    Missouri Ozarks
    I have a bourbon red hen and a royal palm gobbler. I keep waiting for a egg and so far.... Nada! Not sure what the babies will look like but I have had a times itch turkey in general. Started with. A male royal and a hen of the same. Someone gave mw a female bourbon and then my oral Tom go bit by a coyote. He had to be put down because of the maggots in the wounds. So this left me with a female bourbon. I bought a male bourbon but didn't think it was developing right and it finally laid an egg so now I had my one FEMALE bourbon. Then someone brought me a couple of royals. They were happy all last summer till a coyote got the female.. So I am back to the two of different breeds. And she is three years old or more, and I think she has laid two eggs in all that time. And both of them she flies up to the top of the roost and drops them onto the concrete floor. She will not let the male near her so I am not holding out any hope for viable eggs.
  6. cecosugi

    cecosugi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2012
    KC MO
    Oh goodness! [​IMG] That's quite a sad story!

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