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Suggestions Raising Turkeys?


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#1 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted March 09, 2014 - 07:14 AM

So, son decides to do a market turkey project this summer for 4H/fair. We are picking up a dozen on Tues, 1 day old chicks. We pick up our meat chickens in May, but that is for another thread :smilewink: . 

 

Any good tips on raising these things, I've done chickens for laying, but trying to get these birds up to around 35-40#'s by end of July. They will be on starter feed 28-30% and in a cage for a few weeks until they can take the barn. Once they get big enough, I will put there water and fed up on stands on opposite sides of pen so they have to jump up and eat/drink to help build those drumsticks. I hope when they get big enough to let them free range some and run around to help build muscle. 

 

Someone told us though to keep them up on wire for the first couple months or they can develop "black head": due to being near the chickens? 

 

Also, what about starting them on terramycin antibiotics or something to the likes in their water? 


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#2 BairleaFarm OFFLINE  

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Posted March 09, 2014 - 08:00 AM

Gobble gobble I didn't keep mine on wire but I did keep them separated for a couple months. I had to redo my roost because they would jump up and bound all chickens off

uploadfromtaptalk1394370023861.jpg uploadfromtaptalk1394370035978.jpg

#3 petrj6 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 09, 2014 - 09:00 AM

     No need for wire, we have been raising bourbon reds here for three years.  never had to use wire, we keep out birds all together year round as soon as they are big enough, just keep the coop clean.  If they are meat birds then they will develop fast on their own no need to help them, just keep them well fed and happy.

   Gatorade and water, that will help the day olds.  the electrolyte in the Gatorade is what they need. 12 0z to the gallon is what I use, I do it every third time I change their water.  they do not need it all the time.  Medicating them is a good idea but be careful you do not over medicate them, it is easy to do when they are small like that.

    Good luck and have fun, turkeys are great and lots of fun to have around.

 

PS-  we got our meat birds yesterday from tsc, they were on sale for .75 each



#4 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted March 09, 2014 - 09:58 AM

If trying to get them to eat, try putting some marbles in the food. They will peck at the shiny thing and accidentally eat.

#5 petrj6 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 09, 2014 - 02:19 PM

   Turkey's tend to be extremely stupid!!!!!! so that makes sense about the marbles.  I have never needed to do that thou.



#6 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted March 09, 2014 - 03:43 PM

Gobble gobble I didn't keep mine on wire but I did keep them separated for a couple months. I had to redo my roost because they would jump up and bound all chickens off

attachicon.gifuploadfromtaptalk1394370023861.jpg

 

Nice girlfriend David  hahaha

 

 

Thanks for all the tips. I guess these are white breasted meat birds from local hatchery. My wife is taking care of ordering, I will end up taking care of them. Our TSC does not carry turkeys, only chickens and ducks. 

I had read about the marbles in the feed and also not to have open waterers as they could drown.

 

Do they need a roost like the chickens? 

 

Plans are to raise here at the house for a month or two then move over to my moms and put in the barn or make some type of shelter and pen. I hope when they get big enough to let them run a bit, free range, but gotta be careful, got some big owls and hawks in the area. 


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#7 Gabriel OFFLINE  

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Posted March 09, 2014 - 08:41 PM

I do know that your not suppose to keep them in the same pen with chickens.
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#8 skyrydr2 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 10, 2014 - 03:37 AM

We raised the bronze turkeys for a few years and they have no trouble getting heavy! But they are very fragile when young . Chickens will try to kill them if introduced too early.
We got ours around April or may and by october were 40# females and 55# males. One of the males was so big he died of a heart attack!
That was a huge loss too , he weighed 65#
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#9 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted March 10, 2014 - 09:51 AM

We have a friend trying to get us to split feed with him, minimum order is 2000#'s  (40 bags), we just can't hack that cost right now. We will be spending $500 middle of April to get our new goats.

 

They will never go in with the other chickens, maybe just in pen next to them. We are hoping for 35#'s, between now and July 20th.



#10 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2014 - 12:01 AM

We've raised turkeys for years, both bronze and broad-breasted whites. Long story short, had to quit with the bronze because Olde Deere #2 gets too fond of them and has an awful time butchering them The last time we raised them I sent her off to town and had all 10 of them done by myself by the time she got home. Good thing I love that woman, lol. That was not a fun afternoon. The whites get to around 40 lbs. for gobblers and up to 30 for the hens. Yes, they are stupid as chicks--- seems they look for ways to commit suicide; drown in the water dish, stand outside in the rain beside the open door and get pneumonia, hang themselves on the combine pickup, get their feet tangled in twine, roost on the corral rails and wait for a coyote to come along, the list is endless.  Don't keep poults and chicks in the same pen, the chickens mature quicker and are vicious little things and will pick at the turkeys. We have found the best feed for growing turkeys is split field peas. I run them through the roller mill for the little guys, but once they are over 10lbs. or so they can handle split or whole peas with no problem. The important thing when they are little is to keep them warm and dry. Good clean dry bedding is important. We use straw, peat moss is too dusty and they get lung problems from it.  What are you having to pay for your birds? This year ours are up to almost $5.00 each for day-olds. If it wasn't for the difference in taste, it makes paying .90/lb. for a bird at the supermarket look pretty good.. We sure can't raise them for that.



#11 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2014 - 08:18 AM

We won't be keeping with any chicks, wife is picking up turkeys today, chickens won't be bought until last week of May. It 's jsut logistics with what they need to weigh at fair time. Turkeys need to be 35-40#'s if possible, chickens are pens of 3 at 4-5#'s per chicken.

I have a large indoor rabbit cage already set up, using flake shavings for now with heat lamp.  Hopefully they will be okay in that for a couple weeks, then in a bigger box or something.

 

Split peas?? where would you find that in bulk?

 

Not sure of price of turkeys, My wife places order for chickens, turkey and guineas all together, I am unsure of the breakdown. I'm guessing $5-6 per bird going on their minimum order list/prices on their website.

 

My wife had that discussion with a coworker about cost of raising versus buying them at the store. In our case, it's about the 4H project, we always end up having more in our animals than what they are worth. Shoot, we bought fresh dressed out turkeys at Thanksgiving from a local turkey farm, they ended up being $2.69 per pound, but man, you can notice the taste.

We will take ours in August sometime to a local Amish family who butchers/packed them, I just don't have the time and know how.

My sisters are all buying one or two from us and we have plans to give a turkey to 4 families we hang with.


Edited by TAHOE, March 11, 2014 - 08:19 AM.

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#12 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2014 - 03:50 PM

I don't know what the system is down there, but we can get "cull" peas from the dockage bin at a local grain elevator. Lots of weed seeds, chaff etc. in the sample, but that's all feed to a turkey as well. Sometimes a local farmer will let you come and sweep out a pea bin, or go to a seed cleaning plant and explain what you're after, what they clean out of a load of seed is just waste to them and they usually are glad to have it hauled away. Good luck.

#13 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2014 - 08:46 AM

Aaaahh, gotcha. I doubt anyone down this way even raises peas, all corn and soybeans and not too many grain places around anymore either.

 

Got the little boogers home yesterday, all seem to be doing okay. One out of the 12 never shuts up. I told the wife they are all Toms and that one noisy one is the hen  :bigrofl:

Worried about them eating, some seemed to get the concept, others seem lost.

The also look dead when the sleep, they just sprawl out.



#14 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2014 - 11:17 PM

Cracked corn should do just as well as peas, corn is a good strong feed. We sprinkle feed, (comercial turkey starter) on the bedding for a while when they are babies as they tend to pick at anything that looks different, and don't always get to the feed dish right away. As soon as we get them unpacked we dip their beaks in the water and make sure they get that first drink to get them going. Should have mentioned that right off the bat, sorry.

#15 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2014 - 09:50 AM

Yea, my wife took each one and dipped their beaks in the water and showed them, seemed to have helped.

I feed cracked corn to my chickens as a filler so got plenty of that.

They are still a little wobbley on day 3, but all look like they are doing good. They sure do like to pick at my ring when I stick my hand in there.

That one....never shuts up! I think it chirps in it's sleep.






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