PDA

View Full Version : Falling in Love with Turkeys!



Daydream Believer
May. 20, 2011, 09:10 PM
No one warned me how dang cute turkey poults are....nor how friendly they are! I have 51 (had 60, lost 9) Bourbon Reds and Midget Whites. They are about a week old now. These are the first I've raised and I'm really enjoying them.

I can hardly help myself to not play with them. They are for Thanksgiving sales so I know better than to make pets of them...but dang...they are adorable! I love their bold little personalities too. They come right up to you and look you over and peck at your fingers. They will perch on yoru arm and visit. Chicks usually run or stay away. I'm surprised at how different they are from chickens.

I may end up keeping a couple perhaps for "public relations" or something. ;)

Teacup
May. 20, 2011, 09:46 PM
The little baby turkeys are always adorable! I'm afraid of fully grown ones, but my grandmother's used to chase me when I was only about 4 feet tall. :lol:

Why not keep a couple? They would be a nice addition to the farm!

oldpony66
May. 21, 2011, 12:39 PM
I agree! We had four little ones that would follow us everywhere we went. If they lost track of where you were they would peep and peep and when they finally sighted you they would run full speed in that wobbly turkey chick way peeping their heads off until they got to you! It was kind of sad how much they would want in the house though... sitting there peering in through the glass doors...
Tame grown-up turkeys are nice to have around too (not as cute) so I would definitely vote 'yes' to keeping some around for 'public relations' :)

pony grandma
May. 22, 2011, 11:58 AM
Our neighbor had a pet tom turkey that spent ALL! :D of his time at our house waiting for the kids to come out to play. He'd show up early in the morning and didn't go back home until dinner. He loved to follow after them when they rode their big wheels. He was particularly happy and proud when they would ride circles around him and he could put on his display.

He also liked to sit down out in the middle of the county road in front and irritated motorists would pull into the drive and yell at us. I finally put a sign out that said that it was not our fricking bird. They are comical and full of personality. I bet those chicks are really adorable.

Texarkana
May. 22, 2011, 12:04 PM
I have no experience with tame, domesticated turkeys... but we have a group of about 13 wild turkeys that live on the farm. (I googled and apparently a group of turkeys is called a "rafter"? Never heard that...)

They are so fun to watch, and while they aren't tame, they have become accustom to the people and horses around. And there is no funnier sight than 13 turkeys lined up on a fence, or even better, in a tree!

ToTheNines
May. 22, 2011, 01:15 PM
Daydream.... I am about to get 20 wild turkey chicks. They are Rio Grandes, and should arrive any day. I am wondering what I have go myself into. I live on a creek that has native wild turkeys, but they are not doing well, and my thought was to let them go wild. But I will have to raise them big enough to learn to sleep in trees and be safe from predators. I have a great chicken coop for that, and they can learn to roost there at night while they are young. If they end up hanging around the house and barn, that's fine, I will keep them fed and watered.

I am going to put them in a bathtub size container in the house until they are old enough to go into a coop.

Can you answer some questions? I have been meaning to do some research, but would love your personal experience. How warm do the chicks need to be? Can they eat chick starter? Any other tips for when they are tiny?

Louise
May. 22, 2011, 01:25 PM
This guy has been strutting and puffing around my yard for the last month and a half, showing off for the hens.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1470/5975278/21946947/396872994.jpg

They're wild, and I'm encouraging them to stay that way, so that it's harder for the hunters to get them. Besides, I get a kick out of the way that they look like miniature velociraptors when they are running away.

bludejavu
May. 22, 2011, 01:43 PM
We raised turkeys for a short while when I was a kid. Don't remember what kind they were but they were adorable as chicks. Unfortunately, the male turned mean as a snake and would attack my legs and my mother's legs when he matured. It was very painful and we ended up getting rid of them pretty quickly once that started happening.

Daydream Believer
May. 22, 2011, 08:50 PM
Daydream.... I am about to get 20 wild turkey chicks. They are Rio Grandes, and should arrive any day. I am wondering what I have go myself into. I live on a creek that has native wild turkeys, but they are not doing well, and my thought was to let them go wild. But I will have to raise them big enough to learn to sleep in trees and be safe from predators. I have a great chicken coop for that, and they can learn to roost there at night while they are young. If they end up hanging around the house and barn, that's fine, I will keep them fed and watered.

I am going to put them in a bathtub size container in the house until they are old enough to go into a coop.

Can you answer some questions? I have been meaning to do some research, but would love your personal experience. How warm do the chicks need to be? Can they eat chick starter? Any other tips for when they are tiny?

Sounds like you will have your hands full.

Yes, you will need a brooder lamp. You should keep them at least 90F the first few days and you can decrease it by one degree a day. Better yet, just watch how they look..all huddled together and they are too cold, running around, they are fine.

Turkey babies need Game Bird Starter feed. Also plan to keep them in the brooder or safely contained until they are 7-8 weeks old. It takes them longer than chicks.

Glad to hear there are so many other turkey lovers on here. They are charming little birds. I think I will have to keep a pair for ambiance around the farm! :cool:

AppJumpr08
May. 22, 2011, 09:29 PM
Aren't they a hoot?! I've got my first (small) batch of poults also - mine are... ohh... maybe a month old now? They are just too funny - wait 'till yours grow wings and start to fly :D

JSwan
May. 22, 2011, 09:57 PM
They're wild, and I'm encouraging them to stay that way, so that it's harder for the hunters to get them. Besides, I get a kick out of the way that they look like miniature velociraptors when they are running away.

You are not doing them any favors if your intent is for their numbers to increase.

The reason there is a spring gobbler season is only to increase populations. The older a Tom is, the less fertile he is. He will have a lot of hens and a few young. When an old or older Tom is taken (if you can hit him), younger more virile Toms move in and break up the hens into smaller harems. Then they make babies.

The result is that the population increases dramatically.

Domesticated Turkey make be dumb as a box of rocks, but Wild Turkey are incredibly difficult to hunt, and they are too crafty to be tamed.

Anyway, I just wanted to dispel the stereotype of the big bad hunter. Hunters are not responsible for low numbers of Wild Turkey. Habitat fragmentation, lack of mast species, and bad public policy is. As is misinformation about hunting as a wildlife management tool.

Right now I've got 40 chicks in a brooder and I'd love to raise a few turkey... But I haven't figured how to set things up to avoid Blackhead. Anyone have any suggestions?

AppJumpr08
May. 23, 2011, 12:22 AM
Right now I've got 40 chicks in a brooder and I'd love to raise a few turkey... But I haven't figured how to set things up to avoid Blackhead. Anyone have any suggestions?

I asked the breeder I got mine from, and he said as long as they aren't all locked up together (ranging), they should be fine... I'm still early in the process, so I don't know if this is true or not. :confused:


I have a good friend who is a Registered Maine Guide (http://www.maineguides.org/) who has been out hunting turkeys quite a bit this spring - he had the most he's ever heard called in and gobbling like crazy last week, until the first Tom stepped out into the clearing...looked up towards the road, saw Joe's truck, and promptly went back into the woods... at which point every Tom that had been gobbling went silent, and Joe had to call it quits for the day :D :lol: He did get one later on in the week, but I loved the story. Even he got a chuckle out of it. Smartest dumb birds around!

Frank B
May. 23, 2011, 09:32 AM
For anyone who's interested, the National Wild Turkey Federation (http://www.nwtf.org/conservation/) is a good source of information on conservation, habitat enhancement, -- and recipes.

JSwan
May. 23, 2011, 09:39 AM
AppJumper - that's my problem, I think. My chicken free range.

I've got to think on it a while longer and maybe plan better for next year.

DB - did you get yours from McMurray or Strombergs?

AppJumpr08
May. 23, 2011, 10:55 AM
AppJumper - that's my problem, I think. My chicken free range.

I've got to think on it a while longer and maybe plan better for next year.

DB - did you get yours from McMurray or Strombergs?


He said as long as they *are* free ranging and not locked in a coop together, they should be ok. Sorry, I worded it oddly :)

Leprechaun
May. 23, 2011, 11:23 AM
The babies are adorable but they always pecked at ms when they got older.

Tiki
May. 23, 2011, 11:35 AM
Do they eat lots of bugs?

HydroPHILE
May. 23, 2011, 11:38 AM
No one warned me how dang cute turkey poults are....nor how friendly they are!

Just wait until you have a Tom fall in love with you :no: I had a bronze Tom follow me all over the darn farm where I used to live, would flush red, get all puffed up, fan his tail, and strut everywhere I went. It was slightly embarrassing, but it was humorous when he would chase off my ex-husband :yes:

Daydream Believer
May. 23, 2011, 12:22 PM
AppJumper - that's my problem, I think. My chicken free range.

I've got to think on it a while longer and maybe plan better for next year.

DB - did you get yours from McMurray or Strombergs?

Got mine from McMurray Hatchery. They have a nice guarantee and covered the nine I lost in the first few days.

Daydream Believer
May. 23, 2011, 12:23 PM
Just wait until you have a Tom fall in love with you :no: I had a bronze Tom follow me all over the darn farm where I used to live, would flush red, get all puffed up, fan his tail, and strut everywhere I went. It was slightly embarrassing, but it was humorous when he would chase off my ex-husband :yes:

Too funny!

ToTheNines
May. 23, 2011, 12:26 PM
Daydream,

I have 24% starter for game chicks. Can they eat it dry right off the bat?

Getting nervous -- they are coming in the mail, and it is my first time doing this!

Louise
May. 23, 2011, 01:54 PM
You are not doing them any favors if your intent is for their numbers to increase.

The reason there is a spring gobbler season is only to increase populations. The older a Tom is, the less fertile he is. He will have a lot of hens and a few young. When an old or older Tom is taken (if you can hit him), younger more virile Toms move in and break up the hens into smaller harems. Then they make babies.

The result is that the population increases dramatically.

Domesticated Turkey make be dumb as a box of rocks, but Wild Turkey are incredibly difficult to hunt, and they are too crafty to be tamed.

Anyway, I just wanted to dispel the stereotype of the big bad hunter. Hunters are not responsible for low numbers of Wild Turkey. Habitat fragmentation, lack of mast species, and bad public policy is. As is misinformation about hunting as a wildlife management tool.

I, for one, don't see any sport in shooting a half-tame bird. These birds are hunted regularly, in spite of the fact that most of the land around my house is either very close to homes, or posted. There is no DEC presence close to here, and the police are so understaffed that they have better things to do than run after poachers. The turkeys run when they see me because that is their natural instinct. I certainly do not want to destroy their natural instinct by letting them become used to me to the point that they hang around the yard when I am out there.

I used to have a neighbor who would run out into the yard with food whenever she saw them and, contrary to what you say, those turkeys were a lot more comfortable with human beings than was good for them. I make normal noise, I rustle, I bang around, and I don't go all ooey-gooey over the sweet widdle birdies. I just enjoy them, through the window, when they visit.

I mostly enjoy your posts, JSwan, but, really, you don't know it all and everyone else isn't as ignorant as a pile of dirt.

JSwan
May. 23, 2011, 03:26 PM
I used to have a neighbor who would run out into the yard with food whenever she saw them and, contrary to what you say, those turkeys were a lot more comfortable with human beings than was good for them. I make normal noise, I rustle, I bang around, and I don't go all ooey-gooey over the sweet widdle birdies.

Hey - I can't exactly peer into your home and have no way of knowing your neighbor is feeding wildlife, and I didn't accuse you of going ooey-gooey. I merely stated the legitimate, well supported reason for hunting Toms in the spring.

As you stated so well, wildlife is best left wild. Feeding them or habituating them to humans doesn't do them any favors.

Daydream Believer
May. 23, 2011, 03:52 PM
Daydream,

I have 24% starter for game chicks. Can they eat it dry right off the bat?

Getting nervous -- they are coming in the mail, and it is my first time doing this!

Yes they can eat it dry. They are going to try to eat everything in sight. If you can, put them on newspaper the first day until they find their food. Mine ate some shavings and I wonder if that is why a couple died. It blocks their crops. Then when they are eating well, give them some shavings to nest on.

ToTheNines
May. 23, 2011, 04:13 PM
Thanks Daydream. I finally am doing my research. I read that pine shavings are toxic to them. And I read what you said -- put them on a rough cloth for the first few days and sprinkle food so they can find it. I'm sure I will have more questions! I will report when they get here. I am sending an email to the neighbors to see if any of them hunt turkey. It would be nice if they don't, so I don't have to worry so much about how tame they get. My adjoining neighbors and me make up about 800 acres with a creek, so it would be wonderful if they hooked up with the wild ones already here.

Murphy's Mom
May. 23, 2011, 10:03 PM
Just wait until you have a Tom fall in love with you :no: I had a bronze Tom follow me all over the darn farm where I used to live, would flush red, get all puffed up, fan his tail, and strut everywhere I went. It was slightly embarrassing, but it was humorous when he would chase off my ex-husband :yes:
I have a goose that is in love with me. Very annoying! Right now I have a baby Royal Palm in the bathroom along with a baby duck and a baby goose. I have an adult turkey, duck, and goose so these are to be companions for them (hopefully). Berry, my adult turkey, was born here last year. Her daddy used to follow me around the farm until the neighbor's dog killed him. The duck and goose shun her so I hope she takes to the baby. She likes to roost on my pickup and hang out on the back porch staring at her reflection in the french doors.

tle
May. 24, 2011, 02:32 PM
Daydream... hubby and I had talked about doing some turkeys for thanksgiving sales. i'm still considering doing it, but wasn't going to order them for another month or so. what kind of growth rate do you see from them? I'd probably try to raise them like my chickens -- fed some commercial feed but allowed to free range in the pasture daily. I guess I was looking at butchering at 16 weeks. Is that not enough? Also, do you see any problem with keeping the turkeys in with the chickens?

Daydream Believer
May. 24, 2011, 02:58 PM
tle, I got the heritage turkeys and they take 2 months longer to finish to size than the Production Whites. They will probably taste 100 times better also just as the slower growing broilers do versus the Cornish Rock hybrid that grows so freakishly fast. So if you are going to do old fashioned turkeys you need to get them asap. If the Broad breasted bronze or whites (the butterball type) than you start in July.

I am sure there is a disease that chickens carry that turkeys can get from them. My turkeys will not be in with my chickens and if I do keep a couple, I'll probably let them have run of the barn area eventually.

jilltx
May. 24, 2011, 03:42 PM
DB I am glad to hear they they are friendlier than the chickens ;)

We recently were up in Rocky Mountain National Park and saw two or three seperate groups of wild turkeys. They were a riot! The toms were parading around for the hens who seemingly could have care less. It was great to see them thriving out there in the big wild. :)

kateh
May. 25, 2011, 11:11 PM
Daydream.... I am about to get 20 wild turkey chicks. They are Rio Grandes, and should arrive any day. I am wondering what I have go myself into. I live on a creek that has native wild turkeys, but they are not doing well, and my thought was to let them go wild. But I will have to raise them big enough to learn to sleep in trees and be safe from predators.


If you mean to let your turkeys loose into the wild...you may want to check with Fish & Wildlife about that. They're generally not too happy about people letting just any animals 'free.' Differences between local gene pools can be really important, and letting loose random turkeys can hurt that.

mitchfromtimco
May. 26, 2011, 11:37 AM
lol i remember our turkeys, you could come outside and call them and they would be at your feet and escort you around the farm, even the tom was a pet till he came to the dinner table

morgansnmind
May. 28, 2011, 10:04 AM
We have a couple of wild Turkeys in our area..they roam all over the place. To my kids delight they like our yard :0)

Not sure what kind of turkey it is but it's brown and white. You can see on in the background of this picture (bad pic. of my mare..she is NOT that downhill:).

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a256/morgansnmind/225948_225243640819774_100000024197959_1022280_623 3167_n.jpg

cowboymom
May. 28, 2011, 08:40 PM
I have four Black Spanish that are about a year old-three hens and a tom. The hens just got done setting and came up with six poults among them. The tom, Pilgrim, is not long for this world. He started attacking people last fall and he's horrible now-he waits until you aren't looking and gets you from behind. He's torn us all up and we haven't been able to manage him at all. If we go outside without our aussie dog with us we are toast-her mission in life is to protect us. It didn't matter so much in winter when we were bundled up but now it's serious! Ours free range and when I put him in a pen he tore himself up and wouldn't eat-the hens are great and I think there's at least one tom in the newbies. I loved my turkeys when they were young-one would follow me everywhere and sit on my lap all the time. I read somewhere that the tom will be most aggressive if hand raised and toward the one that handraised him and in our case, that is true. I babied them too much and treated them like pets when they were young.

kinnip
May. 28, 2011, 09:39 PM
Turkeys can eat chick or even layer feed. They can be kept on pine shavings, and they can be kept around chickens. We've had many, some kept long term as pets, and they free range with chickens in our not so large yard. We've not had the first sign of Blackhead.

katyb
May. 29, 2011, 09:13 AM
I, for one, don't see any sport in shooting a half-tame bird. These birds are hunted regularly, in spite of the fact that most of the land around my house is either very close to homes, or posted. There is no DEC presence close to here, and the police are so understaffed that they have better things to do than run after poachers. The turkeys run when they see me because that is their natural instinct. I certainly do not want to destroy their natural instinct by letting them become used to me to the point that they hang around the yard when I am out there.

I used to have a neighbor who would run out into the yard with food whenever she saw them and, contrary to what you say, those turkeys were a lot more comfortable with human beings than was good for them. I make normal noise, I rustle, I bang around, and I don't go all ooey-gooey over the sweet widdle birdies. I just enjoy them, through the window, when they visit.

I mostly enjoy your posts, JSwan, but, really, you don't know it all and everyone else isn't as ignorant as a pile of dirt.

If it is true that wild turkeys are intelligent and crafty, all of the ones around here must be escaped domesticate birds. At age five, my son and a friend actually "caught" a wild turkey baby, about ten feet from the hen. (Yes, they were told to leave them alone.) I came within a foot of hitting our resident Tom with my car in my driveway last week, at maybe 5 mph. Ours are not spooky or careful at all. We had 20+ (3 hens with babies) living here last year. I'm in east TN.