raising turkeys

BaBaaHMonica

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I Thursday I returned from the feedstore with 18 cornish rock weekolds and 2 bronze turkey babies for $10.50. They were supposed to be 50 cents a head for the rocks, but i think she miscounted. The turkeys were only $1.00 each. Checking prices online and inperson i think I got a good deal :)

I figure they can't be that hard if kids are allowed to raise them for 4H projects, so I thought I would give turkeys a try.

Should I keep them separated in the brooder? The turkeys seem to be more active and chase each other, I think one might be a male as he is slightly bigger than the other and keeps pestering it by nuzzling the side of its head, of course the smaller one is uninterested at this point. I have also seen the turkeys try to peck at the baby chickens mouth and eyes. Is this behavior normal? I was hoping to be able to raise them together since they eat pretty close to the same food. Once they are out of the brooder, I would like them all to go into a moveable fence so they can have fresh grass. I am guessing that the cornish rocks will go to the freezer at about 9 to 11 weeks, but how long for the turkeys??

Thanks again for your advice! So far, I have gotten limited information about how to care for a turkey.
 

Baymule

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Congratulations on the great deal! I want to raise a few turkeys for the freezer too, but maybe next year. I’ll tag along with you and see what you do. We raise Cornish Cross chickens every spring, have 23 that need to hit freezer camp ASAP but life keeps getting in the way. Rain and lousy weather too. They will be 11 weeks in 2 days and are HUGE. Hopefully we can get to them Saturday and put 10 on ice. They should dress out at 7-8 pounds or more.
 

BaBaaHMonica

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I can bring turkey for Thanksgiving this year for both families that we usually cook for!

I am about to go check on them now...hoping they fared well since my last check at 4 am, just like the baby LOL
 

misfitmorgan

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You should separate them in the brooder. Poults are far more sensitive to temperature shifts and will peck at each other(chicks) a lot more esp the eyes. When they get older you could probly put them together but there will be quite a size difference and the turkeys may pick on the chickens. Turkeys and chickens do not each the same food, turkeys need more protein. Adults turkeys need 20% protein vs meat chicken being 15-18%, BBB poults need 28% protein for 12 weeks vs meat chicks needing 20% for 8 weeks

Meat chickens are normally butchered at 6-8 weeks old. Broad Breasted turkeys get butchered at 16 to 20 weeks old depending how big you want them to dress out. If you do not feed them the right feed, you can expect the 16-20 weeks to turn into more like 24-28 weeks like a heritage breed.
 

R2elk

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I Thursday I returned from the feedstore with 18 cornish rock weekolds and 2 bronze turkey babies for $10.50. They were supposed to be 50 cents a head for the rocks, but i think she miscounted. The turkeys were only $1.00 each. Checking prices online and inperson i think I got a good deal :)

I figure they can't be that hard if kids are allowed to raise them for 4H projects, so I thought I would give turkeys a try.

Should I keep them separated in the brooder? The turkeys seem to be more active and chase each other, I think one might be a male as he is slightly bigger than the other and keeps pestering it by nuzzling the side of its head, of course the smaller one is uninterested at this point. I have also seen the turkeys try to peck at the baby chickens mouth and eyes. Is this behavior normal? I was hoping to be able to raise them together since they eat pretty close to the same food. Once they are out of the brooder, I would like them all to go into a moveable fence so they can have fresh grass. I am guessing that the cornish rocks will go to the freezer at about 9 to 11 weeks, but how long for the turkeys??

Thanks again for your advice! So far, I have gotten limited information about how to care for a turkey.
The turkeys are broad breasted. They need a high protein turkey or game bird starter for the first 6 to 8 weeks for proper development. Chicken starter does not have high enough protein, lysine , methionine and niacin for turkey poults.

If you cannot find turkey starter locally, Chewy.com does carry several different kinds that are legitimate turkey or gamebird starters. Their shipping costs are very reasonable.

Broad breasted turkeys can be ready to process by 4 months old depending on how big of a carcass that you want. Definitely process them by the time they are 6 months old.

I don't recommend brooding turkey poults and chicks together due to the problems that imprinting can cause once they become adults. If you are going to process them, avoid them as much as possible to avoid becoming too attached to them.
 

BaBaaHMonica

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Thank you all for the quick advice! I am off to the store to buy some better feed for the turkeys. I won't get so attached if i call them names like "Stuffed" and "Roasted". I am not naming the cornish rocks. I think the brooder is big enough to put a partition, or perhaps a box to separate them. We already have a separate cage system set up for when they get big enough to not need the light.
 

Finnie

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The turkeys are broad breasted. They need a high protein turkey or game bird starter for the first 6 to 8 weeks for proper development. Chicken starter does not have high enough protein, lysine , methionine and niacin for turkey poults.

If you cannot find turkey starter locally, Chewy.com does carry several different kinds that are legitimate turkey or gamebird starters. Their shipping costs are very reasonable.

Broad breasted turkeys can be ready to process by 4 months old depending on how big of a carcass that you want. Definitely process them by the time they are 6 months old.

I don't recommend brooding turkey poults and chicks together due to the problems that imprinting can cause once they become adults. If you are going to process them, avoid them as much as possible to avoid becoming too attached to them.
:frow Hi R2elk!
 

Finnie

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How are those Sweetgrass doing?
Pretty good. They never sat on their pile of eggs, so I put 25 into the incubator. They are due to hatch on the 20th. I have only had to throw out 2 blood rings. Even the oldest, dirtiest looking ones started to grow. That was at one week of incubation. I won’t candle again until lockdown, but I imagine quite a few of the month-old eggs will have quit by then. No reason for the newer ones to not hatch though.

I have a waiting list for 8 poults. I’m sure there had to have been at least that many in the fresher category.
 

R2elk

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Pretty good. They never sat on their pile of eggs, so I put 25 into the incubator. They are due to hatch on the 20th. I have only had to throw out 2 blood rings. Even the oldest, dirtiest looking ones started to grow. That was at one week of incubation. I won’t candle again until lockdown, but I imagine quite a few of the month-old eggs will have quit by then. No reason for the newer ones to not hatch though.

I have a waiting list for 8 poults. I’m sure there had to have been at least that many in the fresher category.
Older eggs left in the nest do not necessarily fail as badly as older egg collected and stored by people. There has been some research that indicates that the short times of being warmed by the hens while waiting to lay an egg may be beneficial to their hatchability.

I got a call the other day from some guy wanting me to bring Sweetgrass poults to Denver for him. Ain't gonna happen.
 
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