learning about turkeys

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13 years 11 months ago #23316 by city gal
We are looking at getting turkeys i was wanted to know how many turkeys you could put in one acre and still be free range

Look forward to everyone's advise

Thanks
City Gal :)

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13 years 11 months ago #332567 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic learning about turkeys
Are you thinking of breeding and rearing the turkeys through to killing, or just fattening turkey poults from day old?

Each type will require a different stocking rate. If you are looking at selling turkey meat you might have to think about the marketing first. If you are going to breed and sell live turkeys then check out the rearing side first. Incubator, artificial rearing or hen reared?

I have read that 50 to 125 tukeys per acre is possible but it will of course depend on the time of year, weather, pasture, housing and age as to how many is suitable for your situation.

Turkey poults are not as easy to rear as chickens, they can spend a lot of time working out how to commit suicide!

Here is a U.S. web site that might help www.free-range-turkey.com/wst_page3.html

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 11 months ago #332699 by city gal
Replied by city gal on topic learning about turkeys
Hi
i was thinking about rearing them from incubator throught to selling as live to start with didn't realise that the poults spent they time trying to take there own lives I was thinking of using a three bay shed to rear them in after they have spent some time in a inclosed shed then to three bay shed then out onto free range the paddocks

City Gal

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13 years 11 months ago #332807 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic learning about turkeys
Yes, go for it City Gal. Be prepared to by the expensive Meat Bird Crumbles though, as Turkeys need a high protein feed, in order to grow as fast as they do. You'll also need high fences around the perimeter of your property to keep the birds in. They can fly over fences quite easily.

Choose ground that hasn't been used to run hens on, as Turkey chicks are more susceptable to poultry deseases than hen chicks are. Keeping them dry is improtant when they are young. Older birds (over 2 years of age) seem to be fairly indistructable, but you have to get them to that age first. I put some 5 month old Turkeys in a chicken pen and still lost them. Growing them with young chicks that haven't been on the ground seems to be fine. Its only when they're exposed to ground which has had a chicken run on it, that you run into trouble. Then again, it could also have been from wild birds bringing deseases into their pen?

The females will start laying the Spring after they're hatched, at 11-12 months of age and should lay quite a number of eggs. I collect the eggs daily, as I do with the chooks and incubate the eggs. They take 4 weeks to incubate. I am still trying to perfect my incubation method, so I can't help you much there. I do know that power cuts don't help the hatching percentages. ;)

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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13 years 11 months ago #332849 by Simkin
Replied by Simkin on topic learning about turkeys
Hi City Gal,

I've reared both the white meat breed turkeys and the Bronze and I crossed the two and reared their offspring, too.

I was able to buy fertile eggs from a free range turkey rearer. The poults grew incredibly fast, we didn't loose a single one as we raised them in a brooder. I did not find them anymore demanding than chicken chicks - just good husbandry - a draft free brooder, no predators, sensible drinkers so they won't drown and most importanttly of all - no overstocking. The heavy meat birds did not fly - too heavy for that so they stayed within a 900mm sheep fence. Most spent their day sitting around, pooing.

The Bronze turkeys grew a lot slower, were agile, could fly very well and nothing short of bird netting to fully enclose their run would have kept them in. There was not that much breast meat on them, either.

The cross was somewhere in between.

Turkeys love long grass and they strip the seed heads from the stalks. They don't scratch like chickens do so the grass lasts longer.

If you go with commercial stocking rates per acre you'll find that it will be bare ground in no time. We had 33 turkeys roaming about 1.5 hectares (about 4 acres) during summer and autumn and they kept the grass down, the area where they had their shed was muddy and no grass grew there.

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13 years 11 months ago #332863 by Andrea1
Replied by Andrea1 on topic learning about turkeys

Simkin;319881 wrote: Hi City Gal,

Turkeys love long grass and they strip the seed heads from the stalks. They don't scratch like chickens do so the grass lasts longer.

We've only raised the white mutation of the bronze turkey, and they certainly do scratch just like chooks, and with a great deal of vigour. They also use their beaks like diggers when they rip up the soil around low-growing weedy things to get at the seeds that have fallen off (we had a lot of spurge in the turkey area this past summer, and the turkeys have destroyed it). Long grass, short grass, they are somewhat like grazers in the way they move across their paddock grazing every morning.

We have had up to 30 of them in a 1/4 acre area (their choice, they could go anywhere they wanted, but don't go very far from home base, and the hens fly very well).

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

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13 years 11 months ago #332917 by Simkin
Replied by Simkin on topic learning about turkeys
So it looks it depends on the turkeys. Ours didn't scratch but they wandered to the neighbours and our neighbours aren't close!

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13 years 11 months ago #333077 by city gal
Replied by city gal on topic learning about turkeys
what type of incubator would you recommend and should it have a egg turner or not

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13 years 11 months ago #333081 by Simkin
Replied by Simkin on topic learning about turkeys
I hatched ours in an ancient Bell South still air incubator and they hatched just as well as chicken eggs.

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