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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning on getting some turkey poults from a hatchery. I've raised chicks with good success, but I've heard that turkeys are really tricky. How do they differ? Also is there anything special I need to know /do?
 

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I actually just hatched out 5 bourbon red poults back on July 23rd.

What I found was that they are about as smart as a rock, if you can pick up a baby chicken or two just to show the turkeys around it goes much easier, I spent 3 days constantly showing them the water and food bowl and trying different things to get them to eat and drink.

Other than the first part I really haven't seen much difference between raising baby chickens or ducks.
 

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You absolutely have to show them how to eat and drink. Sometimes you need to do this several times. I don't know if wild turkey poults are just more clever than domestic ones, but all poults I've had a just very thick. Doesn't matter the heritage breed! You need to baby them more than chicks.

In the waterers, put some shiny coins or marbles in the water. As with chicks, poults like to peck as shiny things. If their beaks touch water while they do it, it helps them learn where water is. Same with the feeders. Put a couple of marbles in the crumble, and again, they peck at the shininess and sometimes get a bit of crumble with it, too.

Agreed that a couple of chicks in with the poults speeds up the process significantly. But it isn't always feasible.
 

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I bought 10 Narragansett, and 10 Black Spanish from Meyer this year. As chicks I didn't lose any. Just happened To have a have a few baby chickens at the time. As stated above, it really helps.
I have lost several to a **** or owl when they were a couple months old. My only complaints with them so far is they love to fly out of the fence and crap on the porch, car, picnic table, roof of the house, kids toys, and everything else on the property. Finally cut their wings! No problems now.
Good Luck
 

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Turkeys are very very sucseptible to mold. They die very easily as chicks. That's the main different in raising them. We have had very high mortality rates on poults under 1 week of age. I now get them when they are older.
 

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My only complaints with them so far is they love to fly out of the fence and crap on the porch, car, picnic table, roof of the house, kids toys, and everything else on the property. Finally cut their wings! No problems now.
Good Luck
I trim the flight feathers on my turkeys, too. I clip them on one side, so they're lopsided. Considering how powerful they are, I wouldn't be surprised if both sides were clipped, if they could still get enough oomph to clear an obstacle. With one side, when they try to fly, they spin and crash. They learned quite quickly to stop trying!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks! Will definitely get some chicks to go with them! Which hatcherys, if any, did y'all use?
 

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Thanks! Will definitely get some chicks to go with them! Which hatcherys, if any, did y'all use?
It is a bit too late to order poults this year, but Porter's Heritage Turkeys are a great place. If you are intimidated by the 15 poult minimum, then you can usually find folks go join in on an order locally. It spreads out the costs for everyone, too. You have to order from there early to get exactly what you want.
 

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I agree Turkeys need a bit of "mothering" but once past that stage they are very good foragers.

We picked up 10 mammoth bronze from a local pet shop that orders through Mt. Healthy.

All made it to young Juveniles, found one dead about 2 month old. Did not determine cause but could of been something it ate,genetic, or inherent health issue.

The rest are healthy and doing well, I started them a a gamebird mix and when ready to go out put them on a mix of GB,corn and forage.

Mt. Healthy said they where a BB variety, they are big birds but do not resemble the BB I'm familar with, may be the way I feed them. They don't just get to sit and get fat.

If you want porter birds you got to be quick, they sell out fast.
I don't want to deal directly with porters because of the "substitution" rule they impose. I want what I want, and don't have money for birds that are not in my plans.
Lots of others have porter genetics.

With that said turkeys can be super destructive as well.

I did a quick google and seems

https://www.strombergschickens.com/prod_detail_list/Turkey-Poults

is still shipping certain turkey breeds.
 

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Ok.. if you want them to eat like champs, put something green onto their feed.
They are drawn to the color green.. so finely, finely, finely chopped spinach or chickweed etc.. or if you are desperate, a few drops of green food coloring if you must.

-don't give them dry feed. For the first few days dampen it with water a bit. We put it in a saucer or large lid. Stir it up every once in a while because they will pack it down.

-you must let them bond with you. If you hover and open palm over them they will all crowd under your hand. They need to bond, unlike chickens.
The best way to keep them happy is with a radio. They hear voices etc.. and makes for happier birds. When you move them out to a larger brooding space.. take the radio.
We used to have trouble when we moved them from the house out to the brooder house. We would have starve outs.. they went from hearing our voices in the house to silence and would get depressed and stop eating. The radio solves that problem.

Don't have them too hot. We keep the heat on one side of the bin only. They can go back to it if they get chilly, but cannot escape if the whole area is too heated.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks! I think I'm going with cackle hatchery, they have a minimum, but someone from work is going in with me. Also we're going to get some chicks at the same time. If I could figure out a way to keep them out of the road, I'd even be tempted to get a few Guinea keets as well. I think I'm going with heritage breed, so they can breed naturally, probably Narragansett.
 

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I have a slightly different approach....

This year I tried bourbons with no issues what so ever.

They acted the same as baby chickens, ate the same watered the same. When I get them I dip their beaks in the water one time and put some feed on a white paper plate. They are all eating and drinking within 5 minutes. They are 14 weeks old now and getting huge, they went outside at 3 weeks old. No problems, no dead loss, nothing.

They have a coop with a enclosed run, I didn't let them out into the run till they were 5 weeks old, I didn't want them getting to wet or cold from the grass. They also switched to a nipple waterer at 6 weeks old, again no issues.

Someone I know is raising 125 BB Bronze with no issues either, lost one chick at 2 days and that's it. They all live in a big shed and range in the goat pastures all day, right now they are 6 weeks old.

I think some people over complicate it.... Keep them warm and dry and they will be just fine.
 

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I have Bourbon Red tom X Royal Palm hens, and have around 20 turkeys I'm raising for us to eat. Next year I'm hoping my BBW male will be able to breed the new BBW females I have. If not, he'll be replaced with a heritage male. My 4 Royal Palm hens laid 220 eggs by July 1, when I quit putting them in the incubator, and they finally quit laying, well, yesterday maybe, when someone laid another egg.... They've done great!

I agree that if you have a chicken chick or two in with your poults or an older poult who already knows how to eat, they'll get the idea of what to eat and drink much quicker, but if you remind them by dipping their bills in the water and food a few times, they will usually get the idea.

I raise mine in a rubbermaid-type bin until they can hop out, then they go outside into a big (2X8 or 4X8) rabbit pen, with or without a light, depending on the temperature. Yes, they waste some feed by dumping it through the bottom wire, but I don't have to clean the cage and they are protected from rats and dogs, moisture and mold.

I really like them. They're funny and friendly and pretty, and they more than pay for themselves.
Kit
 
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