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Hi guys, just bought some baby turkeys yesterday,need information. Do I raise them as I did the day old chicks I bought last fall? When they get bigger can they be put in with the chickens? I can't seem to find much info on turkeys,except how to cook them.Anyone know of a web site about raising them?Thanks guys you have all been a big help over the last few months,even you Y2K PRO. Daryll :>) !

-- Daryll Smallwood (twinck@wfeca.net), May 16, 1999


I add chopped up bits of greens (even grass) to my turkey starter and finisher rations. The color seems to attract them to the feed better and they really chow down. When they range free, they will snatch fresh greens on their own. Don't forget grit.

You must not keep the turkeys anywhere they can have exposure to chicken droppings. Chickens can carry (harmless to themselves) an organism that causes a condition called Blackhead in turkeys. You may not see any symptons right away, only notice that your turkeys get to one year of age and then fade away as their livers can't function anymore.

There used to be a product called Emtryl that was used to treat and control the problem, but it was removed from the market. I don't know what they use now.

You need to get a copy of Carla Emery's book (Handbook of Country Living?--can't see my copy just now) to have as a security blanket. Her husbandry sections on animals are quite good.

-- Beth (bethkl19@idt.net), May 16, 1999.

Make that "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery.

Don't leave the 20th century without it.


-- Beth (bethkl19@idt.net), May 16, 1999.

You might find something through the links page of the coop http://www.the-coop.org/links/links.html My local library had nothing on chickens, but it did have a book called "Raising Turkeys, Ducks, Geese, Pigeons and Guineas" by Cynthia Haynes, TAB Books, PA, c 1987. Your local ag extension should also have info.

-- marsh (armstrng@sisqtel.net), May 16, 1999.


What Beth says is correct, although I have raised turkeys mixed with what passes for chickens on my place and saw no ill effects. One note from my experience: The white ones are probably the only animals that I have ever seen with absolutely no survival instinct. The bronze ones [look like wild turkeys] are easy to raise in containment or free range. It appears that a link exists between the number of brain cells and feather color [although I have seen a number of white wild turkeys; it is a common variation]. Good luck!


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), May 16, 1999.

Daryll, They may look very appealing now but are turkeys stupid & have sharp claws & beaks when they get older !!I kept mine in an enclosure & in the end had to use a waste soil pipe poked through the wire to shoot the food into the bowl.Otherwise I got pecked to death everytime I entered the pen.

I would not keep them on hay as they can get hayballs in their gizzards ..which stops them putting on weight.

The most awful thing about turkeys was the slaughtering.We found the easiest way was for one person to catch & hold the bird whilst the other tied its feet together with a longish piece of string or twine.The bird was then tied to a washing line,hanging upside down by its feet.The deed was done using a sharp knife & the bird left to flap (involuntary movements after instaneous death) on the line & the blood to drain off.

UGH,I don't even want to carry on thinking about them !!

-- Chris (griffen@globalnet.co.uk), May 16, 1999.

Wow, we all have different experiences! Have always kept turkeys and chickens together with no problems, health or social. Chick starter works great for baby hatchlings, but if you want a 15lb or larger Thanksgiving bird you must feed them Turkey Grow. I've never seen turkeys get mean, but then I tend to interact continually with all my animals so they are fairly tame (damn roosters the exception). Killing turkeys or chickens is easy. Don't run them to death while trying to catch them, or if so, let em cool down. If they are acting too wild place their head under their wing and then rock them to and fro, this will hypnotize them into docility. Then they will lay their head on the chopping block in total trust. You do have to drain the blood, and turkey can bruise while flopping around, so I have bailing wire hanging from the tree from which to hang the birds. It is all fast and easy and no reason to pre-tie or bind the bird, even 30 and 40 pounders can be hefted to the wire by two people.

Personally I love turkeys over chickens. They give you way more bang for buck than chickens will. If they are free ranged they do not destroy so much as do chickens, and they eat more insects than chickens. I personally like the bronzes over the whites, haven't noticed the intelligence difference, but because the whites get dirty looking by the end of the year and bronzes do not.

-- Mitchell Barnes (spanda@inreach.com), May 16, 1999.

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