Will turkeys fly away?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Raising turkeys sounds fasinating. My wife and I have 6 acres in Elkins, West Virginia. The land contains a log cabin, a chicken house, a smoke house, a root cellar and a quarter acre pond. Three of the acres are open lawn and the other 3 are treed and very rocky. We are planning on semi-retiring there in 3 or 4 years, (we currently live in Harpers Ferry, WV). We plan on raising rabbits and chickens and just recently are considering raising turkeys as well. We are planning on free ranging the chickens and turkeys and locking them up at night in the chicken house, because of predators. My questions is, do you have to keep the turkey's wings clipped so that they can't fly away, or is this not a problem? Thanks for any help that you can give to us.
-- Woody Reedy (email@example.com), September 18, 2001
We never had a problem with our turkeys disappearing. They were raised from chicks along with 1-day-old chickens. Once they were big enough to not need the heat lamp, they had the run of a totally enclosed wire run as well. We began letting them out of the run occasionally and putting them back in at night, and after a while, they were out pretty much all the time. When they got big, however, the Tom did weird things like attacking the laundry as we hung it out, or he would jump on your back if you were bent over. After that we just kept them in a pen most of the time. We did have to clip their wings to keep them in the pen, but they stuck around pretty well before that. But it was totally worth it(raising turkeys). You can't beat eating a turkey that was running around only 5 hours before!
-- Farm chick (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 18, 2001.
It might depend on what type of turkeys you raise how much they will roam. I doubt the more domestic breed would wander, but the wild ones will definitely tour the neighborhood and harrass the neighbors and their gardens(speaking as the neighbor here!;)
-- mary (email@example.com), September 18, 2001.
We have raised lots of turkeys and found the easiest way is to have the young turkeys bond to you. We did this by feeding the young turks goodies and taking them out while they were little for short times durring the day. They would stay right with you and if they wandered more then a few feet away I would make sounds like a hawk and they would run right back to me. After a week or so whenever I called to them they would come running. Once they are about 6 weeks old they go out all day and in at night. Our turkeys would take walks with us finding all those tasty hoppers and other bugs to eat. The only draw back is when they get bigger ours have attacked dogs. The other thing is you have to watch out for all the "land mines" as my husband calls them. hehe
Nothing tasts better then a turkey that was able to free range. 12- 20 lb. free ranged turkeys sell for about $25.00 around our area.
-- shari (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 18, 2001.
Domestic varities will not "fly away". They do like to roost, however, and you should provide a roost in their pen. I advise against keeping chickens and turkeys in the same enclosure. First, they should have different feeds, and turkeys especially need their own MEDICATED feed, to guard against Blackhead disease. Blackhead is a soil borne parasite carried by chickens, but not injurious to them. It is, however, deadly to turkeys. You must use medicated turkey feed until a week or so before slaughter. You must also keep the turkeys penned long enough to ensure that they ingest a sufficient amount of the medicine before you turn them loose to free range. Through some somewhat expensive experimentation, and with the advice and consent of the County Extension Service, I now free range my turkeys with the chickens. But the chickens go outside early in the morning. The turkeys go out after noon. If you follow this advice, you will save some money, or dead turkeys, which I consider to be pretty much the same. GL!
-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), September 18, 2001.
I would hesitate to put the chickens and turkeys together for another yet unmentioned reason. This spring when I was having a terrible time with raccoons getting to my hens, I put the three surviving hens in my pen where two tom turkeys and my goats lived. This was late at night and the next morning I found two dead hens and one bedraggled survivor. The toms without benefit of female companionship decided to "court" the ladies and killed them in the process. Luckily, the last hen has done quite well in her new secure henhouse and run and truly rules the roost of about 20 new hens and guineas. It just goes to show that experience is a hard teacher, but one you don't soon forget. Good luck!
-- Debbie in S IL (email@example.com), September 18, 2001.
I had some eastern type domesticated turkeys once. They were really unique. I just let mine free range all the time. At first they roosted in the hen house and when it got warmer they started roosting in the trees. After that no matter what the weather, they roosted in trees which I guess was alright since their kinfolks do it all the time. They got to where they would roam out futher and futher everday. I would have some people who lived across the creek or haller say to me that my turkeys came over and visited them. Whenever they would come over they said they would feed them some bread or crackers. I had two different families tell me that and they lived at least a quarter of a mile away. I started out with seven and by the time they were two years old they had dwindled down to three. I think the neighbor hood dogs were getting them. When I got down to three I had one Tom and two hens. The tom started getting real mean. If you put yourself between him and his two hens you was in big trouble. I finally had to get rid of them, I was afraid the tom might attack some little kid and I might have a lawsuit against me. I gave them to a feller who lived deep in the woods so they could still run free. The last time I talked to the fellar he said he had to eat the tom cause he couldn't even feed them without it attacking him.
-- r.h. in okla. (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 18, 2001.