To be honest, I don’t think about the turkeys very often. Once they are out of the brooder they are darned near indestructable. I keep water in front of them, give them feed and a source of grit, move them daily and they’re good.
Oh, they’ll do everything in their power to kill themselves in the brooder but after that they don’t really need me.
I don’t have any experience with heritage breeds. We have raised Broad Breasted White and Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys the last two years. The first year I slaughtered all 20 chicks. This year 7/10 died in the brooder. But 3 came through with flying colors.
This year’s turkeys arrived on May 4th. At 4 weeks the turkeys left the brooder and went to the chicken tractor. This is a bit early but since the weather was unseasonably warm and dry we took our chances. They dressed out early in September as HUGE birds. Huge. Dinosaurs. Once again we waited too long to process them. Also, the white (no surprise) are easier to dress out.
I can tell you how many pounds of feed my broilers eat. I have no idea how much my turkeys ate. I believe they are pretty efficient because they forage so well but, honestly, I have no idea. We just feed them and they grow.
Two years in and we still have much to learn about turkeys! Let me know if you have any advice on keeping poults alive.
Heat is your friend with turkey poults…they like it a lot warmer than chicks, and very high protein, like in the 28% range. I used boiled eggs or cottage cheese and whey. Now you know why got those Jerseys 🙂
One thing we noticed with turkeys on pasture was that their manure had a more lasting effect (similar to cattle) on the plants than broiler manure. May have something to do with them making CLA…
Thanks. We use boiled eggs and cheese. How much whey is too much? Don’t I need to be worried about salt?
Yes their manure is pretty good. And plenty. My goodness, 20 of them will cover the world in a nasty paste. I can’t imagine 10,000.
When I make turkey or chicken cheese I just use rennet, so no salt. Maybe if they get a lot of salt they will be pre-brined … 😉