Turkeys?

baymule

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Anybody ever raise turkeys, slaughter and eat what you raised? What breed/s? Thinking about ordering a few to try, in the spring. Any recommendations?
 

Hinotori

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We haven't because it's just the two of us. I could raise some midget whites or something I guess. I like the looks of royal palms and have thought of getting a few for lawn art.
 

baymule

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I like the eye candy of the Royal Palm turkeys too. Just need to know their dressed out size. Like the Bourbon Reds too. Pending on my success I would want to know if they nest, brood and raise their own young. How hard to keep confined in a pasture, could I drive them to the yard for acorns or different pastures and drive them back “home”. So many questions!
 

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Yes of course... We have a burbon red tom for Thanksgiving and burbon red hen Christmas every year. They are delicious, easy keepers and full of personality. They require a minimum of 18% protein feed everyother day and constant water to remain healthy and good looking. Burbon reds lay two clutches every year, late winter and mid summer. Each clutch is around 20 eggs. Late winter cluthes rarely hatch because they freeze. Much better success with mid summer hatching. If you have an incubator you could try and hatch the earlier laid eggs and that might work. I usually just eat them the make a great one egg omlet.
 

Mini Horses

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In TX you probably wouldn't have the freeze issue :lol:

Many, many years ago I raised 2 toms. They butchered at over 25# each. No problem to handle or contain but, I swore I'd never seen anything eat so much. Don't know breed but they were dark....not a bourbon.

I've often thought I'd like a pair who would breed & hatch but with just me..don't need them. I can buy a couple ready to cook for less than the feed. May change my mind one day. :idunno

I do remember they were difficult for me to butcher because they kept looking up at me. I actually made a cover for their head with something there to get it done. Way bigger eye than a chicken!
 

CrealCritter

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True story, happened yesterday. Apparently I forgot to latch the door to the coup and the wind blew it open. Well needless to say every chicken was out except my wife's rooster. My two mature turkey hens were out but my two young turkey hens and the mature Tom was still in the coup with my wife's rooster.

The only reason I knew they were out is because my wife's Rottweiler looked out the window and started waggin' his nub and started whining. He loves a good chicken chase. So i put on my muck Boots to go round them up. I really don't care much for the chickens honestly... They can stay out for all I care but my wife wants them put up or else when she takes her baby bear out to use the bathroom he'll drag her all over the place trying to chase chickens. So happy wife / happy life.

As I walked to the coup the two turkey hens that were out seen me and walked right back into the coup. The chickens on the other hand ran in all different directions. I closed the door to the coup and went and got my hunting dog off his bed and out of the cave. Yiu know the one my wife has spoiled... I yelled "get em" and my hunting dog rounded each and every chicken into a corner on the outside of the coup. All I had to do is grab one in each had and toss them over the fence into the coup. (IF) my wife would not have spoiled my hunting dog. I can pretty much be certain that he would have kept the chickens and turkeys in the coup. Because i know he would have guarded the door, until I noticed and latched it shut.

So for me yes... Turkeys are a lot easier to keep than chickens are. But it helps to have a good dog also.
 

baymule

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Do your turkeys fly up into the trees or do they stay in the coop and roost there? Would I need to cut the flight feathers to keep them from flying over the fence?

@CrealCritter what was the weight of your turkeys when butchered?
 

Hinotori

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I have my large fowl chickens trained. If I open the scratch can they run into their pen. Even the 13 week olds learned. Silkies run in groups and learn to be herded with white pvc poles super quick. I'm sure turkeys could be taught as well.
 

CrealCritter

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Do your turkeys fly up into the trees or do they stay in the coop and roost there? Would I need to cut the flight feathers to keep them from flying over the fence?

@CrealCritter what was the weight of your turkeys when butchered?
Turkeys are a little different than chickens Bay. They will roost on anything that's as high as they can get too. And they lay their clutches on the ground in the most hidden area they can find. When they finally start sitting, you won't see them. No I mean they like to think they are hidden and will go to extremes to hid themselves. If you have more than one hen they most often lay their clutches together and somehow they will all sit on eggs in one group, it's weird... I guess they like company for the long 28 day sit.

My largest turkey Tom was just shy of 28lbs dressed out, I almost didn't get him in the oven. When we cut into to him he had a good 1/2" fat layer in between the skin and meat. He made for some good eats and oh my the soup was off the chain delicious. My burbon reds are different from BBW or BBB their "White meat" is darker and the dark meat is way darker. If you ever had a wild turkey then you'll understand the taste. It's hard to explain but think about mid way from a BB to a wild turkey with a moist and rich taste and that would sum it up.

My suggestion is to feed them no more than 18% protein pellets every other day. Or you'll have a big fat fatty like I did. Expect some fatty layer in between the skin and the meat though even with 18% but that fat makes for a tasty 24 to 25lb dressed out Tom.
 

baymule

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Kinda like the difference between a CCX and a heritage chicken? What about if I don’t want a turkey that big? Slaughter sooner and freeze him? Or get a smaller breed.... I have all winter to contemplate this. Really thinking on this. People are willing to pay $6 per pound for CCX, I bet they would LOVE a heritage farm raised turkey. Pondering on getting a few to raise and feel out the market.
 

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