Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Posted Aug 13, 2015
We started out with a half a dozen turkeys aged about two months. Stories we had read about the dramas of raising them had given us the push to pay the extra dollars for mature birds. This turned out to be a good idea, before long they were nesting and raising their chicks. We let them have the run of the place the first year, thinking that they would do better if they could choose their environment. I had read that they were sensitive to heat and our fox population was quite low at the time, although we did suffer some losses later. We have a large space in the country, so as long as they were out of our living area they could roam where they wanted – and roam they did. They nested in the woodpile, in the old truck, on the roof of the shed under the shade of an olive tree, and in the veggie garden. We took note of their habits and preferences, but it was a chaotic time. The dog didn’t mind them. I had trained him since he was 8 weeks old that chooks are friends but he would still round them up if I encouraged him (he rounds up kids too, every home should have one).
They bred well. Turkeys typically lay about 10 to 12 eggs in a clutch. They are not prolific layers like chickens; only about one or two eggs a week. They generally take good care of their chicks as they wander about foraging. We fed them Turkey grower because their protein demand is quite high; they grow quite quickly. We eventually made a pen for them, using what we had learned from their habits and found that they would stay around there as long as the food was plenteous. As soon as they were hungry, they were out in force, invading the living area if you weren’t watching.
At the time of writing, the fox population is increasing which is a concern but the birds can fly a bit and instinctively go for high ground.