Self Sufficient Living

Swarm Collection 01752 516619

Rearing Turkeys

Turkey Bronze

Home reared Turkeys require a little more care than chickens as they are suspetible to a disease called black head; carried by chickens but fatal to turkeys. For this reason Turkeys when young are best kept apart from chickens in the earlier weeks of their life.
See article on Black Head.

The same basic princilpes of husbandry apply that we used for chicken rearing so that the turkeys have the best quality of life possible. An outdoor area for sunshine and dirt to dust bath and scratch about in, good feed, fresh water, green vegetation and good indoor ventilation with natural light and clean straw or shavings etc.
(dont use hay it's dust causes respiratory problems)

Turkey White

Housing:- turkeys are considerably larger than chickens and so need more space to roam and a dry sheltered house with good ventilation. We are keeping 4 birds, a bronze cock bird and three white hens supplied at 5 weeks old by Senara at Hendra farm.see link on the front page.

Started on turkey chick crumbs until 5 - 6 weeks old then gradualy changed over to turkey growers pellets, turkeys need a higher protien crumb than chickens, with fresh leaves ie lettuce, dandelion or cabbage, sprout peelings etc..

Last time I raised turkeys for the table I found the cock birds to be about twice the weight of hen birds reaching 17lbs . Started in August and finished in the third week of December.
Turkey finisher pellets are used in the last week of rearing. Before slaughter remove feed the night before to make gutting cleaner.

Well Christmas has been and gone and ours was a very good one. George, our bronze male turkey, was dispatched two weeks early due to his size ( 30lbs 8oz ) He was already too large to fit in the oven so we sawed him in half, one half we turned into sausages with port and cranberry the other half was frozen for Christmas day. The white turkeys (all hen birds) weighed in around 12lbs

We have now keep turkeys for 3 years, 2011 we kept 4 Norfolk blacks which weighed in at 25 lbs each.