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Turkey Breeding Techniques And Techniques

Views: 2024     Author: LONGMU     Publish Time: 2024-03-07      Origin: LONGMU


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The first time I saw a turkey was at our cousin Zane's house. He had a Tom and a hen and they were running around and making all kinds of crazy noises!

I'm not going to lie; I'm a little scared of them. The sound of gobbling was quite intense and the sight of them walking around made me feel breathless.

Then one day I got a call from a friend saying she had raised two turkeys and they needed a home before Thanksgiving. She was looking for someone who wouldn't butcher them and thought maybe we'd take them.

So we agreed on a whim! Next thing you know, Tom and Gisele came to live with us! It's been a real joy ever since!

They are Royal Palm Turkeys, a very beautiful breed. They are considered a heritage breed.

Other traditional varieties include Bourbon Red, Narragansett and Black Spanish. These breeds are bred more for beauty and show animals than for meat.

Unfortunately, heritage breeds are at risk of becoming extinct because they are not raised as intensively as the larger, more common factory turkeys raised for meat consumption.

Boys can weigh 16-18 pounds and girls can weigh 10-12 pounds. The first of their species were discovered in Florida back in the 1920s. They are a friendly breed and very smart!

I am now a true believer and have loved having them around!! Here are a few thoughts on turkeys and turkey care that might help you if you’re looking into having some for yourself!


1.) They have taught me life lessons about parenting. When Tom and Gisele had baby Gigo, they protected him at all costs. It was amazing to see Tom hiding Gigo under his wing for protection. I will never forget how amazing it was to see two turkeys being such great parents.

2.) They are hilarious to watch. It’s like watching a national geographic special every day in your yard. They dance around in the most hilarious and majestic march. It’s a must-see.

3.) They are not as messy as you might think. Yes, they have larger poop, etc., but they genuinely don’t make as much of a mess as chickens and ducks.

4.) You’ll have a new best friend. It is hilarious to see them run when they see me cause they know I’m gonna give them some treats!

5.) They are beautiful. It’s incredible to see their heads turn colors and their feathers shine brightly. Just so beautiful and unique.



Turkeys will eat the same feed as chickens, just more of it. They are fast-growing and have a high demand for nutrition and protein to meet growth and development demands.

You need to feed poults (babies) a starter feed with at least 28% protein and preferably medicated against coccidiosis. At 6 weeks, you can change from starter to grower ratio with 26% protein and preventative meds against blackhead disease. At week 12, you can start to give adult feed.

Turkey breeds feed quantities according to size, up to:

Large: Toms - 1 ½ pounds, Hens - 0.8 pounds

Medium: Toms - 1 ¼ pounds, Hens - 0.6 pounds

Small: Toms - ¾ pounds, Hens - ½ pounds

Adult turkeys will eat as much as fifty percent of their intake from pasture or range grass. Range grass is when the grass is four to six inches long. Turkeys like to eat the growing tips of the grass.

They will also enjoy any kitchen or garden scraps: lettuce, tomatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, and so on. And they love grubs and mealworms!  My hen Gisele especially LOVES them.  I’ve got a delicious frozen summer treat that my whole flock loves. Check it out HERE.

They also do well with some scratch grains in winter when it’s cold. You may need to consider adding turkey-sized grit to their feed to help with digestion.

As with all other animals, always have fresh, clean water available and clean their feeders often. During the summer, our turkeys actually love standing in a small pool to keep cool. It is hilarious!


Many believe that turkeys are cleaner than chickens as they don't have this constant itch to scratch and dust the whole time. Which is a huge advantage in the run and coop!

Turkeys need lots of space, and everything needs to be bigger. The run, coop, and nesting boxes. You can work on an estimate of 4-6 square feet of space indoors and 20 square feet outdoors per turkey. This will ensure comfortable, healthy living conditions for the turkeys.

They need a run and coop/ barn/ shed that protects them at night from predators and where they can hide against extreme weather elements. Proper ventilation is also essential to prevent pneumonia and the build-up of gasses.

Turkeys often prefer sleeping outside, so an enclosed run with roosting poles is ideal. Always make sure their bedding is clean and provide some extra hay during the winter months. Remember, they also need nesting boxes at ground level to lay and brood their eggs.


Turkeys are, after all, birds, and birds can contract many diseases due to the nature of wild birds migrating all over the world.

The best way to prevent turkey diseases is to ensure fresh air circulation in their coops and being allowed to roam freely outside. It also helps to move the turkey house or roosts frequently to fresh ground so that their manure doesn't pile up in one location.

Turkeys tend to not show any apparent signs when they are sick, so the best way to monitor your turkeys is to really spend time with them every day. This will help you to learn their behaviors and detect anything that is out of order.

One of the biggest threats is blackhead disease that can be transmitted by chickens to your turkeys. You must find out from your local council if blackhead disease is present in your area. If so, you need to keep your flocks separate.

Ask your local vet how you can prevent and treat blackhead and other diseases present in your area.

HERE is a complete guide on potential turkey health challenges.

Turkeys do fly, so be aware. I have not clipped our turkeys' wings because we have not had an issue with them flying away. But if you are at all concerned, you can clip their wings to prevent this.

I like for them to fly away from danger if need be, and that's why I don't clip them.

Do turkeys molt? Some say they don't; some say they do. In my case, I think they do have a good shedding of feathers once a year.

My girl Gisele got quite bald looking for about 6 weeks, and then all her feathers came back. Both my Tom's have also lost a few of their feathers. Make sure they have good nutrition and electrolytes during this time, and they should be ok.


In short yes. They all seem to get along and mind their own business. I even have them with my ducks! One big happy FARMILY. However, there are diseases in some regions of the country such as blackhead which can be fatal to turkeys. This can be transmitted by chickens to Turkeys. Research to see if this is a problem in your area before keeping them together.

I’ve also got a whole blog post up on how to raise a mixed flock. You can read it HERE.

Incubation management

Turkeys have a strong tendency to brood. When the female turkey broods, she must pay attention to controlling the lighting to prevent the environment from being too noisy and affecting the hatching of the turkey. During the incubation period of female turkeys, male turkeys should be raised separately, the proportion of dry feed should be increased, and the feed should be slightly wet as much as possible. Eggs need to be photographed and inspected every week after hatching to detect dead eggs and eggs that cannot hatch promptly. After the female turkey has a nest, she will be weak due to insufficient feed, so she should be raised separately to recover her strength as soon as possible.

Breeder selection

The choice of turkey breeder plays a key role in the sustainable development of turkey breeding. First of all, male turkeys should be selected with strong growth ability, no disease, high vitality and shiny coat. The selection of female turkeys is similar to that of male turkeys, but good reproductive ability must be ensured. Moreover, breeder chickens cannot be used for a long time and must be replaced regularly to avoid high reproductive capacity and inferior breeds must be eliminated in time. The use time of female turkeys shall not exceed two years, while the use time of male turkeys can be extended appropriately. After seed selection, breeding work must be done to improve the quality of eggs and ensure breeding efficiency.

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