Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Turkeys' Excellent Outdoor Adventure

We moved the turkeys outside the very day we finished the duck house. They were still living inside a brooder in my bathroom. When you see the pictures below, you will realize just how inappropriate that was!

They grew quickly from cute little fuzzballs

They were approximately 1 week old here

into loud, demanding escape artists.

Just about a month old here. They foul up their water like nobody's business.

And for the record, turkeys are messier than chickens. This will be the first and last time we raise turkeys unless we can figure out a way to get them out of the house sooner. I don't mind baby poultry indoors for the first two weeks, but after that it becomes pretty miserable. The whole "turkeys are so delicate they can't possibly touch dirt until they are 10 weeks old or they'll die" thing is hard to deal with. 

The duck house is a temporary solution to our turkey housing problem. We knew we would have a few weeks between the time we finished the duck house and when we would  need it for ducklings, so we decided to move the turkeys out there to acclimate them to the outdoors and their chicken neighbors.

How would you like to have this crew living your bathroom? 

We were in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave with no end in sight, but it couldn't be helped. The turkeys had to go. We moved them out in the cool of the evening (well, as cool as it gets when the high is 108 for back-to-back days) and placed a tarp over one end of the run to give them some shade.

And they loved it. No signs of them croaking yet despite the fact that they've been out there a week and they are only seven weeks old. Shhhh! Don't tell them they are supposed to be weaklings or they might start getting ideas. No way was I going to keep these behemoths inside for another month. 

The turkeys want the chickens to come and play

The turkeys seem to be pretty curious about the chickens. They peep loudly to get their attention but for the most part the chickens ignore them. 

We've already installed the gate for the addition to the moat 

We hope to get the area around the duck house fenced in this week. Our ducks are due to hatch this week, too, so once again I'll set up the brooder in the bathroom. Who needs a clean bathroom anyway? ;) 


  1. They're huge! I've never raised turkeys before (I have chickens) but I keep wondering about 'babying' them for so long. How do they stay alive in the wild when they 'hit the dirt' much younger?

    1. Good question. I assume that wild turkeys are hardier than the domesticated varieties. I just know that with all the research and reading I've done, everyone emphasizes that young turkeys are extremely delicate. Some people never allow their turkeys outdoors but raise them on a porch-type building.

  2. I had 2 turkey chicks appx 3 wees old. The parents were a Royal palm tom and the hen was a chocolate colored hen. The Tom accidentally killed the mother in aggressive mating. I was left with 3 eggs that the mom was sitting on. I knew placed the eggs under one of my chicken hens to incubate the remainder time. Later hatch 2 chicks. I removed them and placed them under a heat lamp. There they remained for 2 weeks. With temps running in the mid 90s they were placed in a brand new pen with straw. There they thrived with 3 chicken chicks. All is going well. Lots of 20 % feed and fresh water 3x daily if not more. I became obsessive with the clean water thing. I was worried about contamination and the heat. They had a light on them at night. Temps at night appx 90 degrees. Now this morning went to do my well check on feed etc, I found one dead. No signs of diarrhea. I examined her little body and no signs of being pecked or impacted crop. I am at a lost. This was my favorite. I kept the coop extra clean. Changed out food twice a day so not to sour and always had fresh water. I can not imagine what went wrong. I had experienced turkeys dying in the past. That is why the extremes so not to have it repeated. It appears that I may never be able to raise turkeys from chick stage. My others were purchased as adults. Any thoughts on what happened? Thanks