Let me get you up to speed on everything about quickly raising turkeys: Choosing healthy poults, looking after their habitat, and avoiding illnesses or diseases. I have all the knowledge in my tool belt to give the best advice for your barnyard birds!
Choosing Healthy Poults for a Stress-Free, Easy Turkeys Raising Experience
Raising heritage-breed turkeys for Thanksgiving is rewarding but challenging for farm families. But by selecting the right day-old poults at the start of your project, you can give your turkeys the best chance of survival by minimizing stress on them in their vulnerable early period of life. Here’s what to look out for before it’s too late.
Ask for Advice Before Starting
Brainstorm your questions about setting up a brooder for young chicks before buying poults from a hatchery, and get in touch for help. Incubators can also advise on preparing the correctly-temperature environment, feed, and water before the birds arrive. Also, ask for a health certificate to ensure all necessary biosecurity measures have been implemented to avoid introducing diseases into your property before it’s too late!
Think About Travel Conditions
If possible, go in person to buy your poults rather than paying for shipping – it is also good to ask that they have multiple vet check-ups through this process! Use a big dog crate or cat carrier once on-site to put them in for the drive home. Put down thick layers of newspaper and fresh bedding so that no cold metal touches their little feathers when traveling away from their cozy old environs into an unknown world! Keep trips to two hours or less if possible!
Put on Your Rubber Boots and Get Ready!
When you return to your farm, put on protective rubber boots before exiting the vehicle into quarantine barn space! Put down fresh layers of bedding inside the crate before letting them out into their new Brooder – give them a chance to eat, drink and get shut-eye before turning off the heat lamp at the end of their first day in their new home.
Monitor Environment Daily
Adjusting temperatures regularly and keeping an eye on humidity levels, bedding quality, and light cycles all contribute to ease of poultry raising – think like humans don’t like chill winds on nights without beds! Check in at least once during the middle of the night once chicks are out of the Brooder but have yet to be moved into Grow-Out Pen – keep away from nocturnal predators by being awake at vulnerable times in animals’ lives!
Creating the Perfect Brooder to Raise Turkeys from Poults Easily
Preparing for Your Turkey Poults
When it comes to raising turkeys, it all begins with setting up a comfortable brooder for them to live in for up to 5 weeks after hatching. Their environment is key to their development and health, so providing them with the right temperature and space is essential.
Creating the Ideal Brooder Environment
Brooders come in all shapes and sizes, but at their most basic, they need to keep the poults warm at all times of day, have room for food and water, and give the poults sufficient space to move away from direct heat if needed. Each poult should have at least 3 square feet of space in its brooder enclosure.
Maintaining a Safe Environment Temperature-wise
You must keep the Brooder at around 90 degrees for the first week of your poult’s arrival. After that, it can be lowered week by week until at 70; it’s no more than 5 degrees cooler at night. It is also essential to ensure it is well-ventilated for better air circulation for the little birds.
Setting up The Brooder Beforehand
Set up the Brooder at least one full day before you expect the turkey poults to arrive. This way, it can warm up to its optimum temperature before they get there, allowing you to check that it works properly before relying on it. Remember- ensure you have all their feed, bedding, and water ready before they arrive!
How to Ensure Your Turkey Poults Thrive From Birth: The Essentials of Feeding and Watering
Provide Fresh Food & Water at All Times
Poults need fresh food and water for good health and development. Feed them only in small portions at once to avoid mold forming on the uneaten food. Use high-quality, antibiotic-free gamebird/poultry starter feed for optimal nutrition. Avoid contamination by keeping all food away from the edges of its container. Use natural light to keep the area calm and free of bacteria/mold.
Opt for Plastic or Galvanized Steel Containers for Water & Food
Using a plastic or galvanized steel container is essential for preventing lead poisoning in poults caused by rusty metal containers. Provide grit to help turkeys digest their food and ensure it is of good quality to avoid illness in your birds. Avoid giving treats to help keep poults on a strict diet to avoid health problems.
Clean All Feeders & Waterers Regularly
Clean all feeders/waterers at least once per week to keep bacteria/mold away from the food/water of your poults. Please set up a red heat lamp away from the feed/water to keep it warm and prevent any additional contamination from occurring in that area. Make sure you buy all the supplies before raising these little ones!
Get All Supplies From Nature’s Nursery!
Nature’s Nursery has all the supplies you need for your new adventure in raising poultry! Check out their different feeds for birds, such as chicks, poults, keets, cockerels, pullets, goslings, etc., supplements to keep them healthy, and treats to show some extra love!
The Key to Raising Healthy Turkeys: Providing Adequate Heat and Light for Poults
In Nature: Wild Turkey Habits
Wild turkeys choose secluded spots on the forest floor for their nests. Mother hens create shallow depressions in the leaves before laying one egg daily for two to three weeks before beginning incubation. Usually, it takes 28 days for the eggs to hatch, and throughout this time, the mother hen hardly ever leaves the nest–typically once or twice a day to look for food. On the other hand, fatherly instinct is absent in gobbler turkeys; they have no part in egg-laying or raising poults.
Raising Poults in Captivity
Compared to raising poults in nature, it is better to use an incubator in captivity to keep track of temperatures at all times (101-102 degrees Fahrenheit). Also, using an incubator makes it easier to keep out hazardous bacteria by providing a sterile environment free of pathogens. Where I live at Rosewood Farm, I have raised hundreds of poults by starting them off in an incubator before putting them under a broody hen for up to 28 days before they eventually hatch. After this, I give my broody hens at least one chance every couple of years to raise poults independently without expensive assistance equipment to keep start-up costs down.
Selective Breeding for Certain Characteristics
Humans have also opted into selectively breeding wild turkeys for certain characteristics over centuries of domestication. All of the various breeds of turkeys available today are created by crossing different varieties of wild turkeys, be it in terms of coloring, sharp spurs on their legs for fight behavior, or wattles on their head. All tom turkeys are similar in appearance, with richly colored bodies and luminous red wattles that make them almost entirely distinct from all the other birds around!
Tips for Ensuring a Healthy Environment
Choose absorbent bedding.
Baby turkeys need to live in comfortable conditions to help keep them healthy and grow into big toms or hens. The bedding is an essential part of the poult’s housing, which should help keep it dry and warm. Straw is often used but can get wet and dirty quickly; a thick layer of wood shavings on the floor of the Brooder is preferable and should be changed regularly to keep it hygienic. Corn cob grit can also be added to water to help digestion.
Get the right temperature.
It is very important to keep poults at the right temperature in their first few weeks of life to keep them comfortable. Young turkeys need temperatures of around 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit, which a heat lamp can provide. As they age, they slowly lower it by about 5 degrees per week in preparation for outside living. Leave it on slightly longer if it gets too cold before it is time for them to go out.
Keep their environment clean.
Sanitation is essential for keeping your pet from getting sick or catching parasites – check daily for any manure in the Brooder and immediately clear away any spilled food or water. A deep clean of the whole Brooder should occur once per week to keep it pleasant for them all around. The waterer should also be washed out once a week and filled up with new supplies afterward.
Ensure good ventilation
Good ventilation helps avoid overheating while providing air circulation; it also helps fight off bad odors and harmful bacteria such as E-coli and salmonella that can have serious health implications for young birds! Use chicken wire over windows for maximum airflow but avoid leaving them open for too long during cold weather — that can make poults catch a chill and hurt their development down the line!
Give Your Poults Plenty of Space
Poult needs plenty of space to move about so they can get exercise — this encourages healthy growth! Give each of your birds at least one square foot of space in their Brooder so they don’t get too crowded in when sleeping or eating – overcrowding can lead to fighting between poults! Also, think about adding some toys like old cardboard boxes or small mirrors so that they have something fun when all else fails!
Monitor Light Exposure with Simple Solutions like Blinds & Curtains
Poults need more light than chickens because all those feathers need growing! But be careful not to let light into the brooder area at night (after all – even babies need sleep!). Keep light out by using the proper blinds format.
Creating a Healthy Future for Your Turkeys: Raising Poults Easily With Disease Prevention
Raising turkeys from poults to adulthood can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. All it takes is good rations, housing, fresh water, and clean pens to help get your birds on the right track. But it can also be easy to run into health-related issues during this time of growth for them. Let’s look at some of the most common diseases to look out for in young poults up to six weeks of age and how to help keep these conditions under control.
Pullorum: High Risk of Losing Entire Flock in a Short period
Pullorum is caused by bacteria attacking the nervous system in a flock of turkeys, and it can spread rapidly through all birds in just days. Unfortunately, no live vaccines have been created for Pullorum in Poults. Still, by abstaining from introducing new birds into your flock or by conducting tests on adults in the existing flock, it is possible to help prevent it entirely.
Blackhead: Left Untreated, Can Spread Through Droppings in Pen or by Wild Birds & Rodents
Also known as Histomoniasis, a blackhead is caused by protozoan parasites in a turkey’s cecum. Although mainly affecting young birds, it can still harm older ones in the same flock if not treated properly. Litter management is essential for staying on top of this disease; cleaning all feeders and drinkers & keeping different aged birds separate at all times within their houses will help keep it away from inserting itself into your birds’ lives uninvitedly.
Coccidiosis: Easy to Bring into Homes via Dirty Equipment or Boots
Coccidiosis is also triggered by small parasites seeping through the digestive system of a turkey gobbler when not monitored carefully – mainly in younger poults up until about six weeks old. However, it can still affect older ones if proper precautions are not set. Make sure to give your younger gobbler chicks medicated starter/grower rations to help fight off any unnecessary diseases like Coccidiosis that can put at risk their well-being down the road if not watched proactively now!
Turkey Hepatitis: Stressful Situations Can Put Poults at Higher Risk
Turkey hepatitis is mainly referred to as “the enteritis complex” in medical terminology for all ages of birds but especially for young poults who can show more severe reactions towards it due to lack of maturity or being put into stressful situations like bad weather, dirty litter, high ammonia levels or crowding which can all put them at greater risk over-time if they face any combination of all of these back-to-back over throughout several days on end consecutively!
How to Raise Turkeys from Poults Outdoors
Providing Comfortable Brooders
When transitioning turkey poults to outdoor housing, it is important to start by providing them with a big brooder for all at once. The right-sized heat source also helps keep all of the poults comfortable, and it should be set up to help keep all of them warm at once. The temperature in the room needs to be at least 90-95°F for the first week before it can be lowered in 5° intervals per week down to 70-75°F. Additionally, remember that good ventilation is essential for keeping down ammonia levels in the room but have no drafts to prevent chills. Also, calm and quiet surroundings can also make them comfortable, so try to avoid exposing them to loud noises.
Picking the Right Feed
Regarding feeding turkey poults, it is best to use non-medicated starter/grower feed until eight weeks old before switching over to a developer/finisher feed for the remaining time. Avoid giving adult feed because it can cause serious health issues, and avoid giving medicated feed as well since it can end up being fatal to them. Keep their water clean and cool at all times but give no additives as they get all their nutrients through their feed anyway. Light can also help calm them through at night but check on how much light is available in your area before doing so anyway.
The Transition Process
Once about 4-8 weeks have passed, it is about time to start getting ready for outdoor housing; firstly, by checking on their health before anything else is done. Have everything set up in advance before placing them into it, but once you have gotten all of this out of the way, start transitioning over by putting all of them into it for no more than 15-30 minutes before taking everybody back into the Brooder but have an only 2-5° difference between temperatures out of safety reasons.
As days go by, gradually increase their stay out there in small increments until they get used to it all before eventually moving over into the final place entirely! All of this again depends on how good the weather conditions are, but expect around 7-10 days to get it right. Waiting for warmer days can help keep their transition smooth!
Feeding and Nutrition for Raising Turkeys From Poults: An Easy Guide
Young turkeys need a high-quality diet to help them grow into healthy adults.
Turkey poults have very small stomachs and must eat frequently for adequate nutrition. Protein is especially important for turkeys in their growth period. If they don’t get enough to eat or lack essential nutrients, it can slow their growth and have harmful health effects that could last into adulthood.
Feed management can lead to nutritional deficiencies in young turkeys.
Ensuring all poults can eat at once is paramount for preventing malnutrition issues in the flock. Having enough feeders for all birds is also crucial for avoiding hurtful competition for food. Stress can increase in the entire flock when it takes too long for them to eat at once.
Four tips for properly feeding young turkeys from poult-stage
- Get good-quality turkey starter feed with at least 28% protein but no more than 30% (after that, it only adds unnecessary cost). Also, ensure it has at least 3.5-4.5% of lysine, an essential amino acid for turkeys; without it, they can be at risk of heart attacks at a young age.
- After about 4-5 weeks of starter feed, switch to a grower/finisher feed until they are ready to start laying eggs – don’t use layer feed! It is too high in fat content for non-laying birds like meat turkeys. Look out for 18-20% protein and no more than 1-1.5% calcium in your chosen feed.
- Keep water available at all times to avoid dehydration and health complications on hot days in particular; this is especially true for small birds like turkeys, which have small bodies and need to take on the water more often than larger animals like chickens or ducks.
- All of your poults should always have easy access to their feed and water to decrease competition in the flock and help keep stress levels down as much as possible!
Using good management techniques is key to raising calm and friendly turkey poults for better production of meat and eggs. These techniques can help keep your turkeys unstressed for a better-quality final product:
Prevent Aerial Predators
A good way to start is by using a netting on fences to keep away any aerial predators that might want to get in.
Keep the Poults Comfortable with Supplemental Heat
Provide shade in the summer to keep your poults comfortable, but use supplemental heat in the winter for optimal comfort.
Ensure Adequate Space for Each Poult
Make sure to give each of your poults at least 10 square feet of space in their coop or run. Crowding them can cause stress and lead to aggressive behaviors!
Trim Beaks of Turkeys in Your Care
Keeping beaks trimmed on all of your turkeys; helps lower aggressiveness by preventing them from picking on each other.
Avoid Keeping Toms Around Hens
Toms must be kept away from hens to avoid aggression that can hurt or kill hens. Set up different pens for them, or put a fence between the two sides so they are separated but able to see one another for socialization. Also, try hanging a red plastic ball in their area to help diffuse aggression; this will help out all year long!
Keep Sight of Wild Turkeys Away from Domesticated Ones
If possible, it is best to keep sight of wild turkeys away from domesticated ones to avoid stressing out domesticated toms, which can sometimes even lead to death.
7 Tips for Raising Turkeys with Ease
Tip #1: Keep it Calm on the Day of Slaughter
When getting your birds ready to take to the butcher, keep in mind that any stress on the animal before it is slaughtered can impact the meat’s quality. To keep things smooth and serene right up to loading them into transport, try loading them into a dimly lit building at night. Also, it’s good to have customers check in advance to avoid hitches at drop-off. Have help on hand to offload the live birds once you get to your destination.
Tip #2: Use Appropriate Containers for Transporting Live Birds
Live birds must be transported in well-ventilated and enclosed containers with enough space for each one – about three square feet at least – if possible. A pickup-truck dog kennel is ideal for about 25-50 poults, but avoid putting water in; instead, have some desired feed accessible in case of untoward delays in route. Also, someone needs to go in the back of the truck to keep an eye on them throughout the journey and stop occasionally for some rest, refreshment, and stretching out of their legs before proceeding further along the route. No birds can go into trunks!
Tip # 3: Process Your Poultry At Home With Clear Intentions
You have to choose beforehand whether you want offal (entrails and neck) only or a by-dressed poultry carcass when it comes to supplying food for your family. All offal has triple-bag plastic packaging before it is put into freezers with no blood leakage over other foods. At the same time, non-edible parts can be recycled by putting them into compost bins, but all after being cooked thoroughly to get rid of bacteria.
Tip # 4: Chill Whole-Caught Gamebirds Overnight Before Processing
It is quicker to chill whole-caught game-farm fowl compared to by-dressed shop-brought poultry as there is no skin in play over at death for cooling, but give just a few minutes before whole surfaces hit 41°F for packing away – use any non-noxious material like cloth sacks but do not porous like new garbage pocket over the bottom of a cooler preventing movements from one to another inside when tampering bag en route by cross-contamination from contents leaks in the event of untoward circumstance. Refrigerator storage is a must!
Tip # 5: All Dressed Carcass Need at Least 24 Hours for Chilling
Dressed up carcass needs at least 24 hours in the environment. Chill down all parts up until hitting a safe temperature. Before being good, eat by humans use the right use nontoxic ice put the body cavity whole bird packaging. Start on the right, chill down through use on chilling home production much best option small.