This is my first time with turkeys, and it's been quite a learning experience. They've been pretty easy to take care of, and need similar things to chickens. The thing I have discovered, which I pretty much knew, was that I can't keep them apart from the chickens. Everyone says to keep them separate, but ain't gonna happen. I guess they'll have to build up an immunity to the bad chickeny germs and worms, or not survive. At this point, they've been in with the chicks since they could hop their brooder, which was at about 2 weeks. I'll go in to check on everyone, and the poults will be in with the chicks, co-mingling and whatnot.
What I have learned is that they've got quite the personalities. It was a bit surprising to discover, and it seems that turkeys are, well, quite personable. And quirky. I like quirky, so they've got my attention.
There are five now, as I did lose one. One is a broad breasted white, and four are Narragansetts. The white is destined to be Thanksgiving (don't let him know). The Narragansetts are for breeding, though I may not keep all four (don't tell them, either). It's going to depend on how they fill out.
The girls (or what I am assuming are girls) want none of that. And the white one, well, that one's a bit schizophrenic. I think it must be all of that breeding.
Yep, you're seeing turkeys on the roof. Apparently, turkeys like to fly. I was surprised by that, I'll admit. I figured that because they're going to be such large birds, they'd fly as well as chickens, which is not so well. But no, they're fliers like guineas. Who knew?
The poults are 6 weeks old now. Their house needs to be put into position (more on that later), and then outside they go. I am looking forward to it, since whenever I go into the garage-barn to check the chicks and turkeys in their brooders, there's usually a turkey or two flying right across my face. Or doing this:
And it wouldn't bother me that they are so far above my head, but for the fact that they're -um-indiscriminate poopers and like to let it out anywhere and everywhere. Which might mean my head one day. Which I will not appreciate. So yeah, I am anxious for them to be outside full time.
On the flip side, I have discovered turkeys are trainable. Not a one of them has a name yet, but if I call "Turkey, turkey turkey", they come running. It's also funny to imitate their many different whistles. They have quite a vocabulary. When you've been listening to them as long as I have, you can recognize which call means "Where are you?", and then imitate it. They come running when you do.
Ah yes, turkeys. My little feathered shadows. Where I go, they go. They have accepted me as the head of the flock without question, and act accordingly. Funny little guys and gals, they are. I would definitely recommend them.
**Oh, and if you do decide to have turkeys, I wholeheartedly recommend the book Not Just for Christmas by Janice Houghton Wallace. It's written for a British audience, but she's had more insight into turkeys than I have found anywhere. You can tell she truly appreciates them. Just my two cents!