We're gearing up for a lovely flock of turkey poults so I was out today checking on my brooder lamps and getting some nice bottom wire so I can have a warm, dry and secure brooder for my poults when they arrive which may well be this week. My little chicken brooder won't cut it size wise and you should never use chicken equipment with turkeys to prevent the spread of a nasty disease called blackhead. So everything like feeders and waterers will have to be disinfected and dried. These turkeys are going to form the backbone of my free-range flock and we'll hopefully breed our own poults (that's a baby turkey) each year. Yes, we'll have both meat turkeys for sale and breeding trios as we get going, at least with any luck. In BC we raised Nicholas White and Broad Breasted Bronze varieties with the whites being both dumber and bigger, but there's really something smart about a bronze or wild turkey and they're just hardier because they're not bred to grow at crazy fast rates. These ones I'm getting are a BBBronze cross so they should be good foragers and fun to raise. I Love turkeys, they really are a hoot!
We will be free-ranging our turkeys in much the same way we do with our chickens, except they'll also have access to the barn and a fenced field run. Turkeys are great foragers and also very curious so they are both fun to raise and profitable on pasture. Of course we'll still get them off to a good start using crumbled feed and heat lamps but once they are feathered and ready for the outdoors we'll raise them naturally on pasture and provide clean water and pellet feed inside their barn. Turkeys raised outdoors are far happier and healthier, and it fits in with the philosophy of ours that we should be stewards of the land and care for our animals properly. So our turkeys will be outside as much as they want during daylight hours and securely housed at night.