The birds are fine with it, and so is the turkey. For those who don’t want to buy an entire bird from a farm or pet shop, there’s no need to worry because turkeys aren’t domesticated animals – they can live in your backyard without any special considerations.

Baby turkeys are called “gobbles” and they grow up to be “gobblers.” Gobblers are the largest of all turkeys, weighing in at around 20 pounds. They can live up to eight years.

The first step in learning how to grow turkeys in your garden is to understand that most turkeys are raised for meat rather than eggs (like when you raise chickens). Turkey meat is high in protein, good fats, and other elements that keep our bodies healthy – and since turkeys are huge birds, you receive more nutritious meat and more of it than those who grow other fowl.

We’ll cover all you need to know about successfully raising turkeys in your backyard in this post. Overall, growing your own meat is a great endeavor, so stay tuned to learn how to get the most out of it!

1. Familiarize yourself with livestock laws.

Turkeys are technically farm animals, and depending on where you live, farm animals aren’t necessarily welcome. If you reside inside city borders, for example, you may be limited in the number of turkeys you may have on your property… or you may not be permitted to have any at all. Check your local rules and restrictions to determine whether you may keep animals on your land before you spend your money on a large turkey family.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all. Regarding poultry rules inside city borders, you may find this website useful. Check to see whether your location is included and what the regulations are in your area.

2. Make Enough Room for Roaming

Turkeys, like any other livestock animal, need sufficient area to wander in order to be healthy. If you cram too many turkeys into a tiny space, you’ll quickly encounter a slew of issues ranging from territorialism to food rivalry to unclean conditions.

Turkeys, like chickens and other livestock, need a green area, ideally a third to half-acre if you wish to grow ten or more turkeys. Remember that they’re large birds that traverse a lot of land on a daily basis. Furthermore, they like supplementing their meals with bugs discovered in the fields, which is why we strongly advise free-ranging your turkeys (the more nutrients they obtain, the more nutrition your family receives!).

3. Provide a Home for Your Backyard Turkeys

It’s no secret that predatory creatures like coyotes and bobcats feed on turkeys, and their eggs might end up in the clutches of raccoons, snakes, and foxes. It’s critical to provide shelter for your turkeys while you’re not there to keep them safe. Not only do you have to worry about predators and robbers, but you also have to worry about the natural elements.

The greatest place for Turkeys to live is within a totally sealed structure, especially with easy-to-clean concrete flooring. Indoor area for each turkey should be about 6 square feet. This sort of shelter will keep predators out while also allowing you to adjust temperatures according to the season to keep the turkeys comfortable.

Alternatively, an extra room in an existing barn or other sealed outside structure might suffice.

Raising Poults in a Brooder

Raising turkeys from poults requires a somewhat different setup than raising adults. You’ll need a brooder to keep the newborn turkeys warm, enclosed in a manageable space, and not exposed to the weather outside (and predators). A brooder doesn’t have to be built from scratch, and you may simply improvise a place.

You’ll need an enclosed enclosure that offers each poult two square feet of space, is properly aired, and is at least a foot high so that curious dogs can’t peek in and newborn turkeys can’t escape. Three pieces of plywood and a screen in front for ventilation may be used to construct this enclosure. If you don’t want to put your skills to the test, a huge fish tank may be used instead.

Make careful to fill the bottom of the brooder with pine shavings. Sand, rather of wood shavings, is preferred by some because it is easier to clean and keeps the cage dry. In a corner, sprinkle a couple of inches of pine shavings on the sand to offer a comfy sleeping spot for the poults.

In one corner of the brooder, place a 250-watt infrared heat lamp and a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. The temperature in your brooder should be between 95 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a watch on the poults’ behavior and, if necessary, modify the lamp’s placement. Poults will cuddle beneath the heat if it’s chilly outside, and avoid the light if it’s too hot inside. Consider moving the light higher up if they’re too hot. Also, be aware of the outside temperature. Turn off the light if it’s hot enough to raise the inside temperature to the 90s. Keep the light on if it’s chilly.

Finally, in the brooder meant for poults, install a feeder and waterer. These are designed to keep the poults from contaminating their water or food supply.

Heating Bulb of Choice:

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Feeder and Waterer Set of Our Choice:

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Chick Feeder Waterer Kit from RentACoop (1.5 L Waterer 1L Feeder Kit)

  • ENSURE HAPPY CHICKS: This feeder with 8 open feed openings and simple fill waterer will ensure that all of your fluffy companions eat and drink well when they congregate “round” for dinner.
  • EASY TO CLEAN: When the feed holder is empty, just remove it and dump any leftover feed from the base. It’s simple to clean and refill. A clean supply of water is provided by an effortless twist to open and shut the waterer.
  • USE THE SCRATCH RING TO PREVENT WASTE: Using the scratch ring will keep your strong ladies from squandering their food.
  • VISIBLE WATER LEVEL: Having a visible water level lets you know when it’s time to replenish.
  • Feed and water base, scratch ring, feed holder, and reservoir with handle are all included.

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Bedding

As an alternative to sawdust or newspapers, use pine (NOT cedar, which is hazardous to chickens) wood shavings as bedding (or any other makeshift litter). Poults may eat the sawdust instead of their pellets, causing them to go hungry. It’s better to avoid using newspapers since they may cause sliding and damage in both young and adult turkeys.

Fresh Flakes Pine Shavings are our go-to bedding for turkeys. It’s made of all-natural, biodegradable pine wood shavings that produce very little dust when placed on the floor, are very absorbent to help with spills, and have been heat dried to prevent mold spores.

Despite the fact that Pine Shavings are better for turkeys and poults, you should still make sure that your livestock’s housing is sufficiently aired.

It’s probably available at your local agricultural supply shop, or you can get it from Amazon:

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Fencing is #4.

The taller the fence, the better when it comes to growing turkeys. These birds can and will try to fly up and over the fence as if their life depended on it (which, of course, they do, but that’s beside the point)… This is why, in order to prevent escape, your fence should be at least 4 to 6 feet high.

We propose using chicken wire and timber posts and frames to construct your fence. As an extra level of security, it’s a good idea to cure the fence posts in concrete. To prevent burrowing predators from tunneling beneath the fence, consider burying the barrier at least 2 feet below ground level.

To guarantee that your fence does not represent a hazard to your cattle, cut or smooth any sharp edges.

Our Top Pick for Poultry Fencing:

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Amagabeli Garden & Home 48×50 Hardware Cloth 1/2 In 19 Gauge Square Galvanized Chicken Wire Galvanizing After Welding Fence Mesh Roll Raised Garden Bed Plant Supports Poultry Netting Cage Snake Fence

  • Snake fence, chicken wire, opossum rehab cages, chicken coops run, rabbit fencing, flower beds, broad gutters guard, fruit trees, vegetable garden, to keep out tiny creatures such as voles, gophors, racoons, and other small critters
  • The openings are barely 1/2 inch in diameter to keep pests out and chickens and rabbits safe, as well as safeguard your garden fruits and veggies from rodents. To go through the 1/2 inch apertures, they’d have to be quite tiny. Cal kings, tiny young copperhead snakes, and rattle snakes come for damage annually in the Wisconsion, Colorado region. Before building the fence, dig a small trench to ensure that it is partly buried for added security.
  • It’s galvanized and rust-resistant. To guarantee that all welding locations are galvanized for optimal rust resistance and extended life, galvanizing should be done after welding. 19 gauge simple to lay down and cut with wire cutters/scissors, wider weave not too rigid, material will confirm to rolled form as tree guards for fruit plants, 19 gauge easy to lay down and cut with wire cutters/scissors Gophers should not be allowed in the vegetable garden.
  • Use this to keep burrowing critters away from vegetable and flower roots, bulbs, rhizomes, and other underground plants. Individual baskets or elevated vegetable beds may be made using it.
  • Use this material to line the bottom of your chain link fence and cut it in two with a hack saw while it’s still in a roll; it’s firm enough for the job. Snakes, gophor, skunks, chipmunks, bunnies, and other pests dwelling beneath your hardwood deck were no longer a concern with this mesh.

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6. Choosing the Best Turkey for You

It might be difficult to identify the right turkey breed for your unique requirements while learning how to grow turkeys in your backyard. In this part, we’ll go through the most prevalent meat breeds to help you decide which is ideal for you.

Red Bourbons

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Originally bred in Bourbon County, Kentucky in the 1800s, the Red Bourbons are considered one of the best tasting turkeys of the heritage breeds available. They can reach a decent size, with the toms growing up to 23 pounds and the hens up to 12 pounds.

These turkeys are our favorites because of their exquisite taste and size (albeit not as enormous as Bronze or Holland turkeys), which makes them excellent meat animals.

Bronze is the industry standard.

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The most common breed in America throughout history, the Bronze is the industry standard. turkey is one of the biggest breeds of heritage turkey breeds. These are great birds that will provide a lot of meat, thanks to their broad breasts. Males can get up to 25 pounds and females up to 16 pounds.

Bronze is the industry standard. turkeys can still naturally mate, unlike their relatives, the Broad-Breasted White turkey, which is a plus for those who are new to farming or just don’t want to deal with the work of artificial insemination.

Whites with Broad-Breasted Hair

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Whites with Broad-Breasted Hair are the most commonly available turkey for meat. Though they are good for lots of meat due to their size and selective breeding, they can be a hassle as they require artificial insemination. They are also more prone to disease and joint issues, which is also due to selective breeding that allowed these turkeys to grow to maturity quicker (and, thus, give less time for complete bone development).

These are generally the last turkeys we’d suggest raising, but they’re more readily accessible and less expensive than others, so they could be just what you’re looking for.

Raising Turkeys in Your Backyard Has Its Advantages

Though there are some drawbacks to keeping turkeys in your backyard (which we’ll discuss in the next section), having your own homegrown meat has many advantages. Let’s look at the advantages of raising turkeys:

  • You are aware of the origins of your beef. Unlike commercial meat, you know what your turkeys are fed, how they’re treated, and how they’re killed when you grow them yourself, which equals healthier meals for you and your family.
  • They are more hygienic than other fowl. Turkeys, unlike chickens, are quite tidy and will not chuck dirty bedding all over the place (even into their water or food), and their food will not be spread all over the place when fed.
  • They devour the pests that live on your land. Do you dislike the thought of creepy crawlies on your lawn? Don’t be concerned! Turkeys will take care of you. These feathered buddies like roaming their cages and eating juicy bugs to enhance their meals.
  • They’re a fantastic way to learn. Raising turkeys is a terrific opportunity to enjoy a new experience with your family while also learning more about homesteading and animal husbandry in general.

The Drawbacks of Having Turkeys in Your Backyard

Let’s look at the disadvantages of growing turkeys now that we’ve looked at the advantages:

  • They’re a little naive. It’s no surprise that most birds are a bit naive, and turkeys are no exception. They’re inquisitive, but not to the point where they end up hurt or dead. That is why you must construct high fences, keep barrels of water away from their enclosure (since they are prone to flying into items and drowning), and secure them at night.
  • It’s possible that you’ll have to raise a few poults. If you want to breed your turkeys for a self-renewing meat supply, keep in mind that some turkey mothers aren’t the greatest and may leave their offspring even if they are still in need of care. You may have to step in in situations like these, which can be a lot of effort. Keep a watch on new moms and babies for the first month or two, and keep them apart from the rest of the flock.

Last Thoughts

Overall, growing turkeys may be a gratifying experience for people seeking self-sufficiency or just wanting to try something new. Rearing your chickens shouldn’t be that tough if you have a good setup. Remember that the demands of poults and mature turkeys differ somewhat, therefore stay away from low fences, deep water, or sharp edges in or near your turkey enclosure.

Good luck with your agricultural endeavors!

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