NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Raising Turkeys for Christmas  (Read 476 times)

Paul and Caroline

  • Joined Apr 2014
Raising Turkeys for Christmas
« on: July 06, 2019, 05:03:00 pm »

We are looking at raising a few Turkeys for ourselves and friends for Christmas and we would appreciate some advice please: -

We have sourced some Kelly Bronze birds that will be about a week old when we get them. They will be housed in a pallet pen in our outbuilding under heat for the first 4-6 weeks before being allowed to free range.

We have a small flock of chickens free ranging and it is inevitable that the turkeys and chickens will socialise once they are all out and about.

We are very aware of the risk of blackhead and we will manage that risk as best we can.

Once the turkeys are off heat we will enlarge the pen and roof it (within the outbuilding) installing perches at various heights. Their food and water will also be in the pen to which they will have free access 24/7. That, of course,  means so will the chickens.......!

What would be the most effective and efficient method of worming? We can put out medicated food or mix wormer with their food but there is no guarantee that they will eat the correct dosage and obviously we will not be able to regulate or monitor what they eat once free ranging.  The birds will be 18/20 weeks old at slaughter and we want to bear in mind meat withdrawal periods.....

I should add we will not worm routinely, only if we have a need to, either by significant FEC counts or physical evidence of worms being present.

Don't beat us up too much but are we on the right page?!?!?

« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 06:38:42 pm by Paul and Caroline »
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: Raising Turkeys for Christmas
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2019, 09:47:35 am »
There are other wormers available, injectable and oral (via a crop feed), should you need to treat some birds but not others or want to be certain on each getting the correct dose. But like you said, there may not be a need for worming if regular worm counts indicate there isn’t a worm burden.

Have you seen any evidence of blackhead in the chickens so far? That strangely bright yellow pooh? I used to have a flock that carried it (separate from our turkeys), google cayenne pepper as treatment, I’m not guaranteeing it works as I only used it twice which is not exactly enough to qualify as sound scientific research  :thinking: but I was under the impression both times that it worked, it didn’t seem like coincidence.

One thing to keep in mind is the amount of pooh turkeys produce - an awful lot more than chickens!  :o  Larger birds - more feed - more pooh! The more space you can give them, the better.

As for despatch, a sock over the head is useful. Over their head, that is, not yours!  ;D 

Oh, and turkey poults are the sweetest ever, we hatched them ourselves so maybe that makes a difference but they were all super friendly.

Good luck!  :turkey:


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Raising Turkeys for Christmas
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2019, 01:42:46 pm »
I'm a little worried about your pallet pen.  Is it chick proofed with something they cannot squeeze through? Or rats cannot squeeze through?  I grew up on a turkey farm where we hatched our own chicks and we used big rolls of corrugated cardboard, unrolled in to a circle with a gas heater hanging in the centre, and wood shavings on the floor, as their enclosure (sounds a bit of a fire risk now I think about it, although we never had a fire).  This can be expanded bit by bit as they can cope with less heat so can be further from the heat source.  Are you sure that your outbuilding is 100% rat proof? Rats will certainly take young poults.

We had a turkey here once, bought shortly before Christmas.  He survived that season  ::)  as he was so friendly and used to follow Mr F around as he did the chores. He was called Gilbert. He free ranged with the hens with no problems.  Our son eventually dispatched him because he thought we were being woosses not eating him.  He was our pet by then  :rant: Now we eat goose for the winter solstice, but they are lovely friendly things too........  next year it could be nut roast  :roflanim:
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 01:46:08 pm by Fleecewife »

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


  • Joined Jun 2018
  • Cumbria UK
Re: Raising Turkeys for Christmas
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2019, 07:44:22 pm »
We have turkeys and chickens and whilst they have separate pens they go into at night (they are not roofed but about 9 foot high and buried into the ground all around so Mr Fox can't get in), they mix during the day.  Never had issues.  They share food and water.  I clean them out regularly so I do inspect and check their poop regularly.  I too only worm when needing to.  So far, after three years, this has only been once.  I bought Flubivent feed, so it was already mixed into their food.  I went this route because the bag was only twice as much as their normal feed (£14), you could eat the eggs whilst they were on this and you could eat the a week after they had stopped eating it.  They all ate it and they only needed to eat it for a week for it to work.  No worm issues since. 
I don't know if that helps you but there ya go! 


raising two turkeys for next Christmas

Started by Carey boy

Replies: 16
Views: 5992
Last post January 03, 2015, 05:35:33 pm
by Carey boy
advice on raising turkeys for next christmas

Started by Buffy the eggs layer

Replies: 18
Views: 11124
Last post December 03, 2010, 01:37:04 pm
by shetlandpaul
Raising turkeys with a hen

Started by mentalmilly

Replies: 12
Views: 4087
Last post May 30, 2013, 03:33:12 pm
by sh3ph3rd
Raising turkeys

Started by wayfarer

Replies: 3
Views: 1489
Last post May 19, 2014, 06:55:31 am
by Cluckinggoodpoultry
Thinking about raising Turkeys for the table .... Advice please

Started by Paul and Caroline

Replies: 2
Views: 1099
Last post November 20, 2016, 05:36:20 pm
by Hevxxx99

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2020. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS