thinking about breeding turkeysgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I posted earlier about a problem I was having with a poult. I got some good answers. Gerbil said to definitely not keep the one with problems for breeding stock. I agree with that but it got me thinking about maybe breeding some later. What do I need to know? How many should I have for this purpose? How do I choose? Are they very prolific? Since I don't know much at all about this, any knowledge or experience would be helpful in determining whether I want to look into it further. And my husband thought we would be done with them in November:). Denise
-- Denise (email@example.com), July 10, 2000
Your poults are probably too young to breed this season. It is pretty well putting a tom with one or more hens and letting nature take its course. I haven't seen my hen in several days so assume she is sitting on a nest in the fence row. However, you are probably not going to be able to raise poults if you have chickens around. They are carries of a disease called blackhead which is fatal to poults. If you have the book check out what Jd says in his book, "Raising Small Livestock." Last year one of my hens did hatch out five poults. One-by-one they disappeared and I only had a turkey-necked rooster.
-- Ken Scharabok (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 10, 2000.
Denise, it depends in part what breed of turkey you have. While the urge to reproduce exists in all of them, the males of some breeds are so big and breast heavy that they can't. So you either get to help, or do what the raisers are doing more and more-AI. If your birds are healthy and free-ranged, they're probably a little slimmer than a factory bird. That would make it easier for them to breed. If you want to get serious, there are books that go into more depth for the use of factory production people. Not really useful for you. But they'd show cut away views of good and faulty breasts (that what you're going for when raising turkeys to sell). I don't know if you have enough birds to make much of a selection from. Plus you've got to keep them alive until at least next year. What you plan now, and what you have next spring aren't necessarily the same thing.
So pick more hens then you think you'll need, and a few more toms. I don't know off the top of my head how many hens a tom can cover. In the wild they do cover more than one hen when they can. Feed them a varied diet, especially if they aren't free ranged. Let nature take over if at all possible. I know I'd fatten up a chicken and call it turkey before I AI'd a turkey hen. You might not be bothered by it, and may have an affordable source for the semen and equipment. Wouldn't hurt to ask your vet or the people where you got your birds if anyone is doing AI in your area.
Blackhead may put a stop to your plans. If it isn't on your place now, it could be brought in at any time. Syptoms are depressed, skinny birds. Feathers are unkempt. Droppings are yellowish. An autopsy may reveal, among other things, a liver with sunken, discolored spots. I don't know what current treatments there are for it. It used to be a monthly dose of phenothiazine for preventions, or enheptin continously. Talk to your vet about any known incidences of it in your area, and what, if anything, you might want to do to prevent it. Gerbil
-- Gerbil (email@example.com), July 10, 2000.
Gerbil is right, the only way we have any luck breeding our Broad Brested Bronze was to let them free range and keep them lean. Our tom is capable of covering three hens at least without any problems. Then when you get your new poults from them raise them nice and pump and enjoy!
I keep our turkeys well seperated from the chickens to avoid any problems with blackhead and so far no trouble. My brother raises the wild strain and has zero problems with them breeding so you may want to consider that as an option later on.
-- Jim Tanner (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 10, 2000.
I think I will go ahead with my plans for this year(turkey for about a week every other month as I have six). My first six died about a month before when a friend picked up the turkeys for both of our families and then ran errands on a hot day. They got overheated and all but one died. I'm getting a late start and had to really call around to find anymore because all the hatcheries said they were out. I could probably get more but dont want to set up different quarters for a different aged set of birds. When I get next years, I will follow your advice and get more than I want for eating and start growing some for breeding then.
Can blackhead be caught if the chickens and turkeys are kept in different areas. I dont have the room to free range so I have 2 differnt chicken coops with their own yards and a separate coop and yard for the turkeys where there have never been chickens before. Will that prevent them from catching it. I figure I should wait to ask my husband to build yet another coop until next year as he is tired of building them this year. He has been great with the first 3,but he thinks he's finished and probably wouldn't want to build a 4th.
I know you want them to have good breasts but I dont think I want to go into business. I just want to raise them for us and not have to keep paying to replace them each year.
Tell me what you think of my plan or if you would revise it. It would be nice to save a few to breed next year but then that would cut into the meat part of it. Oh, the ones that died were bronze. The only ones I could find to replace them were white. I've never had either before. Which do you think is better? That will also have some bearing on my final decision especially if you think the bronze are better.
-- Denise (email@example.com), July 10, 2000.
Denise, clean ground for your turkeys next year will go a long way toward keeping them healthy. However, it is a parasite that could get brought in anyway.
The reason white meat birds were developed was simply to make them more presentable to a buying public (or picky family). The pin feathers on a white bird don't show up the way the pin feathers of a darker bird do. Since you usually miss at least some, it just makes a nicer looking cooked bird. For what you're planning on, I don't know that I'd worry overly much about breed, other than avoiding any hybrids or special strains aimed at the large breeders. Gerbil
-- Gerbil (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 10, 2000.
I just wanted to say that I have my turkeys in with my chickens & they have been hatching out babies for over a month already. They're still sitting on 13 eggs & still laying. I haven't had any problems with diseases. So far anyway! I do take the poults out & put in a brooder after they hatch.
-- Wendy (email@example.com), July 10, 2000.
Denise, I just about fell off my chair when I read that line "My husband thought we would be done with them by Nov." lol I found my turkeys at the feed store on a trip for chicken food. They are bronze by what Rachel says, and I think they are beautiful. Thanksgiving was the original plan, but then I named them. And they are so friendly, and they play with the dog....... Looks like we have a girl and boy so I told my husband we should try breeding and selling the chicks. I really don't think I would enjoy eating them now. Good luck!
-- tina shrout (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 12, 2000.
My understanding of blackhead it can be carried from one area to another on shoes. Such as you walking from the chicken yard to the turkey area, so someone visiting who has it on their place. If you are not able to raise poults, I recommending talking to your vet about treatments.
-- Ken Scharabok (email@example.com), July 13, 2000.