Hello, I am a Newbie!

mimi_wv(6)July 25, 2009

Hi all. I am a newbie and wanted to introduce myself and let you know that I have tons of questions to ask!

I live in WV and own 80 acres with two barns and would truly love to turn this place into my paradise. I hope to eventually have a small fruit orchard, a greenhouse and large vegetable garden and some critters.

My first question for the experts is this: If I want to try my hand at poultry, where do I begin? I would like to raise a few (no more than 10 to begin with) heritage turkeys. I am leaning towards Bourbon Reds but have no clue as to housing, feed, predator protection, etc.

Possibly a stupid question but does info about chickens pertain to turkey as well? I have looked at the WV agriculture dept website and there is info on chicken but not turkey. Any good books and/or websites would be greatly appreciated as well.

I am SO looking forward to learning from y'all! -- Mimi

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marlingardener

Mimi,
Welcome, and you are going to love developing your "paradise farm".
No, information pertaining to chickens does not necessarily transfer to turkeys. May I suggest that you google "raising turkeys" to get a bunch of websites that will be of interest and value to you.
My husband and I have a tiny (compared to yours!) farm in central Texas, and we have a beginning orchard, hens for eggs, two large vegetable gardens, two herb gardens, and an asparagus patch. We have learned these things:
1. Start small--you can always add on, but trying to keep up with a too-ambitious garden/orchard/livestock is very difficult and depressing.
2. Ask the neighbors--if you have neighbors that have done what you are trying to do, their advice can help you immensely!
3. Don't let it get you down. Failures are instructional, and also build character (you wouldn't believe how much character we've built in the past two years!).
4. There's always next year.
Good luck with your farm, and do let us know how you are pregressing. If you want to have a good laugh and perhaps pick up a few ideas, please visit our Red Gate Farm website at www.rgf-tx.com where we sell nothing, and have a free monthly e-mail newsletter with recipes, gardening tips and photos.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 3:11PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Welcome! :) In addition to the excellent advice from marlin, I'd say read, read, read. Books, websites, forums--especially posts from people who currently have poultry, they can really help you with the small stuff. Anything you can learn ahead of time will put you ahead of the learning curve.

In lots of respects, yes, birds are birds. Where chickens and turkeys differ most will be in feed, housing and disease. I've got a chicken info site here, it has lots of links to other sites that should provide reading for a bit. :)

http://jackshenhouse.com/

Here is feathersite's section on turkeys:
http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/Turkeys/BRKTurkey.html

MSU has a great site on poultry, here:
http://www.poultry.msstate.edu/extension/

What are your plans for your turkeys? Are they for food, eye candy or to breed? As you learn more, you'll have lots more questions about particulars, so just ask away!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 8:17PM
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mimi_wv(6)

Thank you both so very much! I am hoping to buy some birds next spring so am trying to learn as much as possible before then. I have been looking on the web but can't really find anything specific, such as how many square feet are needed per bird (coop and pasture). I did just order a book earlier today titled Raising Your Own Turkeys by Leonard Mercia, so hopefully that will answer a lot of my questions.

My plan, as of now, is food the first year and if all goes okay, perhaps breeding later on. I have no idea how to go about locating a processing plant, etc.

Basically I just want to be sure I have a complete understanding of what I will be getting into before taking the plunge. I don't want to purchase birds and 2 months later realize I don't have the knowledge and/or capacity to properly care for them.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 9:07PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Just an idea--is there a market in your area for high-end Thanksgiving/Easter/Christmas turkeys for table? 'Bourbon Red' just sounds so much more exotic than 'plain ol' white turkey'. *L* Hey, you could advertise Bourbon Reds with a bourbon glaze!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 2:00PM
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msmitoagain

mimi_wv welcome to the forum. All of the things you want to make your 80 acres into a paradise are very attainable. It will just take time, hard work and patience. Good luck.

Ramona

Here is a link that might be useful: MY BLOG

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 9:54AM
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