Turkey Rotation?

mimi_wv(6)July 31, 2009

Hey y'all. I just today received in the mail a book titled Raising your own turkeys by Leonard Mercia, published in 1981 by Storey Communications, Inc. The book states that "Preferably, poultry ranges should be used for one year and left idle for three years before they are used again". The reasoning behind this is to prevent parasite problems. Can this possibly be correct and/or necessary? Does anyone do this with their turkey and/or chickens?

I was hoping to build a coop in a large (approx 1/2 acre) fenced off area. The turkey will need protection from predators (of which there are plenty around here) but it seems it would be cost prohibitive to have 3 fenced in areas, especially for only 10-12 turkeys - not to mention I could do other things with the land.

-- Mimi

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This is intended for large flocks. They recommend 4 areas-one in use and 3 resting--each range is used the fourth year giving each 3 years of rest.

Are you just growing them out for meat or breeding? I would divide your fenced area into two, let one grow while grazing the other and switch out before you notice overgrazing. Turkeys are heavy grazers and can pick a large area bare in short order.

If you are just feeding them out for slaughter I would not worry about parasites. The pasture will probably be used only 17-20 weeks a year and parasites will not build up and become a problem.

If you are going to have an ongoing breeding operation, a worming program should be followed. Be sure to read instruction on any wormer that you use, some can effect the fertility/quality of eggs laid for a period of time after use.

This is only how I would do it-and like the book is just an opinion. There are as many ways to raise turkeys as there are people that keep them. Try different things and find what works for you and your circumstances.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 10:36PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

You can do other things with that land while it is in fallow. If the area is simply resting to drop turkey parasite levels there is no reason you cant raise goats there, or plant veggies (although you will probably want perennials to have time to grow before grazing on it) or keep your bees there. Just don't use the extra fenced field for birds.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 12:42AM
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What type of turkeys are you raising? The meat types are not as hearty and will need more intense management but the heritage breeds would do fine on a half acre without any protection as long as they have a good roost.
I have a dozen heritage turkeys in my yard and have yet to lose one and in fact have a hard time keeping their numbers down despite heavy predation.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 6:25PM
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