turkeys for next xmas

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maree t
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turkeys for next xmas

Postby maree t » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:34 am

i am thinking of trying to hatch out some birds to grow on for christmas dinner next year. the eggs are very expensive but nothing like the prices being asked for organic free range . has anybody any experience of this. i may also hatch out now with a view to keeping a few to give me my own eggs. any info or advice greatly received.
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Jenny Green
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Postby Jenny Green » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:36 pm

I have NO experience of this whatsoever so feel free to completely ignore me! However, have you considered geese instead? If you have surplus to sell you'd get a better price for them, they eat grass and are wonderful guard animals.
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alan refail
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Postby alan refail » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:27 pm

I'm fine on chickens and ducks, but have no knowledge of turkey rearing.
The woman who really knows about turkeys and should have an anwer to all your queries in Janice Houghton-Wallace.
As you will see from the article below, you have plenty of time to think and plan before starting in June/July.
http://www.smallholder.co.uk/shlivestoc ... e_fowl.php
Bets of luck - let us all know how things are going.

Alan
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Tigger
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Postby Tigger » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:56 pm

We've raised turkeys for Christmas and for freezing in the past - just a dozen at the time - but from chicks rather than eggs. We always used Katie Thear's books when we had livestock as she's so pragmatic in her approach.

Turkeys like to have some sunlight, so the position of their housing is important. We also found that it was better to rear them early on in the year and freeze them in the autumn, rather than starting later and getting them through a (usually) wet Nov/Dec.

I'm sure I've still got the books if you want me to copy anything and post it on to you.
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maree t
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thanks for replies

Postby maree t » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:51 am

thanks for everybodies help. i have decided to buy a better incubator and hatch some out to keep. excellent article and useful website alan thanks again. maree
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Postby jane E » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:34 pm

After paying £50 for a free range bronze turkey, I had considered doing this, with enough left over for family for other times of the year. I wonder whether it would be cost effective. Trying it out is one way of costing it! Anyone got experience of raising table birds - chickens? What sort should I go for? Also if I'm buying hens for laying eggs, which is the best time of the year to set up and what stage of development would you buy - POL, chicks, eggs? Has anyone used an incubator with children in school and does anyone know the up to date legalities of this? Not to incubate children!
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Postby peter » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:01 pm

No direct experience of turkeys.

But aren't turkeys less hardy than other fowl? :?

A note of caution if keeping them alive up to christmas, livestock theft. :(
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Tigger
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Postby Tigger » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:17 pm

That's why we decided to raise them ( as per Turkeys) from Spring to Autumn, then freeze. Good quality meat, raised in the heat, with few perpertrators.

As for table birds - I would prefer POL unless you can be sure that your young birds are the age suggested by the seller.
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Postby Myrkk » Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:51 pm

HI Jane, I personally got my first hens in Feb as day old chicks and spent time with them as they grew up so that they were nice and friendly as adults. Downside is you don't know how many cockerals you will end up with and depending upon the breed it can take a while for them to start laying. Our welsummers didn't lay until they were 32weeks old.

Pluses IMHO of day old chicks
cheaper to buy
can end up with friendlier adults
interesting to watch development
if inexperienced, you can gain experience as they grow

Downsides
have to wait for eggs
best to feed a diet with a coccidiostat to avoid probs
Can be messy....... talk about dust! Our conservatory was caked
Time and effort required

RE. legistlation in schools... I don't know re. what your asking about but the head teacher of the school next to us came and got eggs for the school a couple of months ago and when I queried him [I didn't want any trouble if a kid got ill, I know our eggs are fine but...] he said it was for their bake day for the teachers. They aren't allowed to let the kids anywhere near eggs in the school...... not even in food.
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maree t
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turkeys

Postby maree t » Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:26 pm

our local organic farmer cringes around bonfire night because he loses quit a few with the bangs so i think they are quite nervy.
we did have some years ago and they were so friendly so i think we will keep a few and hatch our own as and when.
we keep all sorts of chickens and some are aimed at the table which are the older pure breeds like sussex and then we keep sussex cross rhode island reds for the eggs but the cockerels of all breeds are destined for the pot!!.
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Postby sally wright » Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:49 am

Dear Maree,
get advice from the breeder as to when you will need to get chicks in time for Christmas. If you get them too soon you may end up like a friend of my Mother's. When it came to slaughtering time most weighed over 40 lbs. No-one wanted them; not even the local hotels or granny farms. My mum bought two and had to buy a hacksaw to cut them up to get them into the freezer. We had the leg of one for Christmas dinner! It fed us two meals for 6 of us. We ate Turkey every other Sunday until Easter. As nice as those turkeys were I have not been able to eat turkey with the same enthusiasm since.
If you keep an eye on them by weighing them alive you can slaughter them at a sensible weight and stuff them in the freezer if necessary.
Regards Sally Wright.
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jane E
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Postby jane E » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:05 pm

There's a lot of food for thought there. It's helpful to hear other people's experiences. Friends of ours rear 1000 turkeys from day old chicks in time for Christmas. They start July. I think I shall start my chickens with POL hybrids and see what the fox poplulation round here make of that before I expend any real effort or expense. When I know what their reaction is I'll expand or not.Would you start with them as the daylight hours start to lengthen - say March?
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maree t
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Postby maree t » Sun Jan 14, 2007 4:53 pm

depends wether you would consider ex battery hens or not. i have bought some every year for many years now and generally pay 50 pence each and they lay well for a good few years . none of mine ever reached a ripe old age but they usually go for 4 years or so depending on the foxes.you will be paying top money if you buy now and point of lay is the most expensive but it all depends on wether you want to take any chances or not. perhaps for the first batch it might be best.have you got a rare breed centre near you. you can sometimes pick up some year old bargains. good luck maree
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