When we were thinking about rearing turkeys for the first time last year we did a lot of Googling to find out what other people had done and pick up some tips. As tomorrow will be a year to the day since our first group of turkeys were delivered we thought we’d share a few of the sites and pages that we found most useful as novice turkey rearers.
|How to rear a turkey in time for Christmas
|A good introductory article from Tom Sykes in The Telegraph. We found the estimates relating to likely feed costs particularly useful when doing our sums at the outset.
|Rear turkeys for Christmas on your smallholding
|Another introductory guide to keeping turkeys, this time from Smallholder magazine. We use a converted garden shed to keep our birds and the stocking limit suggestions in this article helped us choose the correct size to buy. The advice on not letting birds roost before 12 weeks is also sound. We let our birds roost on small straw bales overnight to prevent them damaging their breast bones when they’re young.
|Venturing into the world of turkeys
|A second article from Smallholder magazine. This one reiterates the sensible advice about house and pen sizing from the first article, but also includes some advice for those considering keeping birds to breed from over multiple years.
|We only feed our birds turkey grower / finisher pellets from the Smallhold Range which contains no artificial growth promoters, poultry medication or genetically modified ingredients. The Smallholder Range site lists all of the composition details for the feed but also has this useful page on what to feed turkeys and when to change their feed as they grow.
|If you’re planning on taking the plunge and rearing turkeys for Christmas then we would recommend you start by buying five-week old off-heat poults from Cyril Bason in Shropshire. They breed large numbers of birds for commercial turkey farmers but are very happy to deal with orders of as few as half a dozen birds.
If you’re rearing turkeys for the first time this year then we’d love to hear from you. We’re only into our second year but we’re happy to share what we’ve picked up so far if you have any questions.