I am consistent in thinking that animals should live a happy life before we harvest. Saying that, i am not happy with my turkey situation. Part of thie difference is chickens can free range and will come back to the coop in the evening. Turkeys will fly up into a tree. This one fact creates some major problems as my chickens are all free range wirh a door that opens and closes at sun up and sun down.
This thread is going to focus on the things i will try to create happy turkeys in their current environment. A different environment may be needed, but this thread will focus on them staying in a coop.
Chickens will kill the grass in short order. With turkeys, they are not so aggressive on the ground. The grass lasted a long time but now its gone. I mulched and seeded the coop but they probably eat it as soon as it sprouts.
One method for fresh greens is duckweed. Tyler Ludens provided me some for my pond. After researching it , it seems like a viable source of fresh greens with a high protein content. I added a water trough. Mosquitos came so i added minnows. I now have an effective mosquito trap that will help overall. I added some duckweed (little tinely floating plants) and they are eating them. I am trying to build up inventory but it should not take long. Each plant divides into 2 plants every couple of days.
This gives fresh greens, a mosquito trap, and a water source they seem to prefer over the normal chicken waterers.
As this needs to be cleaned, i will dump it out. They seem to really like minnows so it will go out with the water. Replacement minnows are a short walk to my pond (another topic i will respond about soon)
This is my grass experiment . Its about 3 days old. I threw seeds down and placed the screened box over it. I am not sure how this will evolve. It will either be moved so they can access it (while i plant in new location) or i leave it and they eat what grows out of cage. This batch will depend on what sprouts. If its big leafy stuff the cage will have to be moved
I've got 6 Bourbon Reds. All the Dollys are in the freezer by now. Anyway, the Bourbons can fly, and they often roost on top of the shelter I have for them. They could easily escape the 4' electric net fencing, but don't want to. That I have them in 2 of the 164' nets they have quite a large area for just 6 birds, so that probably helps keep them happy too. As I'm in the Puget Sound I have plenty of forage for them. Usually July and August are really dry months, but we've been getting plenty of rain lately so the grass and weeds are quite happy and growing like crazy. Which is nice as I don't have to buy hay for the lambs, plus it gives lots for the birds to eat.
They are the turkeys native to Texas. They look similar to bronze turkeys.
More info. Their run area is 12ft wide x 40ft long. Fenced on top and sides. Their coop is 12ft x 12ft. It was a horse stall that i converted. I actually have 2 of these. I separated the breeders from the new ones that will be harvested. After harvest(november), things will ease up. I will have 6 months to allow one stall to grow out with plants. With a rotation like this it will be better for them. Right now i am doing what i can do today.
4 are in the harvest pen. There are 2 males and 4 females in the breeder pen. I could rearrange them if needed for better distribution between pens.
I don't have Turkeys but I grow fodder for my chickens and they love it. It's easy, I have been growing wheat, but have just switched to barley because it does better in hot weather. I soak it in water in a dark place for 24 hours, then place it in a tray with holes in the bottom, it needs to be about 1/2 inch thick. Then I cover with a towel. I water twice a day. When it is like small blade of grass sticking up I remove the towel. It's ready in five days, or so. My chickens like it best before it's thick mat of grass, when there are still seed on the bottom. There is tons of info on the web about it, but it doesn't need to be fancy. I think you could us the box you have for the grass. It's healthy for them and they love it. I feed them fodder, chicken feed, scratch, and extras from the garden, and the fodder is what they go for first.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
Another thing i did was place a board or piece of plywood down in the coop. Rollie pollies(pill bugs) and crickets find their way under it. It's not something you can do everyday, but every couple of weeks you can flip it over to expose them. This pic is the turkeys eating rollie pollies. There were hundreds under it.