We have seventeen turkeys and we are planning on keeping the majority of them. it is a mixed flock of slate and royal palm. We received them in the mail in July. there are at least two toms of each variety, actually around 7 have been showing male traits. We are planning on hatching our own eggs and then selling the offspring as meat. We feed them gamebird feed and they free range the majority of their diet. the rains have been steady so our property has not desiccated into a fire hazard so i have not mowed all year. the grasshoppers were once thick but the turkeys are clearing them out. they are also eating a lot of mature grass seed.
The main concern is overwintering. i have a rabbit herd and they have already taken to roosting in that barn, which is nice because there is an underground water line from our pressure tank in the basement that runs to a spigot that works all year as long as i have heat tape on it. We are in zone 4 Minnesota. there are some wild turkeys around but the winter seems to be a little harsh for a large native population to establish. we never really had them until the last decade. (thanks global warming). we also had possums for a quick bit but that polar vortex a few years ago snuffed em out around here. Any advice on keeping these large birds happy in a building for long periods?
my other concern is how big of a flock is manageable. if we keep 8 hens an they each have 8 that's 64 turkeys and that is a large amount of land needed to raise them if its entirely free range. Also how many Toms is too many?
i couldnt help but notice a lack of turkey posts on this forum and i am curious why. is it that people start with chickens and are afraid of blackhead? because i think that is overhyped. hatcheries ship turkeys and chickens together. blackhead is from a parasite not a virus and it comes from the soil, so in order to get it you need it present in your area to begin with. call your extension i guess. otherwise i feel that turkeys are more permaculture than chix for meat, but the other way if you want eggs. i will likely be proven wrong after i feed them over the winter.