We have officially reached the 1.5 month mark here on our little farm!
Speaking of “little farm,” if you’ve ever had animals, you’ll be familiar with disappointment.
I regret to say, 2 or our 3 turkey poults passed away.
One was lost to what I believe to be a sly weasel. (As it was the only sized predator that could have gotten past the small wire). The other passed away unexpectedly. We did all we could, and it passed peacefully in the comfort of our home.
This speaks to the fragility of turkey poults. Sometimes, no matter what you do or how well you feed them, loss happens.
However, with the loss, we have come to appreciate and enjoy our one little remaining turkey poult even more! Our remaining poult is Peter Pan. I think he will be a Narragansett, although it is still early and he has immature feathers. He is incredibly social and bonds with anything or anyone spends time with him!
Which leads me to my first turkey tip~
Turkey Tip- Provide a Friend
Turkeys, like most birds, are social creatures. Turkeys have a strong need to be together. They learn from each other, and being with a friend lowers their stress levels. We found this out the hard way with our one remaining turkey. If you have no other turkeys, try putting a friendly chicken or two in their pen. Turkeys will easily bond with their human owners. This can be part of the appeal of raising them, but it can also lead to problems down the road.
Turkey Tip- Avoid Overly Cuddly Relationship
You can love your turkeys and let them follow you around, but avoid too much cuddling. If a turkey sees you as a turkey, it loses fear. A little fear is actually healthy for a human/turkey relationship. As it matures, hormones take over. Female turkeys are usually not aggressive, but males can definitely turn sour. This is another thing we learned the hard way in the past. A particularly “friendly” poult, Mr. Bean, turned into an extremely aggressive tom. He had no fear of me and attacked me anytime he saw me! Needless to say, he is no longer with us!
It is still a while before aggression becomes a concern from Peter Pan, but he has learned a new behavior! He can fly! He can fly 4-5 feet in the air- fly right out of his new and improved enclosure! To combat this, I clipped one of his wings. Yes, just one!
Clipping a wing prevents him from escaping and keeps him safe. Clipping only one wing throws off his balance. If you clip both wings, it is possible for the turkey to still learn to fly. I don’t like to clip the wing, but in our case it was necessary. Turkeys will fly to roost in trees in the wild and captivity. (See my YouTube video on clipping his wing at Chocolate Duck Farm).
Peter Pan has still been enjoying his diet of Nature Serve Gamebird starter. I have graduated him to a larger feeder and have it elevated to keep ants away. He seems to be developing wonderfully. His feathers are glossy, and his weight is perfect! He is bright eyed and very curious. He, as I keep calling it, has started to finally lose his head fluff. Judging by his forward personality, I do have a hunch Peter Pan is a male. Sometimes males will puff up and display as early as a few days old! I haven’t seen any of this behavior, but his neck does turn a little red when we are around!
Turkey Tip- Supply Shade AND Sun
It is important to give your turkeys a place to stay cool in the shade, but equally as important to supply a sunny spot. Turkeys, like chickens, love to sunbathe. Not only does it feel great and supplies Vitamin D, but it is also kills external parasites. The heat from sun rays burn up little mites that live on birds. Our little Peter Pan loves to sunbathe!
We are enjoying our time with Peter Pan and learning more everyday! Check back in next time to see how he has changed!