Just Discovering Turkeys


New member
Tonopah, Arizona, USA
We are new to turkeys but not to poultry - we have chickens and guinea fowl. We almost accidentially got interested in turkey raising. We answered an ad in the newspaper for 6 young turkeys - an assortment of 6 of breeds, 2 male, 4 female for $30.00. We thought was too good to pass up, even though we had no run set up for them. Turns out they were free-range and we would have to catch them. After an hour we had caught one and decided to pass on the deal.

But the die was set and we are now planning to get some others. We can order day-old poults from one of the major hatcheries in late spring, so we have planning time. Even though we are not going into the business, the minimum order is 15 straight run. From this group we will keep 3 hens and one tom - the rest go to the freezer at the opportune time. We have ordered the book Storeys Guide to Raising Turkeys by Don Schrider.We have a "Storeys Guide" for most everything we raise and trust the series. I have some basic preliminary questions for you experienced turkey raisers while we wait on the book:

We are looking to get Heritage Red Bourbon turkeys. I like the look of this breed. What we have found thus far is the Heritage can reproduce naturally whereas the Broad Breasted cannot. Anyone have experience with these? What is the time period for maturity/culling?

Our plan is for a run 20' x 40' with a 3 1/2 sided 8' x 4' coop, dirt floor. This area is quite a distance from the chicken coop, although they only use their coop at night, free-range during the day. We do not really experience winter in this part of Arizona, nor do we receive much rain (about 6"/year). Is this an adequate size for pen-confining our initial rafter and eventual 4 adult "keepers"?

Those are my 2 questions initially, as we need to start looking at preparing the run and coop.

Any help is appreciated.