Thanks to Cackle Hatchery, we recently added six Bourbon Red Turkeys to our homestead. These little guys and gals are quite sweet and our hope is to raise at least two hens and one tom for future breeding and self-sustainability. Prior to adding our turkeys, we had raised four Australorps and four Easter Eggers, so we had many of the supplies these little buggers needed.
If you’ve never raised chicks or turkeys before, you may not have the supplies you need to have on hand. Here’s a handy list to help you figure out what you need before you bring your little Gobblers home.
5 Supplies Baby Turkeys Need
Your turkeys are going to need a safe, warm, dry place to live until they are ready to go exploring in the pasture. With our chicks, we used two plastic pools that The Homesteader drilled holes in the edges and we placed one on top of the other. We used little bolts to keep them together and would remove them each time we had to give our birds water, food, change their bedding or play with them. We found that the chicks had outgrown the pools pretty quickly and they didn’t have as much room to move around as we wanted them to have.
Pine, Aspen or Hardwood shavings are the best that we’ve found so far. They are also rated as the safest for poultry as well, so we stick with these. We used pine shavings with our chicks with good results. This time around, the feed store only had aspen shavings, so we went with that and we are finding that the aspen works at absorbing and keeping the smell down much better.
Baby turkeys tend to chill quite easily when they don’t have a Mama to sit on them. Providing them with a heating lamp will keep them all warm and cozy and reduce the risk of them chilling too quickly. You will also need a heat bulb to go in your heating lamp. They have red and white bulbs available. We want to let our poults have a chance to rest and we don’t want our poults pecking at each other so we use the red bulb.
Waterer and Feeder
There are many different types of waterers and feeders available, but we tend to go a little bigger with ours. Poults tend to outgrow the smaller feeders and waterers quickly. If you go with the smaller ones, within a week, you’ll find yourself filling the feeders and waterers multiple times a day. Also, don’t just leave the water and feed lying around the brooder. If poults get stuck in the Waterer, they will drown. They will also walk all over their feed and poop in it, and that’s just icky.
Food and Water
Turkey poults need a higher protein feed. It is typically called “Game Starter” and is 28% protein. We have looked around at many different places that sell non-gmo, organic game starter feed and it is extremely expensive. We recently have been blessed enough to have found that our local feed supply store makes their own non-gmo game starter, along with chick starter, broiler starter and layer feeds and it is much cheaper than purchasing any commercial brand.
We use a 1 gallon Waterer for our poults and we allow our poults to have as much water as they want. Be sure to keep the Waterer and feeder raised on either a rock or cinder block or you can hang it from the top of the brooder. This will keep your poults from walking around in the water and feed and pooping in there.