Did you know that today, November 1st, is Adopt A Turkey Day? We know, November is historically a pretty bad month for these guys. If you’re interested in adopting and/or raising turkeys, or just want to learn more, read on! A Las Vegas, NV vet offers some turkey care tips below.
Do Your Research
Many people assume that turkeys are basically large chickens, and should be treated as such. That’s not entirely incorrect, but it’s not quite accurate, either. Turkeys are much cleaner than chickens, which is a plus for many, because you won’t find your birds’ food and bedding all over the place. They also have some very specific care needs. For instance, you’ll need to be aware of Blackhead, which is a disease that chickens carry and can pass to turkeys. Ask your vet for care tips.
Breed is also something to consider. Some kinds of turkeys are better for meat; others are better for eggs. It’s also important to know that only heritage breeds can breed naturally. The others require artificial insemination. (Note: The American Poultry Association recognizes eight heritage breeds: the Standard Bronze, Beltsville Small White, White Holland, Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Slate, Black, and Royal Palm.)
Turkeys need much more room than chickens do, both inside and outside their coops. Your best bet is going to be a large shed or small barn. Do not overcrowd them! You’ll also need a sturdy fence. This is more to keep predators out than to keep your birds in. Regardless of what you may have heard on WKRP In Cincinnati, turkeys can fly. They’re not exactly graceful in the air, but they can definitely make it to a roof or tree branch.
Turkey babies—called poults or sometimes turkeylings—are extremely delicate. Even slight shifts in weather can affect their health! If you plan on hatching your birds, you’ll need to be extremely diligent with watching over the little fluff balls. Ask your vet for specific advice.
While many people raise turkeys for meat or eggs, they can also be fun to have on a farm. These birds—which almost became our national symbol—can be both fun and affectionate, and can get quite attached to their humans. If you have the space, you may want to offer a few of these unique birds a ‘pardon’ and provide them with a great retirement.
Do you want to learn more about turkey care? Contact us, your Las Vegas, NV animal clinic, today!