After we successfully raised chickens for eggs and for meat, we really wanted to expand our homestead efforts to include turkeys for meat as well. Just like with chickens, I love the idea of knowing where my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner comes from, how it’s been raised, and what it’s eaten during it’s lifetime. That’s why we finally decided to raise our own turkeys. Let me show you how to raise turkeys for meat. (It’s a lot like raising chickens).
How to Raise Turkeys for Meat
Raising turkeys is surprisingly easy and really requires only a few steps.
Step 1: Have a place for the turkeys to live.
For us, that meant adding them right in the coop with the chickens. We got our turkeys on June 30th along with 3 Americauna chickens and 12 meat chickens. The turkeys and chickens all got along great… even as they grew. If you want to see how we converted an old shed into a chicken and turkey coop, click here.
Just like with the chickens, I also recommend having a shaded outdoor area for the turkeys to meander. It doesn’t have to be a huge area, but somewhere dry that they can escape to.
Step 2: Have supplies to keep the chicken and turkey coop clean.
I keep my coop clean by first adding a dusting of diatomaceous earth all over the floor of the coop. This helps control and kill any bugs that may find their way into the coop. Then, I add pine shavings (I have also used saw dust, and some people even use sand) to the floor- about 2″ deep. I only have to clean my coop once per month because my chickens and turkeys (once they’ve grown their feathers) have access to outside and spend most of their time meandering their large pen.
Step 3: Have plenty of food on hand.
Turkeys eat A LOT! Again, having access to your yard is smart because they can eat grass and bugs, but they also need extra food. I feed my chicks and my turkeys certified organic food. I use the grower feed. I recommend you to do the same. You will need a chicken feeder to put your food in. You can purchase a chicken feeder when you get your chicken food, or you can use old pie pans.
Step 4: Keep lots of clean water in their pen and in their coop.
Turkeys eat a lot, but they also drink a lot! Who can blame them? Growing so large, so fast requires a lot of energy. I make sure to have clean water in their coop AND in their pen. This also means I change their water daily. During the spring, summer, and fall I just use buckets. You need to make sure your chickens are large enough to reach the water in buckets. When they are tiny, it’s smart to use a store bought chicken water-er or even an old pie pan. Once they get bigger, they stand taller than a bucket, so that works well because buckets are easy to carry (handles) and keep clean.
In the winter, I use a heated dog water bowl. I do not like to use galvanized steel water-ers (you can put them on a heating pad and it keeps the water from freezing) because they tend to rust no matter what the season. I wouldn’t want to drink rusty water, so why would I want my turkeys to drink rusty water? Yuck. So, I have found that a heated dog water bowl works well! It doesn’t rust! It keeps the water from freezing. And it’s easy to clean!
If you haven’t noticed, I’m all about keeping things clean AND easy! Follow these easy steps and you’ll succeed at raising your own turkeys! Stay tuned for next week’s post. I will show you how we butchered our turkeys.
Did you enjoy this post? Please pin this image ↓
Happy Homesteading! (:
P.S. have any thoughts or questions? Tell me all the things in the comments! Also, you can contact us if you’d love to collab!