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We’ve Got Turkeys!

>17 May 2012
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They arrived this morning with another 6:30am phone call from the post office.

Our turkeys are here!!

And gratefully, another box full of healthy, beautiful birds!

I ordered 15 in all, to be split between us and three other friends. Five Royal Palms, five Bourbon Reds, and five Narragansetts. I’d originally ordered Broadbreasted Bronze Turkeys, but they didn’t hatch well and had to be substituted with the Narragansetts. But that’s cool.

I put them in a brooder with our newly hatched guineas.

Here they are sleeping all snuggled together under the heat lamp. I swear, every time I see one laying like this I’m afraid it’s dead! Aren’t they ADORABLE?!

They’re all doing fine for their first day in our home! It has been so funny watching them, and hearing the new noises they make.


I’m not sure yet which breeds we’ll end up keeping, but I’m REALLY hoping for a breeding pair. They send them to you straight run (meaning it’s a coin toss which sex you’ll end up with), so I won’t know if I have a male and female until they’re a bit older.

… Unless anyone knows how to sex them? Anyone??

Anyways, wish us luck!

And any advice would be greatly appreciated. Please and thank you.

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  • Tina said:

    OMG!:)They look so cute! I hope they won’t be on the table for Thanksgiving?! :( I would love to hear them gobbeling around right now, I bet it’s hilarious! So cute, those little guys!! <3

  • Laura said:

    We got our turkey order to today too…it is good you didn’t get the BB Bronze…they are not a good homesteading turkey as they are unable to breed and die of heart disease and have more trouble with their legs…the breeds you got are great…we haven’t had any trouble out of ours every. And the they are all great mothers.

  • Mona @ Healthy Homesteading said:

    We have Royal Palms and love them. We have two females and one male. The females are great and lay eggs just about everyday. I originally started with 5 birds (3 males and 2 females) We butchered the two extra males and had them for Thanksgiving last year and Easter this year. Their size is much smaller than the Bronze but that’s why I like them. They make a great homestead breeding birds. The plan is to never have to buy turkeys chicks again. Right now we are incubating some of their eggs. They are excellent foragers too. Maybe a little too good. They eat things the chickens won’t. Our tom is actually very mean and we will be butchering him as soon as I find out if we have a male chick to replace him. I don’t think that is typical of the breed because a friend of mine has a nice tom. Anyway, my vote is for the Royal Palms. They are decent egg layers, good foragers, smaller in size (requiring less feed) and nice to look at. :)

  • Janice said:

    Isn’t it funny how they sleep. I thought mine were dead too. I just got 15 bronze breasted which are intended for the freezer. Then I thought I’ll keep a couple and breed them. After researching guess there all headed for the freezer.

  • Lisa said:

    We have/had all three. All wonderful breeds. Turkeys are hard to raise though, you’ll think they are fine and then one day you walk out to the barn and one has died.

    Everyone says they are scared of them but we’ve always had the friendliest birds. Big Red (in the last picture on this page)

    goes for walks with us and comes down to the front door every morning to say HI!
    Best of luck!!

  • Mrs. D said:

    I had heard somewhere that raising turkeys and chickens together was risky because of “Blackhead Disease”. However, from all I have read now about this it seems the small flock owner has very little risk. We have opted not to raise turkeys, but mostly due to space issues. We have Muscovy and Khaki ducks and RIR chickens and in the summer we have meat birds. We split orders with other folks too. This saves on shipping costs.

    Yea, those birds are cute now, but all little ones grow up :) Hope they’re healthy and help out with the food budget. We just got to the place where were breaking even for feed by selling eggs.

    Here’s some commentary on “Blackhead Disease” http://www.cirrushillfarm.ca/faq/14-faq/37-why-does-everybody-say-you-cant-raise-chickens-and-turkeys-together

  • Doug@thesimplefarm said:

    I’d like to know how to tell the sex of the birds as well. For chickens I usually just wait until the birds fight with each other then can tell those are the males. I’m imagining that works with almost any animal. ha.

  • Tina said:

    That’s funny. We’re ordering our first turkeys next week. I have heard that you can’t actually breed the regular turkeys that you order because the males get so huge that they can’t mate. Don’t know that for sure. You may have to order a special breeding pair or at least male. Of course, I could be wrong (or my husband at least – I’m never wrong). (;

  • Mrs. D said:

    Here’s information on “Feather Sexing” 1-3 day old chicks.


  • JulieG said:

    New reader here. Who did you buy your turkeys from and is this the first time you have turkeys? My Grandparents had turkeys before I was born. Mamaw said they were so friendly, they would lay their heads in her lap.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    JulieG, yes this is our first time owning turkeys. We ordered from McMurray Hatchery, and could not be happier. We also bought our chicks from them this year, and all are doing wonderfully :)

  • LindaG said:

    Congratulations! They all look great. Good luck! :o)

  • Ashley James said:

    The BB Turkeys cannot reproduce? Are they good eating?

  • Ashley James said:

    Kendra at New Life On A Homestead- where do you order your birds at?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    I think the Standard BB Turkeys can reproduce. And yes, they’re supposed to be good eating ;)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    We ordered from McMurray hatchery.

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