15 Tips for Adding Royal Palm Turkeys to Your Flock
Starting Turkey Farming by Adding Adults Instead of Hatching Eggs
We have considered adding turkeys to our backyard flock for a while now. While researching turkey breeds, we decided if we ever did get turkeys, we wanted a white, medium-sized breed. Recently, a friend contacted us and asked if we would like a male Royal Palm turkey named Popeye that she had hatched last year. While turkey farming is not something we are interested in doing, having just a few of these majestic birds seemed like a good idea. When we had considered turkeys before, we were just planning on raising baby turkeys, not adopting adults. But when we were given this opportunity, we decided to dive in head first. Not only did we take Popeye, but we decided to adopt two Royal Palm turkey females so he wouldn’t be lonely.
These wild girls amazed us. They had been in a small pen with several other turkeys and very limited human contact. They calmed down immediately and started eating out of our hands within two days. What really amazed us was the fact that they started to lay eggs for us immediately. These big, beautiful, speckled turkey eggs are so delicious! They are about the same size as a duck egg and have a wonderfully large yolk inside.
In the limited time, we have had our new turkeys, we have really learned a lot. Perhaps the most surprising thing we have learned is how protective Popeye is of us. We have always had our rooster, Chachi, and he is a stinker. He loves to sneak up on us and attack for no reason. Well, now there is a new sheriff in town, and Popeye does not allow this aggression to be directed at us. He calmly walks up to Chachi and proceeds to escort him away from us. I have to say, this is one of my favorite things at the moment.
Here are a few tips for adding adult turkeys to your flock that we have already learned.
- As with any poultry, we decided to quarantine our Royal Palm turkeys, just to make sure they were healthy before they had any contact with our flock. Just a few issues that we are concerned with are respiratory diseases, coccidiosis and lice/mites. We immediately added diatomaceous earth, probiotics, and garlic to their feed, as well as apple cider vinegar to their waterers.
- During the quarantine time, we wore biosecurity boot covers anytime we entered their enclosure, we also had separate food bowls and water dishes that we cleaned and refilled in a separate area from our flock.
- After the quarantine period, we moved the turkeys inside our main fencing so that they could see the guinea fowl and the chickens, and so that everyone could get used to each other. We were trying to avoid any issues with pecking order between our new turkey, Popeye, our rooster, Chachi, and our male guinea fowl, Kenny.
- Turkeys eat a lot more than chickens or guinea fowl. Our feed bill has increased drastically since adding just three adult turkeys to our flock.
- Raising domestic turkeys is very similar to raising chickens: they eat basically the same diet, require the same safety precautions, lay beautiful fresh eggs, have a yearly molt and love to take dust baths.
- Royal Palm turkeys average weight is between 10-15 pounds, making them a medium sized breed that is easier to handle.
- You can train fairly wild turkeys to eat out of your hands with dried mealworms and millet seeds. They also love treats like romaine lettuce, grapes, and cabbage.
- Turkeys can suffer from heat strokes and frostbite. They require protection from the elements for optimum health but will roost in the trees if a coop isn’t provided.
- Turkeys are very social birds, they seem to really enjoy contact with humans. They will actually follow their owners around, much as a dog will.
- You can have multiple male turkeys in your flock, but you need plenty of females to keep them happy and not territorially fighting. (This is the reason we decided not to hatch eggs, to begin with.)
- Male turkeys are the only ones that make the gobble sound that we all know and love.
- A male turkey’s face will change color depending on his mood. A blue face means he is excited or happy, while a solid red face is a sign of aggression.
- Free-range turkeys do a great job eating bugs around the farm, especially ticks.
- Turkeys not only have wattles, but they also have a snood and caruncles. The snood size does matter when it comes to the pecking order in a flock of turkeys.
- Adult male turkeys are called Toms, and female turkeys are called hens. Juvenile males are known as Jakes, while females are called Jennys.
We have enjoyed learning about our new Royal Palm turkey flock members, and hope that you will follow along as we continue on our backyard flock journey.
Do you enjoy raising royal palm turkeys? Let us know in the comments below.