It’s not bad to get a couple of fully grown turkeys to raise as pets, but there are advantages in raising your pet turkeys from chicks. For instance, taking care of turkey chicks ensures that they’ll grow tamed and used to humans. Buying pet turkeys as chicks is a lot cheaper than buying them as adults, too. Plus, the fond memories you’ll form with your pet turkeys are priceless. So if you can, raise your pet turkeys while they’re babies; don’t buy them as adults.
There’s nothing to worry about raising turkey chicks. If you have the time, patience, and compassion, you might be surprised about how easy it is to raise these feathered farm animals.
Housing Turkey Chicks
If you want to raise turkeys as pets, raise only two: a male and a female turkey chicks to start. When they’re a day to at least 6 weeks old, you can brood them in your spare room, garage, or in their small backyard barn. (You can’t raise turkeys inside beyond 6weeks old.)
For a brood, rent a medium to large wire kennel depending on your available space. A large cardboard should do if kennels are not available. To provide heat, a 100 watts bulb hanged two feet from the grown should be enough. You’ll know that you got the temperature right because the turkey chicks are not huddled up together under the lamp or staying on one corner as far away from the lamp as possible. So depending on the chicks’ behavior, you can raise or lower the lamp to adjust the heat. Once the chicks are fully feathered, they can survive on their own even during winter without heat lamp provided they’re inside your house.
Feeding Turkey Chicks
Feeding turkey chicks needs your patience and TLC. Few-days-old turkey chicks without their mother could starve to death a couple of feet away from the feeder if nobody will show the feed to them. Don’t let this happen. Teach your pet turkeys where the food is by gently holding their head and touching the feed by their beaks. Do this to both turkey chicks. You can also peck the feed by your fingers while your turkey chicks watch. Make sure that the feeder is lying low on the floor to make it easy for the chicks to eat.
Often times, turkey chicks can confuse a brood substrate such as wood shavings or paper towel as food. So while they’re learning to eat from the feeder, it’s good to use tarp as substrate instead. What baby turkeys need are turkey starter feed or poultry starter mash you can buy from a local farm feed supply store. If you live in a big city suburb, shop for turkey starter feed or poultry starter mash first before bringing home your first pair of turkey chicks.
Giving Water to Turkey Chicks
Like their feed, you want to teach your turkeys where to find water too. Put a shallow water dish on the floor and guide your turkeys toward it. You can peck the water by your fingers while the baby turkeys watch or you can guide their beaks to touch the water. Whatever you do, do not let a couple of days pass that you cannot see the turkey chicks eat and drink on their own.
Other Things to Remember
To ensure your new farm animals grow to maturity, you need to remember other things when raising turkey chicks.*
1. Don’t leave the brood open if you have other pets at home especially cats.
2. Always keep the water clean and shallow.
3. Check the chicks from time to time to make sure they did not swim on the water dish. Wet chicks are prone to develop colds and other infection.
4. Don’t let chickens or wild birds come in contact with your pet turkeys to avoid infection.
5. Keep wild animals like eagles, fox, wolves, etc. away from the pet turkey barn.
With a dose of TLC and a lot of practice, you can master raising turkey chicks enough to write an Ebook about it. Now you just had another source of budget to pay for the pet bird insurance.
* See other posts on how to care for adult pet turkeys.