Turkey housing and fencing is almost similar to poultry housing system. But turkeys require slightly different housing and fencing setup than that of chicken housing and fencing system. Turkeys like to access outdoors regardless of the weather. Although you should not let them to access outdoors until they reach eight to twelve weeks of age. Because before this age they will not be safe on pasture. Before this age, you should keep your birds inside a brooder (if possible with access to a sun porch). However, here we are describing about turkey housing and fencing system and requirements.
Turkey Housing and Pen Requirements
Turkeys require a comfortable and clean housing system. So ensure all required facilities for your birds. You need to provide your turkeys with a roosting area with a roof, once they are big enough and able to live outside. The roosting area must have to have good protection facilities from predators. They need access to fresh pasture or range (range is grass that is four to six inches long). Turkeys also require a place to dust bathe and roosting place for flying up into at night. 75 * 75 square feet space will be sufficient enough for up to 12 turkeys.
Roosts for Turkeys
For raising turkeys, you need to build roosts for your birds. If you are raising numerous turkeys, then you can build a set of roosts for your birds. Keep the set of roosts all at the same height. This will prevent fighting among them for the top spots. For making the roosts movable, the set of roosts can be either on skids or on wheels. Moveable roosts keep manure from building up in one spot inside the turkey housing system. A lightweight fiberglass or metal panel roof will be fine and it will keep your birds out of the weather. Wood is an ideal construction material of roosts for turkeys. You can also use electrical conduit on top of wooden skids. This will keep the pen lightweight and easily moved. Stake down the roost if it is very lightweight so that it can’t blow over or away. For housing 20 turkeys a 5feet by 8feet roost is enough.
As turkeys are big in size and good flyers, so the fencing should be as high as possible. The fencing have to be at least four feet high. If you want to avoid flying, then trim their wing feathers. And thus your birds will stay inside happily unless something disturbs them. You can top the fence with netting if you don’t want to trim the wing. This will help to protect them from other birds and also prevent escape. You can use electric poultry netting for temporary fencing. Use woven wire fencing and wooden posts or metal T-posts for building permanent enclosure.
Turkeys can be turned out onto pasture with cattle and will scratch and pick corn and other undigested grains out of the cow manure, spreading it and improving pasture. They will also help for improving pasture by eating pest weeds such as nettles, dock, and chicory. Fox, raccoons, weasels and neighborhood dogs etc. are some common predators of turkeys. So ensure the fencing is flush to the ground and sturdy so that the turkeys are protected from such predators.
Breeding Turkey Housing
Breeding turkeys require special care and management. That’s why they need different type of housing. For proper breeding purpose, a more solid and permanent house will work fine. Make a good space for broody with solid sides to hatch out poults. You can make such space within the larger turkey housing system or separately from the main house. Divide the breeding turkey house into at least two separate space for keeping hens and toms separately.
You can let out hens for a few hours every day to graze, then let them back inside and let the toms out to graze. Feeding something is a good way to get them to return to their house. Breeding turkeys also require access to pasture. So ensure that your breeding birds have access to pasture. About half of an adult turkey’s diet will be made up of grass and plants from pasture. So allowing the birds to pasture is also a good way for reducing feeding costs.