Christmas Turkey Top 10 Tips for Rearing Your Own

Christmas Turkey Top 10 Tips for Rearing Your Own

Talking Turkey – Top Ten Facts for rearing your own Christmas Turkey

1. You can get any colour turkey you like – as long as it’s black. White birds are not suitable for the outdoor life, and they are less active.

2. Formulated ‘turkey grower’ pellets cost between £10 and £15 a bag. You can cut costs by moving your birds onto wheat or barley  at about 12 weeks, which costs about £6 for a 25 kilo bag, but they will gain weight more slowly, and will need a bit of coarse grit to supplement the diet.

3. A good dry shelter is strongly recommended for  Christmas turkey. Some breeders say that the birds can live outside if they have shrubs and trees to shelter under, but then they have to use energy staying warm that could be going into weight gain.

4. Male birds are more aggressive than females so may cause injury to another Christmas turkey.

5. Turkeys can suffer from Blackhead disease, a parasite which attacks the liver and can kill your turkeyl. Some breeders add a spoonful of cider vinegar to drinking water each day to alter the pH balance of the gut and provide a less hospitable environment for the invaders. But if you keep the run clean and worm your birds every six weeks you should be fine. Call a vet if they start to look ill.

6. Turkeys like to roost but, unlike chickens, they find it easier to balance on a plank than a pole.

7. Turkeys don’t fly far owing to their weight so there is no need to clip their wings.

8. They will eat most kitchen scraps but don’t give them meat.

9. Feed Christmas turkey twice a day if you want them for the Christmas table.

10. Allow a minimum of two to three square meters of run per bird to avoid them scrapping.

Read more about rearing your own Christmas turkey at

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