Porter's Rare Heritage Turkeys

Porter's Rare Heritage Turkeys

Tips on starting your poults

 The following information is my poult starting methods and what works successfully for me and is only here for those looking for a little guidance to get their newly hatched poults off to a good start.

I start my poults out in a homemade brooder, which measures approx. 24” wide x 48” long x 15” high, Yours doesn't necessarily have to be quite this large. I cover the bottom completely with paper towels. I just scatter their starter crumbled right on the paper towels for the first couple of days so they can easily pick at it and get use to eating . After that I use a small chick feeder. 

Another tip/trick we practice here to help get poults eating good right off the bat is to cut up greens out of the yard/garden and also sprinkle those right on the flooring as well. Some wild type greens we use are chick weed, dandelion, clover, plantain and fine grasses. We just use a pair of scissors and cut the greens up very fine so they can easily eat them. The green color is attractive to the poults so they pick at it and learn to eat.


Their heat source is a heat lamp (With either a 75 or 100 watt bulb)"Not florescent" I recommend the red colored heat bulbs as the red light helps prevent cannibalism. I hang the light approx. 8” from the brooder floor. I normally place this right in the middle of the brooder with plenty of room for them to get away from it on each side if they get too hot. It may also be a good idea to put in two heat lamps,side by side,one for backup just in case one burns out during the night, Their drinking water container is placed off center of the heat lamp so it doesn't get too warm. After a week I scatter large flake shaving down into the brooder, make sure to use the larger flake type so they don't ingest them and get a blockage. Then you can gradually reduce the wattage of the light bulb as you notice them not needing  as much heat. Then once they hit 3 weeks I move them to a brooder with a wire floor as they just start getting too messy to keep up with cleaning out the brooder by that age. 

I start my poults out on a 30% protein, non-medicated turkey/game bird starter crumble.

I add a vitamin and electrolyte supplement to their drinking water. Normally 1/4 tsp. per quart of water.

Make sure NOT to use softened water.

Most sodium problems arise as a result of young chicks and turkey poults consuming too much saline water. So avoid using softened tap water to supply water to your birds while brooding. Sodium poisoning can cause kidney damage (more so in young birds than adults because their kidneys may not be fully developed when first hatched), and heart failure.

I also add apple cider vinegar to their water as well, 1/2 Tbs per quart. This is reported to reduce the incidence of coccidiosis and inhibits harmful bacterial or algae growth in the water. This can be mixed with the vitamins.
I keep this in the water of all my adult birds too.

For shipped poults I recommend adding a tsp. of brown sugar per quart of water for a couple days after arrival for a quick energy boost just to help them recover from shipping stress. This can be mixed with the vitamins and vinegar.

 I continue to feed the 30% protein crumble for around 6-8 weeks then switch to a 20% protein grower/finisher crumble.