Famous last words: We raise chickens, how hard can turkeys be?
Before I brought my first Heritage Turkey poults home, I read about them. I bought a book and looked on-line. Every source said "turkeys are tricky to raise", especially the first 3 months.
I purchased 15 and after 4 days, I had one sole survivor. I researched some more and realized I did a few things wrong. (I needed to add sparkly attractants, like shiny marbles, to the water and food).
I brought another 13 home and added them to my survivors. For two hours I sat with them, dipping beaks into water, making sure they knew where the food was. All seemed okay.
After four days, they were all doing great so I moved them to a new location (from a small box to a kiddie pool filled with sand.) I sat wth them for an hour to make sure they knew where their food and water were located.
I was determined to keep turkey poults alive so I found another batch of turkey poults. I purchased ten, determined that these guys were NOT going to die.
I brought them home and sat with them, dipping beaks, helping them find their food. My two older survivors were eating. Life seemed to be good.
Within 48 hours 1/2 of my new turkey poults were dead. I FREAKED OUT. I called the State Veterinarian. He recommended a turkey autopsy. I found an Avian Veterinarian who took my dead poults and examined them. They were healthy but starving. There wasn't any food in their digestive system.
She recommended I stick a baby chick in with the turkey poults.
And that's what I did. I stuck three of my Mongrel Chicks (babies of our Rooster, Iggy) in with the poults....and watched a complete transformation.
When the chicks eat, the turkeys eat. Those poults follow my punk chicks around and mimic their behavior.
It was an expensive lesson learned about raising Turkey Poults. They need a leader to follow and learn from. From now on, I will always keep chicks with my poults.