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Regulations, permits, non-enclosure and etc in Pennsylvania.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Just wanting to know if anyone in Pennsylvania has non captive heritage turkeys?  I have made several attempts at contacting the Pa Game Commission in regards to allowing turkeys to freely live on my property.  It is a farm that has some wooded patches, pastures for cattle, and fields for crops. I have at one time seen wild turkeys on one corn field after harvesting it.  I have talked to different individuals in the Game Commission and have gotten different answers and have been redirected several times.  I have got mixed answers.  I was asked if I got the turkeys in Pa. If I got them in Pa, "then it shouldn't be a problem".  I purchased them at a local farm store.  They got them from a hatchery outside of Pa I assume.  But I did purchase them in Pa.  I was also told by a different employee of the Commission I need a $25 permit and had to have them in an enclosure if I was going to sell, trade or barter them.  I don't plan on making a business out of these turkeys.  I would consider on occasion trading fertile eggs or breeding stock to prevent inbreeding. I just want to let them walk around the farm without inhibiting there movements.  I hate to place them in an enclosure that would limit there foraging for natural food sources. I have a little time to get answers because they are only a week old but are growing.  I am really thinking at this point it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission

:hide

post #2 of 9

Not in PA, but depending on the breed of turkey, they are SUPER friendly, and will be waiting by your front door to see you everyday if they aren't in a pen :lol:

So, with that personality trait in mind, I don't think a neighbor or anyone will report you for wandering turkeys.... because they likely won't leave your side!

and since you aren't planning on selling them...I don't know what the state could possibly cite you for.  Cross breeding with wild turkeys??

From the info you have received so far, it seems like they don't know the rules anyway if you aren't selling them. And it's not like you are trying to capture wild turkeys....or illegally harvest them... just keep good records, especially when they start breeding. 

 

We free ranged 4 last year, and penned them in a tractor at night (otherwise they will fly up to your roof!)

This year I am planning on trying to range 10-20 Bourbon Red turkeys a bit farther away from our house, with a turkey range roost, so they have somewhere they can go with a roof and perch higher than a dog could jump, but also they can leave the "coop" at the butt crack of dawn to do whatever they want to do. I am hoping the Bourbon Reds will be less in need of a companion than what we had last year! They would follow my son around and talk to him while he played outside!

 

We are on a 100+ acre farm that sounds similar to yours, and I am going to place them in an unused pasture that is part alfalfa, part woods. I know the fence won't stop them, but I am hoping they are far enough away that they can't see our house... we can only pray 20 birds don't decide to roost on our house at night!

We raise broilers in the spring & Turkeys in the summer/fall. We also have dominiques, Easter Eggers, silkies, barnyard specials, red sex links, silver laced wyandottes, buff orpingtons, light brahmas, blue cochin, & polish. All loved by a toddler & brindle boxer. 4 generations on one farm 😊 We have a couple cows and 5 pigs, too!
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We raise broilers in the spring & Turkeys in the summer/fall. We also have dominiques, Easter Eggers, silkies, barnyard specials, red sex links, silver laced wyandottes, buff orpingtons, light brahmas, blue cochin, & polish. All loved by a toddler & brindle boxer. 4 generations on one farm 😊 We have a couple cows and 5 pigs, too!
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post #3 of 9

Also, it doesn't seem to be any different than how farmers have always kept quail...just running around the farm and then you don't see them for a few weeks and they come back with a ton of babies! If quail can do it legally...turkeys seem okay to me ;) 

We raise broilers in the spring & Turkeys in the summer/fall. We also have dominiques, Easter Eggers, silkies, barnyard specials, red sex links, silver laced wyandottes, buff orpingtons, light brahmas, blue cochin, & polish. All loved by a toddler & brindle boxer. 4 generations on one farm 😊 We have a couple cows and 5 pigs, too!
Reply
We raise broilers in the spring & Turkeys in the summer/fall. We also have dominiques, Easter Eggers, silkies, barnyard specials, red sex links, silver laced wyandottes, buff orpingtons, light brahmas, blue cochin, & polish. All loved by a toddler & brindle boxer. 4 generations on one farm 😊 We have a couple cows and 5 pigs, too!
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Evie, they are Narragansett, Royal Palm and Bourbon Red.  I will hopefully be able to post as to what I get as an answer within the next few days.  Or wait to see me and my turkeys on the news running from the long arm of the law. 

:P

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Spoke with a Wildlife Conservation Officer and I need to have them in an enclosure and a permit.  Related to disease and threats to wild turkey population is the reason.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

UPDATE!  Wildlife Conservation Officer called back and informed me that it was wrong information he had given me during our first conversation.  He stated that the only breed that needed a permit and an enclosure is the Eastern Wild Turkey.  Seems to me that should be the only one that wouldn't need to be regulated. Eastern Wild is what is already out there running around. I am confused but glad that I can let mine wonder around the farm.  I told him I am not answering if he calls back the 3rd time.  

:lau 

post #7 of 9
Oh gosh! I'm telling you, they don't know the laws well enough to enforce them. Glad you can do it legally!
We raise broilers in the spring & Turkeys in the summer/fall. We also have dominiques, Easter Eggers, silkies, barnyard specials, red sex links, silver laced wyandottes, buff orpingtons, light brahmas, blue cochin, & polish. All loved by a toddler & brindle boxer. 4 generations on one farm 😊 We have a couple cows and 5 pigs, too!
Reply
We raise broilers in the spring & Turkeys in the summer/fall. We also have dominiques, Easter Eggers, silkies, barnyard specials, red sex links, silver laced wyandottes, buff orpingtons, light brahmas, blue cochin, & polish. All loved by a toddler & brindle boxer. 4 generations on one farm 😊 We have a couple cows and 5 pigs, too!
Reply
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am just glad he made the effort to check his info.  I would have been very irritated if I would have went through all the trouble of putting up a large enclosure and then find out I didn't need it.  I had questioned another Game Commission employee as to why the retailers are allowed to sell poultry if it is not "legal".  And why they are not at least required to post something at the location they are selling them.  The answer was "let the buyer beware".  My question then is, how am I supposed to "beware", if the information is not available?  I do see on hatchery websites they have a disclaimer to "check with local game laws or wildlife officials".  I think it is something that, because of the increased popularity of raising poultry, our local entities should revamp and make easily accessible any laws pertaining to doing that.  Written in a language that you don't need a law degree to interpret would also be helpful.  

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Copy and pasted an email in regards to my question on possessing heritage turkeys in Pennsylvania from a poultry specialist from Penn State University.  I included his info after obtaining his permission to do so.

 

 "You would only have to get local approval for rearing the birds – that your facility  is zoned for agricultural animals.  These breeds are heritage breeds, not wildlife, so they could be allowed to range – if you have enough room and don’t bother your neighbors.  PA Game  Commission would have nothing to say about these birds.  As long as you don’t slaughter over 5000 birds per year, you don’t have to be inspected by State Health Department.  Over 5000 birds they will have to inspect at least once per year for cleanliness and disposal of carcasses and offal."

 

 

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