Can I free range them?


10 Years
Apr 3, 2009
I have four bourbon reds, about 5 months old. They are sharing a chain link kennel with two bbw and four silkie roosters. The bbw's are going to freezer camp as soon as I have five min to myself to get the job done and the silkies are going to the farm swap (gives them a chance to not hit the stock pot) but once they are gone, can I free range the burbons? They look so much like wild turkeys that I have visions of htem just going away.

There is a flock of chickens that put themselves away at night (they all live on our 4 H grounds) but will the turkeys go back into the kennel or go up into the trees?

There are lots of hawks and an owl that we think has escaped from someone as it is so tame but with that lot about, I havnt wanted to risk loosing anything but the kennel is getting stinky and the birds are booooooord!


8 Years
Jul 16, 2011
I would say you can. I have certainly heard of it. Although when you do it the first couple times, I strongly advise you to just let 2 out and monitor them until it gets dark (so let them out an hour or two before sundown) and then, after the sun sets, you can see if they go to their coop and try to get in, if they do than you can let them in. If they don't show signs of wanting to go back than you need to coax them in. Practice practice practice patience patience patience. Try and see how it goes! I'd love to know what happens!


9 Years
Dec 13, 2010
I have 7 bourbon reds about the same age as yours free ranging in my front yard as I type. As for coming back to the pen, THEY come and get ME when it's dinner time, which takes place in their pen. (They also insist on being hand fed for at least a few minutes.) Free ranging them has been a great plus because they eat the grasshoppers and locusts that are a little too big for most of the chickens AND have even rooted out a few field mouse nests. And they also look pretty cool while they're doing it!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 18, 2011
My turkeys head back to the coop at dark with the chickens. At first, I had a few that roosted on the roof of the coop. I left them up there a couple nights but then got worried about them so I pulled them down and put them in the coop. They are obedient now. I free range mine everyday. I love to see them when I first let them free. They flap their wings and then some will run and fly!

4H Amy

In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 8, 2011
I have 7 turkeys. A mix of Midget Whites and Beltsvilles. They were hatched in April, so they are getting pretty large now. Since they have been the size of a chicken (about 5-6 lbs), I have let them free range. I wanted to make sure they were large enough so that a hawk couldn't carry them away. They travel in a tight pack and love eating the grass, etc. They normally stick close to their pen or the chicken pen, they also come up to the back door to peek inside the kitchen.

They have not mastered putting themselves back in their coop at night so I have to pick them up and put them to bed. Since they stay in a group. its pretty easy to collect them all at dusk.


Rest in Peace 1977-2013
9 Years
Jun 10, 2010
Tower City, PA
My Bourbon Red and Standard Bronze would rather roost on top of the run. For weeks I've been taking them down and putting them in the pen. I've since moved them to their new pen and I have them locked in hoping they figure out where they SHOULD sleep. I'll soon let them free range again to see what happens. They did always return to the pen/run area at night, I didn't have any issues with roosting in the trees or running off.


Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Strasburg Ohio
I've got 1 RP, and 1 BS turkey. Both are Toms. I raised them with the chickens, and I free range them with the chickens. They're all good friends. (In my area of Ohio, we haven't had problems with blackhead disease.)

Anyhow, they free range about half the day, and then they come inside at night with the chickens. They will occasionally fly up to the roof of the hen house, but they don't stay there long.

They're funny because they're a bit shy, but they do like to be near me. And they've recently gotten into the habit of coming onto the front porch and looking in the living room window just before it's the normal time when I go outside to give them their snack. It's really cute.

Here they are on the porch:


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