can turkeys share freerangeing with chickens?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by wcah, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. wcah

    wcah In the Brooder

    Feb 5, 2012
    Shropshire, England. UK
    I have read so much about not letting turkeys range with chickens or on land that has had chickens on due to the risk of blackhead. But also reading quite a few people do have turkeys and chickens mixing together. So how can i do this?
    I know they need plenty of space to avoid bulliying as a 30lb turkey is no far fight with a 3lb hen so iv got 3 acers plus 1/2 acer garden to be fair the chicken like tjijs more than the field, so space not a problem, 9 bronze turkeys, 20 mixed lot of lf and bantams, 3 ducks. I was thinking of putting the turkey shed about 20meters away from the chicken coops, dont what it too far a way as carrying water will be a strugle in the winter.
    My land has continuley had chickens on for at least 5 years but no more than 30 in any one period so not heavley soild.
    You thoughts on this wil be highly apreciated

  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    You might want to call your local ag extension office to see if blackhead is prevalent in your area.
  3. cluck cluck 123

    cluck cluck 123 In the Brooder

    Aug 12, 2013
  4. OtterD

    OtterD Chirping

    Apr 26, 2012
    Southern NH
    I am far from being an expert on this subject. However, I was, at one time, also very confused about this. I wanted to have turkeys but a salesman at the local TSC put the gear of God into me about raising them with chickens. But lo and behold, a baby turkey came into my possession and I had to deal with it and figure things out quickly.
    While she was a baby, she was kept separately from the chickens. Now that she is several months old, I let her roam with the chickens. I have a larger sized property (several acres) and no one fights. The big concern was blackhead as I have no idea if it is in the area (the TSC salesman said yes). So I found a grain that contains medication for the turkey to fight off blackhead. Blue Seal makes and carries it but I had to special order it as they don't carry it in stock. If your turkeys are for meat, I read that you take them off of this grain 5 days before processing. My turkey is a pet so I intend to keep her on it indefinitely. So far, so good with all of them free ranging together. And while I was picking up the special order turkey feed (medicated) Blue Seal got a batch of turkeys in and two were injured. They gave them to me. One didn't make it but now I have a second turkey. :)
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop

    No offense intended, but how would they know?


  6. wncpalm

    wncpalm In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2013
    Sapphire, NC
    Kathy makes a good point. Anecdotal comments about Blackhead "in the area" are not very informative. Blackhead is caused by a protozoan that is either present in your chickens and soil, or not. It is not airborne, so the question is whether the specific "area" where your chickens are currently wandering (or came from) has Blackhead and its worm hosts present. If so, there is a reference thread on BYC that you can consult about treatment and prevention issues

    The Blue Seal medicated food that is mentioned is an effective Blackhead preventative, if used before symptoms appear. Once you have symptoms, you will have to treat with metronidazole to save the affected birds, and then follow up with the preventative food (or relocation) to prevent reinfection for susceptible birds like turkeys or peafowl. If you take the medicated food route, you should probably limit your chickens' access to the treated turkey food. The active ingredient in this food is nitarsone, an arsenic compound, that would probably be carried in chicken eggs, as well as meat.

    PS This nitarsone compound is toxic to waterfowl, so don't use it when ducks or geese will have access to the turkey food.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013

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