Considering Turkeys


In the Brooder
Apr 21, 2007
Vilonia, Arkansas
Ok my husband wants turkeys now...but mom says they are kind of on the dumb side and that if we get them I would have to go herd them in everytime it rains or they will drown......Is this at all true???


Staff PhD
Premium member
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
I think it's more of a myth... how else would wild turkeys be able to survive?

They are a bit slow to learn though so I've heard to raise a few chicks in the same bin to teach them to eat.


I gots Duckies!
May 7, 2007
Sterling, Alaska
Well their not exactly the smartest birds but I dont know about herding them in when it rains. I kept mine in a covered run.
Some of the differances that I noticed between them and chickens are, they need ALOT more room (Wingspan can get +4 feet). They smell alot more (bigger bird = bigger poo). they poo alot so you have to clean out the house more. They eat more, when getting close to full size we were going through a 50 lb sack of feed every week for 4 birds.
If your planning on eating these birds your in for a treat. Organic turkeys are going for over $4 bucks a pound here in AK. my birds were between 22 and 38 lbs at butcher time and cost about $40 each in feed.


Mar 24, 2007
Northeast Indiana
Right now I have black Spanish turkeys, and they're not smart and they're not dumb. I've had bronze turkeys in the past and they're the same way. The white turkeys I had, though, were plain dumb. My advice: stay far away from the white turkeys and get a heritage breed. They're prettier, too

I love my turkeys because they are so full of personality and when they get out into the yard..all I have to so to get them back into their pen is show myself and they will follow me back into their pen!

One thing about turkeys is that they can fly-mine roost on top on the henhouse and every morning at least one is outside of their pen. Sometimes they fly out of their pen other times, too, so if you get turkeys...make sure they're in a covered run or surrounded by a VERY high fence if you don't want them in your yard!

Oh, my black Spanish turkeys are in the rain often and have yet to affected by it.


Feb 24, 2007
If it were true about them drowning in the rain there wouldn't be any wild turkeys. I have 39 of the things and they are just as smart as chickens. They are only dumb when they locked in a cage all day and not allowed to experience or learn anything. Kind of like leaving a baby laying in a crib all day with no stimulus.
While they won't crack the problems of cold fusion they can get out of the rain, find food, play turkey games and torture small dogs.


Oct 9, 2007
la porte, In
I agree with you Sue! I have had both kind of turkeys and have had little problems except when we go to butcher them it takes two people to hold them down. Because we raise ours for Thanksgiving each year.


Premium member
Jan 27, 2007
Ours return to their run (when we're able to free range them during the day) about fifteen minutes before sundown and mope around until the gate is opened. They go into their shed without prompting, at dark, and we just have to close the door. They don't mind the rain until it starts to really pour, then they go to their shed and wait it out (have survived three nasty hail storms without a bruise).

They are much more social than chickens to the point of being pestiferous busybodies. The toms still spar on occasion but now that they are over 2.5yr. old the fighting seems more formalized (used to bloody one another pretty good as jakes) with few bites and no spur slashes, though they'll posture and yap at one another for hours. The hens are only trouble when they are getting ready to lay - wandering off whooting and worrying over where to nest (got to move them to safe locations). All (Slates/Royals) were flying fools during their first year, but the most flying we see now is if they're trying to catch up with us, `happy dancing', or getting up on the roost.

Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
Sep 20, 2007
Northeast Texas
I loved owning turkeys, and I will again when I have a proper enclosure for them. They're very personable, they like being around people and in your business (can at times be annoying - hence the enclosure).

They also LOOOVE shiny things....