cover crops for turkey range.


Dirty Egg Eater
11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
Marietta, SC
What are some good seeds to put down in an area of the garden where I will range turkeys this year. I know storey's recomends some, but i was interested in any other opinions.

I'm looking for annual crops (don't want stuborn perennials in my garden beds) that will provide some forrage for the turkeys.
The best that we found here in the PNW is to go 75% white clover & 25% Winter Rye. You can turn under when done and get good organic value. this mix produces around 18-22% crude protein and takes a good grazing and bounces right back. Here the rye will grow all year long, but towards the end of the season we will let it fully head out and go to seed. We do this around September or so, giving the young turks some real good forage before harvesting them. Then what they don't get will sprout up and start growing in for the winter time. Here in our mild climate and clay soil it seems to be the best. You could replace the Rye with Alfalfa,timothy,orchard grass,etc. Any kind of grasses that have a good growth rate and high yield amount. Any thing that can take a hard grazing/trampling and bounce right back. The rye and clovers do just that. The turks mowed the rye down over the winter to where you would think nothing at all is planted and now spring here it comes. This year we are experimenting with wheat as well, it doesn't seem to hold up as well as the Rye so far.
We plant winter rye here as it grows well in our mild climate, Also we plant extra collard's in the garden for them, they all like the bigger leaves. When they see you coming with a bucket of greens it's a feeding frenzy.

Steve in NC
Bad idea to free range turkeys, as it will harm the wild turkey, and is illegal in mosts States.. Would check the law in your State.
It is not against any laws as far as I know. where they go on my own property is my business.. to turn any bird loose to go wild is another subject...

that post got me side tracked..

I was going to say,,, I plant sections of worked up ground like the abandoned garden etc with buckwheat.. It too can be plowed under in late fall or left to reseed itself if there are any seeds left.. my birds love the seeds.. and I plant it sort of thick and it really controls any weeds.. and as a bonus it adds many nutrients back to the ground..
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The best that we found here in the PNW is to go 75% white clover & 25% Winter Rye

We plant winter rye here

I'm sorry.......Did you guys just agree on something? Should I be preparing for the end of the world?

Just kidding, That's exactly what i needed. I was also going to plant some sunflower and a few clumps of field corn (for sun protection). I'm assuming this is ok?

Another related question (the previous question was regarding a batch of meat birds). The area where I will be housing four bourban reds (hopefully breeders, at worst pets) is about 400sqft. How big would it have to be to not degrade over time? It seems turkeys are not as tough on pasture as chickens, but wondering how big a space I would need to forgo manure removal entirely? Or is that not really a good idea?​
Bad idea to free range turkeys, as it will harm the wild turkey, and is illegal in mosts States.. Would check the law in your State.

Sorry didn't see freeranging even mentioned in this thread.

However I would like to know how freeranging turkeys "harms" the wild turkey population? Perhaps another thread.​
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well. you did say "range"..

The DNR automatically assumes that domesticated birds are just crawling with diseases and all sorts of creepy crawlers that they do not want their wild turkeys to catch.. I guess the wild turkeys who range a lot farther do not come across any such things.. even though the wilds cut across my land in flocks of 40 and 60 birds at a time..
Yes you stated you were ranging them.

The diease is one thing, but the main harm, is when they mate with the wild turkey. No just because you own the land, does not mean you can do anything you want. Try growing a field of Mary Jane.
The DNR in Ohio will put a stop to anyone free ranging turkey here.

Anyway back to you cover crop in Turkey PENS mine are grass(rye,blue grass mixes)
You are very right deerman. Here in NC you have to have a game bird permit to own, raise etc what they consider "game birds" They are not giving any permits for Eastern Wilds for that very reason - not wanting any problems being brought in.

Steve in NC

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