Feed for Pet Bronze Turkeys


8 Years
Aug 25, 2011
I have 2 bronze turkeys a male and female... they are wonderful, I hand raised them and they are very friendly.

Here is my story...
I will even give it a title...
The frustrations of living in a small(northern)town where noone really knows anything about Poultry.

I live in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, it is woods, not at all farm country, there are some farms around but they aren't really too big,
I got my birds on 5/10/11 they were very young... I bought them for the sole purpose of keeping them as pets, I also purchased 3 chicks that day. ( 1 araucana, 1 gold star and 1 buff orpinton).
After a bit of online research, the local store where I purchased them has proven to be quite unknowledgeable about poultry...
The owner sold me my 5 babies knowing I wanted to keep them as pets, he told me they would all be fine together... I have since learned of blackhead disease and am very disappointed in the store... I do take responsibility for myself not knowing anything about poultry, but I figured we all need to learn from someone and the local feed store seemed like a good place to ask questions...

But more importantly I have also recently read that my beautiful turkeys were basically bred to be killed in the fall, and not live a long time... that my tom would more than likely by next Spring have trouble supporting his weight. This was devastating news for me, my tom is getting quite big, I don't have any current pictures, and I also have no idea how to put them on here anyways...

Here is my question...
What exactly should I be feeding my turkeys... I do not want to eat them, I do not want them to get too bulky... I want them to be happy and healthy for a long time.

Currently they are about 15 weeks old. and they are eating starter crumbles still and so are my chickens... I am out of town again and there is a Farm & Fleet... that is where I have been getting their starter lately, The only types of feed I have noticed there are the starter crumbles, layer, meat bird food, and oyster shell, I am not sure what they should be eating right now... the turkeys or the chickens,

Also what should the turkeys be eating that will not bulk them up too much in the future?

Thank you for any advice...


10 Years
May 2, 2009
Woods, TX
If they are broad breasted bronze with good genetics then they will more than likely need a mercy killing at some point. If you wait too long, they won't even fit in an oven. Some people have kept them but they have restricted diets. After my heritage turkeys are about 12-14 weeks, I move them to a 20% layer pellet. As for the chicks, they usually stay on the 20% starter crumbles until they start to lay. Then go to a 16-17% layer pellet.


10 Years
Jul 26, 2009
My basic understanding of it is to keep them as lean as possible, and make them work for their food with a lot of exercise. I also have heard that its important to supplement with a vitamin/mineral supplement. Try to find the minimal amount of pellets that they can get by on and remain healthy, and let them forage for the rest. Blackhead isn't too major of a concern, many people never experience it, the best thing to do is just be vigilant and be prepared to treat quickly if it shows up. Many people have had a lot of success with cayenne pepper in dealing with blackhead, and there are threads here about that.

Honestly, they may not make it long term, but there is also a chance that they will. A lot of people on here have older broadbreasted birds, so I think if you play your cards right its very possible to keep them as pets.
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11 Years
May 7, 2008
Treasure Coast, Florida
I have one I'm raising as a pet. It was on the verge of death at the feedstore so I took it home. Didn't figure it would survive, but would at least be comfortable. He made it and started doing well. So I got two chicken chicks for company. They are attached at the hip. Those chickens act like the turkey is mom.

I have started to free-range the three of them and hope that helps keep him healthy. So far the heat is the biggest issue with mine. It seems to be really hard on him. He is now about the same size as the royal palms that are about a month older. He is heavier than they are.

My royal palms seem to do fine with a feeding in the morning and before bed. The rest of the day they have to find their own. This is what I plan to do with him also. The way it looks, I'll have to continue to let the two chickens go with him. The freak out if they can't get to him.


13 Years
May 4, 2008
Southern Illinois
If they are broadbreasted then they are probably going to eventually develop hip/leg problems. If you don't want to kill them then you might be better off finding a home for them with someone who has no qualms with eating them. If you want turkeys for pets then you need to consider standard bronze or a heritage breed. Royal Palms make an excellent pet bird and don't get as large as some of the other heritage breeds.

It is usually recommended that the broadbreasted birds be processed at 16 weeks.


8 Years
Aug 25, 2011
Thanks everyone for all of the great advice! I am hoping for the best with them. I was really concerned since my tom is so big already... my dad used to raise them white ones and butcher them many years ago and he keeps saying my tom looks like he is about big enough to butcher(if that was what I wanted), I called the store where I got them from today... the woman there thought they were just standard bronze... I am hoping she is right... He is definately a big boy!! Once I am allowed to put pics up I will try and get a good one of him to show everybody... Thank you again!!

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