Guard Turkey?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by jeff532003, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. jeff532003

    jeff532003 Hatching

    Mar 17, 2012
    Hello all, I'm fairly new to the world of chickens and turkeys and I have a question. I have six bantam mix chicks and I plan to get six guineas also. These birds are mainly for insect control. The guineas for ticks and the bantams for everything else lol. I do plan to harvest the bantams eggs though. Anyway I want to let them all free range in the day so they can get the bugs. Would a Turkey be a good choice to help protect the flock from predators? Mainly hawks?
    They'd all be locked up at night so I'm not so worried about raccoons and fox.
    Thanks for any input.

  2. emptynesterMom

    emptynesterMom In the Brooder

    Mar 14, 2011
    I'm fairly new also, but will share what I have learned so far. I have 7 turkeys who free range with my chickens and I've lost 2 chickens to a hawk in the past month. My neighbors, without turkeys, have lost 4 chickens - one of them was hit with her son standing right in the yard with the chicken. I think if you are going to free range - you take a chance on having losses. I will say my birds have gotten much better at watching the sky for predators and calling the alarm. They also have learned to listen for the crows to sound their alarm. I have lots of bushes, shrubs, and trees that they use for cover when a hawk is overhead. Hope this is of some use to you.
  3. jeff532003

    jeff532003 Hatching

    Mar 17, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. Maybe Turkeys aren't the best option then. I'm trying to get my dog to realize the chics are to protect not squeak toys. He seems to be slowly getting it now so perhaps he'll keep them safe. If not I suppose there's always bird shot to deal with the hawks lol. I'm not sure what kind they are but are fairly small.
  4. kywest

    kywest In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2009
    central Ohio
    Nothing will stop a determined cooper's hawk except a wire enclosure. I have had them chase chickens in my backyard (we live on a large city lot) with my kids and dogs outside. I've seen them slam into the wire enclosure trying to get to the birds inside. I have yet to lose one, but know it is only a matter of time. If you free range, SOMEthing will eventually get to your birds. The other day, it was almost the two stray dogs in my yard. My girls have become very wary of forging in open parts of the yard, using mainly the areas close to cover. I've given up the idea of getting bantam birds - they just look like easy targets. Full grown turkeys are too large for coopers hawks to tackle, but my turkeys don't do much toward "protection" lol. I had a big rooster who was very wary and somewhat "protective" (or at least he was always the first to sound the alarm and dive for cover, alerting other birds to danger;-) but I can't keep roosters b/c of my location. If i could, I'd keep one good rooster. Two seem too distracted by each other to be watching for predators. I have problem mainly with coopers hawks. A red tailed hawk might be a problem - they can take much larger prey - but red tails tend to be much less bold (more wary of people) and I don't have enough open area to really attract them. Much as it will make me mad/sad when the cooper's does get one of my birds, i can't really blame the hawk. We built our houses on her territory - ripped down all the trees where her wild prey used to live. She's just trying to feed her family. And BTW, it is a federal offense to harass or kill hawks. Good luck!
    Attila the Hen likes this.
  5. BrownSheep

    BrownSheep Chirping

    May 27, 2011
    I live in a area with TONS of birds of prey. Hawks, owls, eagles you name it we have it. Oddly enough I haven't lost any body . I think it is because my chickens have lots of things to run under.
  6. fiberdrunk

    fiberdrunk In the Brooder

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Narragansett turkeys alert me to hawks before I see them. They sound the alert and the chickens freeze. We haven't lost one to a hawk yet, though our flock is small (5 hens and 2 female turkeys).
    Mamahenning10 likes this.
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Quote: Small hawks will not bother your poultry, with the possible exception of freshly hatched chicks. I suggest that you thank them for mouse and tweetie control and leave them alone. It takes a very large hawk to consider a full grown chicken to be within it's size range for prey.

    Be aware that fines for shooting a hawk are in the tens of thousands of dollars and might also include some jail time. Don't assume that no one will turn you in. Don't even think about doing it.
    Attila the Hen likes this.

  8. SilkieShar

    SilkieShar In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2010
    I know this an old thread, but in my defense my story is old too :).
    I had silkies, frizzles and bantams to start out with years ago. I also had a flock of about 30 guineas and everyone was free ranged in the daytime, shut up at night.
    A red tailed hawk swooped down and hit my oldest bantam girl in the back of the head (she survived) and the entire guinea flock descended on the hawk in an all out
    assault of the predator! They kept a good eye out on hawks and kept them at bay.
    Krazyquilts and RollerDerbyLexi like this.
  9. BlueJayFarm

    BlueJayFarm Songster

    Jul 24, 2013
    Boring, Oregon
    Wow, that's awesome! I was thinking of getting a pair, but maybe a bunch of them would be better.
  10. SilkieShar

    SilkieShar In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2010
    BlueJayFarm, from my experience the more you have the more effective they are but the more you have the more independent they become. Get them as hatchlings or hatching eggs for your best experience with keeping them.
    Mamahenning10 likes this.

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