Raising a turkey with laying hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by vjbakke, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. vjbakke

    vjbakke Songster

    Mar 21, 2011
    This is our first year with chickens. Got me thinking, could you add a turkey or two to a small flock of laying hens? I like the idea of raising our own turkey for eating. So here's my questions.... Do they need a lot of space? are they loud? ( we live in town) Would they get along with the girls and be able to roost with them and eat with them?

  2. GoChick

    GoChick Songster

    Sep 16, 2010
    Wow! I had the exact same questions! I'll be following this post...
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Songster

    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I've never had turkeys, but...

    Turkeys are kind of loud. I mean their gobble gobble is louder than chickens. Not as loud as a rooster. But I love their sound- it's one of the reasons I want turkeys, the sound makes me smile!

    I have never heard anyone say not to put a Turkey with chickens because of a behavioral issue. I don't know if Turkeys would pick on chickens. BUT I have heard many people say not to raise them together for other reasons. First, chickens can be carriers of black head, which doesn't affect chickens but is fatal to turkeys. Also, Turkeys raised for meat need a MUCH higher protein food than layers, I want to say like 28% protein (I could be wrong, but I do know it's higher than 14-16% layer feed).

    Hopefully someone who actually knows what they're talking about can add to/correct that!
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Until I get the tom tractor finished I have my spare breeding toms in with my layer flocks. They seem to coexist without any problems.

    Keep in mind that growing turkeys need a higher protein percentage than you can get away with in the case of chickens.
  5. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello I have a flock of 19 chickens and two turkeys. (Four of my chickens are roosters.) They all get along just great! One thing you have to check into, is whether or not blackhead disease is a problem in your area. Blackhead disease is something that chickens carry and can give to turkeys, which can kill them.

    In my area, there are several farmers raising turkeys and chickens together, and the local breeder I bought my turkeys from said that he's been raising them together for years.

    So this is my first year with the chickens and my two turkeys, and I love it! They're not loud, so far, they're very peaceful creatures, and they're kind of slower and more docile than chickens......I just love the turkeys, in fact, they may become pets instead of Thanksgiving dinner. They're just so darned cute and interesting.
  6. vjbakke

    vjbakke Songster

    Mar 21, 2011
    I was thinking the largest problem we would have is the noise and feed. This maybe something that has to wait until we have more land. Thanks for you help!
  7. mitchell3006

    mitchell3006 In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2009
    Blackhead can be prevented by using 1/4 copper sulfate per 1 gallon water. It can be treated with Flagyl, metronizadole, if you catch it early enough. With these two things in mind I have raised them together for several years with no problems with blackhead. So far I have not had to treat with Flagyl and have been able to prevent everything. I have 80+ Bourbon Reds right now.


  8. I have had a RP Tom turkey with my flock of 12 hens & occasional rooster for the past few years. The turkey is about 3 years old, and I bought him when he was about the size of a medium chicken (like a Polish). He roosts with them and hangs out with them & everyone gets along great. When I bring on a new roo, he will sort-of menace him a little but he never attacks. I had a RP hen for him, but she was wild and flighty and pure straight evil and I found her a new home. Before the turkey roosted in the coop, he roosted outdoors, and when we got that big snow & it took all day to dig out the chicken coop door, he hopped around the yard, making anxious "chirk" noises until the chickens were uncovered and he could see them again. After that, he roosts in the coop. I'll never eat him - he's worth his weight in gold for his entertainment value!
  9. mestaske

    mestaske In the Brooder

    Feb 14, 2011
    Southern Colorado
    Turkeys have their own personalites a bit more that the chickens I think. I had about 5 turkeys my first year but the chickens pecked to death all but one, Lady, a red bourbon. She is a tough cookie and doesn't take being pecked at. She roosts with the chickens just fine. She used to let us pet her but she has gotten a little wilder, I think because she figured out I wasn't the male turkey. Anyway I got another turkey pullet this year in hopes of it being a male so that they could breed since Lady was so broody. Amelia turned out to be another female and she loves to fly. She is a black spanish and always is doing something entertaining like pecking the rooster into his place or roosting on the roof or getting out of the outdoor pen. They need a bit more space than chickens but if you plan on eating it soon anyways..Im sure you will be fine. Just make sure the enclosure is fly away proof since you are in town. When they are young they don't have enough fat to weigh them down. My turkey even went broody in a little chicken box, she barely fit but she managed. And yes they do make noise but not too bad and I think it sounds quite charming, not as loud as a rooster, about half between a hen and a rooster noise wise. But they do talk.

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