Should I raise turkeys?


7 Years
Jun 12, 2012
Amsterdam, MO
We are in our second year of raising chickens, we have a variety of egg layers. This weekend two wild turkeys came into the soybean field behind our property and hung out. Actually, there were three Saturday, but Sunday morning brought a scene of carnage; one turkey with a missing head and breast. The other two stayed around most of the day, and took off late in the evening. We haven't seen them today.
My husband is now obsessed with turkeys. He thinks he wants some next year. The funny thing is, he doesn't care to eat turkey or chicken. He just liked the turkeys and wants some. So, my questions to those with turkey experience: Can they run with the chickens, or do they have to be separated? Do they lay eggs, and is there any problem eating them? How high can they fly? We also have 6 dogs, including a chocolate lab and a lab mastif mix that will eat a chicken if they are foolish enough to get close. Will the turkeys just cause more problems? Are they prone to disease, and can they transfer it to chickens? Do they eat chicken feed?
I'm raising my first turkey this year and this is my experience so far.

Mine runs with the chickens. Caveats are that you need to feed a higher protein feed and if you have blackhead disease in your area they can't be on the same ground as chickens.

They're birds, hens lay eggs, just not all year, and the eggs taste fine.

Unless you get the broad breasted variety they can fly. I trim wings, I do this on my chickens too.

If your dogs will kill a chicken they will try to kill a turkey.
We love our Turkeys....and yes, it was my husband's idea. We have a separate pen for the turkeys that has never had chickens on the ground, although Blackhead is not a problem in our area and many locals raise their chickens and turkeys together. Being new to raising both, we decided not to take any chances..especially considering you just can't get more turkey eggs to hatch any time of the year you want them. (on a side-note tho, I have been reading posts on Heritage Turkey Breeder's that some areas/breeds have been laying all summer).

I have posted pictures of our Heritage Bronze babies as they have grown on Chick N Stuff, if you want to see them. Our Dominate Tom has won a blue and red ribbon at the two poultry shows we entered. And let me tell you, hauling a 15 lb, nearly 3 foot tall when he stretches his neck up turkey to a show is a chore!!!

We do feed 30-33% protein Game Bird Feed and supplement with grass and wheat straw and watermelon and 5-grain scratch and anything else we think they would like (honeydew was a big hit). They are BIG EATERS, so be prepared for that. One local friend from work sold all his turkeys last year because he said it just cost him too much to feed them.

We have lost one turkey to a weasel that got into the pen. Keep them from your dogs and make sure you use 1" chicken wire or smaller gage.

You might want to stay away from any of the Broad Breasted breeds because they grow very fast and sometimes have problems due to being overweight. Go with Bronze or Bourbon Reds or Narragansetts or even the pretty Royal Palm. Hope some of this helps.

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