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turkeys and acorns

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by n.smithurmond, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. n.smithurmond

    n.smithurmond Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 24, 2009
    North Georgia
    Most of our property is woodland made up largely of oak. Does anyone have any experience keep turkeys in this type of habitat? This area does support a wild turkey population (which I've read means that it could be ideal for free-range turkeys) though I've never seen them on the property. My question is how well do turkeys utilize the acorn mast? We are in the process of thinning smaller trees to create an oak savanna-type pasture so that we might add goats next year and I'm concerned about acorn toxicity. My thought is that if the turkeys will clean up the acorns I can rotate the goats and turkeys. I'd love to hear if anyone has tried this!
     
  2. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    I can't offer much help, just tell you what my turkey does with the acorns from our trees.........nothing. [​IMG] She couldn't care less about them.
     
  3. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  4. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

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    Sep 1, 2009
    Hastings, MN
    We live in an area that has lots of wild turkeys living in overgrown oak groves. I'd check to see if acorns are a food source for wild flocks and then make the intuitive leap on the suitability for domestic birds.
     
  5. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    Mine do not care for either acorns or hickory nuts, not even those that the squirrels have conveniently busted open for them. Too hard to eat maybe. They are more interested in pasture grass, dandelions, game bird crumbles. Frankly, every time I have tried to give them "treats" like leftover cooked rice or cooked pumpkin, they run away from the food dish and refuse to touch it until I empty it out and put in plain game bird crumbles. So I am not that confident in their ability to forage very successfully. Maybe their parents teach them what to eat? Is that likely?
     
  6. ccrawf

    ccrawf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 6, 2009
    Springfield, Missouri
    Mine do not care for either acorns or hickory nuts, not even those that the squirrels have conveniently busted open for them. Too hard to eat maybe. They are more interested in pasture grass, dandelions, game bird crumbles. Frankly, every time I have tried to give them "treats" like leftover cooked rice or cooked pumpkin, they run away from the food dish and refuse to touch it until I empty it out and put in plain game bird crumbles. So I am not that confident in their ability to forage very successfully. Maybe their parents teach them what to eat? Is that likely?

    I live in an area with lots of oak and hickory, plus an abundant wild turkey population. I know the deer eat the oak mast, but not sure about the turkeys. Had a wild flock that would come through the yard about twice a day. My hens would follow them along the fences, and there would be lots of communication between them. Those were my BBB, and they didn’t forage too well.
    This year, I have bourbon reds, and they forage exceptionally well. But I still don’t think they eat any of the acorns. I do take out old bread, and salad mixing (I work in the food service industry) and once they learned what it is, they all come running when ever I come out side. Operant conditioning maybe. They have eaten everything from bread crumbs to lettuce, they love tomatoes, and ate the rotten veggies from the garden all summer, old zucchini and such. And the gees love my cabbage plants, couldn’t keep them away from them. Not the broccoli, just the cabbage. Go figure.​
     
  7. longranger

    longranger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2009
    laguna hills CA
    Acorns are a favorite food of wild turkeys per google search. No personal experience as I have no oaks on my property.
     
  8. Misty Oak Ranch

    Misty Oak Ranch Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2009
    Bluefield
    If you are worried about the goats, you don't need to worry. We have goats ranging on five acres, and then eat the acorns no problem. They are just like deer, and eat the same thing. Plus, in the fall they flush on the acorns, which saves us from having to flush them with corn or grain. They will only eat what won't hurt them. If it will they stay away from it.
     
  9. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    There are acorns and there are acorns and they are not all alike. The particular oak species will dictate the palatability of their nuts. Some have high levels of tannins which make them unpalatable while others have lower levels so are actively sought out.

    If you are feeding your birds and they have access to pasture then chances are they are not going to be interested in the more unpalatable oak species.

    .....Alan.
     
  10. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    See, I was under the impression that birds don't really have the most distinguished sense of taste--I figured the tannins wouldn't bother them, as my chickens eat all sorts of things that are fairly bitter. Lots of nasty bitter green weeds, bolted lettuce, they go to town on it. But the turkeys just seem to be behaviorally against "new things" in the dish.

    ccrawf, how old were the turkeys when you first introduced them to treats?
     

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