Turkeys and chickens and ducks together


10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
Jersey Shore
I have 30 chicken hens,3 turkeys(males), and 3 ducks(female) living all together. The turkeys roost right among the chickens and the ducks usually sleep on the bottom of the shed in the wood shavings. They have all been raised together since they were babies and I have not had any problem between them. Now that the turkeys are 10 times the size of the chickens they seem to be protective of them. I have deer netting over the run as I lost a chicken, a duck, and a young turkey to hawks. Now when ever a hawk is near the turkeys sound the alarm and wait until all the chickens run inside. The hawk sat on the fence looking at them through the netting and the turkeys watched them and sounded off trying to scare them away. Going back and forth watching them. The turkey also chases my little dog - doesn't hurt him - but definitely keeps an eye on him. My little shih tzu doesn't hurt the chickens but sniffs their butts and wants to play! I am grateful for the loud alarm as I run out and can chase whatever away. If it wasn't for the netting I'd be minus a couple more! Is there any reason some people say to separate them? So far so good.
Well, it isn't that they don't get along, because they can, especially if reared together.

The main reason to keep turkeys isolated from other poultry, especially chickens, is because turkeys can get blackhead disease from the other poultry and die from it. This parasitic disease isn't very severe in chickens, but deadly to turkeys. But, it's also not all that common, and seems to exist in pockets in the US -- many/most people have NEVER had a problem with it.

The main reason waterfowl are kept separated from poultry is because they are very "wet" and extremely messy, especially their droppings, which are much higher in water content, therefore volume, than those of poultry. Ducks soon foul (no pun intended) their bedding to a degree which would be unhealthy for the chickens and turkeys.

There may be some other reasons as well -- for example, a lot of medicated foods used for chickens and turkeys can be toxic to ducks, so you would need to keep them separated if feeding this to the poultry.

Of course, a lot of it also depends on how much space you have, how many birds, the particulars of your enclosure and coops in terms of size, etc., the type of bedding you use, how faithfully your clean and replace it.

Basically, if you have enough space for them, and keep the bedding clean and dry, it shouldn't be a big problem. Just a lot of work.
I keep all mine together and have never had a problem. Of course I free range so they are only in the coop a few hours every day but I have never had an disease problems so far...knock on wood.
The main reason people keep them separate is the possibility of deises spreading among the combined flock. Some poultry deises that chickens can deal with can kill turkeys.
The most notable is blackhead, in areas that are wet and warm it's more likely blackhead can be present. It should also be noted that many people keep combined flocks with no problems.

We have a separate coops for the turkeys and layers, but the free range together part of the day.

Until this year we never had a problem. But we had pox outbreak here last month, fortunately no casualties among the turkeys or layers. It started with the male turkeys, the the turkey hens, then the layers. I didn't notice it until the layers had already been infected. By the time it got to the layers it didn't effect there laying that we noticed. As near as I can tell we got the pox from doves, as we had more then the normally number and they were in the area where the coops are, normally they never get that close.

We have ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, & two goats all together. Other than feeding in different areas we've had no problems either. Our turkey is 4 years old, and our chickens are over a year. All been together since day two! lol

Ours also free range all day, and are together only a few hours at night when they nest up in the coop. Our turkeys & geese are VERY protective of the chickens & ducks!

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